progress, royal

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A journey around the kingdom, regularly taken by monarchs and their courts in the days of personal rule. When communications were poor and regional control limited, progresses served to assert sovereignty and win loyalty. They also offered opportunities to hunt, to avoid the plagues that thrived in built-up cities, and to share the economic burden of maintaining the court among richer subjects. Elizabeth I compelled her rich courtiers to entertain her and her retinue at their country houses. Emperor Charles V, with his widely scattered dominions, was by necessity a “peripatetic monarch”. Monarchs who refused to make progresses ran the risk of forfeiting their subjects' obedience, as was partly the case with Philip II whose reclusive nature failed to inspire his subjects' loyalty.

Subjects: World History.

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