Equipping the Royal Representative

Helen Jacobsen

in Luxury and Power

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693757
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731976 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Equipping the Royal Representative

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This chapter looks at the practical aspects of sending an ambassador abroad. It details their diplomatic pay and expenses, and the material objects with which they were furnished in their role as the king’s representative. These comprised large quantities of silver plate from the Jewel House and a chair of state and canopy from the Great Wardrobe; diplomats were also provided with allowances for commissioning the monarch’s portrait and gala coaches for their formal entry. During the fifty years after 1660 a notable evolution occurred in which diplomats played a greater personal role in the fashioning of their royal perquisites, and during which the dictates of elite fashion affected the way they looked and the goldsmiths, joiners, and craftsmen who were employed. By 1714 an ambassador’s official environment had become as much a reflection of his own tastes as those of diplomatic precedence.

Keywords: diplomatic pay; plate; silver; Jewel House; Great Wardrobe; chair of state; monarch’s portrait; gala coaches; formal entry; royal perquisites; fashion; goldsmiths; joiners; craftsmen

Chapter.  10296 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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