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Elizabethan progresses, 1559-1603

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Schmid, Nancy Kemler
Birchler, Allen
Dec 1971
16th century.; Social life and customs.; Court and courtiers.; Great Britain.; Queen of England.; Elizabeth I.
Although Queen Elizabeth I of England made summer journeys or progresses almost every year from 1559 to 1602 very little attention has been focused on them and on the reasons for or the results of these trips. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to describe the summer progresses and (2) to arrive at some conclusions as to the significance of the progresses. The principal source of this paper is the three volume Nichols? collection of original documents concerning the progresses. These documents were collected from widely varying sources and published in 1823 by a printer named John Nichols. This material, either in the Nichols? collection or in the original, is the only source of information on the progresses. Every secondary work examined by the author of this paper used one of these sources for his information about the progresses. The main significance of the progresses was to allow the crown to keep in personal touch with the provincial officials and with the general public. Both the people and the officials were appreciative of this royal attention and it contributed to the favorable public opinion which Elizabeth enjoyed during her entire reign. The public exposure which the progresses gave to Elizabeth created a bond between the Queen and her subjects which enabled her to govern with a freer hand than she would have been able to do otherwise. Of secondary importance these journeys allowed the Queen a chance to relax somewhat from the formality of the court and to enjoy some of the sporting entertainments such as hunting which were impossible to do in London.
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