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More in this section Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture

The Royal Body conference


The Royal Body


 Centre for the Study of The Body and Material Culture,

Royal Holloway, University of London

2-4 April 2012


‘For the King has in him two bodies … a Body natural and a Body politic.’


The idea of the king’s two bodies, the body natural and the body politic, founded on the distinction between the personal and mortal king and the perpetual and corporate crown, has long been of interest to scholars of medieval and early modern kingship. In later centuries the natural body of the monarch remained a contested site, with the life, health, sexuality, fertility and death of the king or queen continuing to be an important part of politics. Now royal sex and scandal is the very stuff that sells newspapers, and royal christening, weddings and funerals continue to capture the popular imagination. Indeed the ‘royal touch’ of Aids victims or sick children remains a potent image. So what is the significance of the natural body of the monarch to their subjects now and the importance of it for the concept, and survival, of monarchy?

This conference explores the bodies of monarchs across Europe ranging from the medieval period to the present. By considering how the monarch's body has been washed, dressed, used, anointed, hidden, attacked and put on display, it will investigate how ideas of king/queenship have developed over time.


Monday 2nd April

8.45-9.15: Registration and coffee


9.30-9.35: Introductions


9.35-10.45: Session 1


Plenary Lecture

Philip Mansel

[Chair: Maria Hayward, University of Southampton]

Dressed to Rule: Dress and Monarchy from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II



10.45-11.10: Coffee


11.10-12.10: Session 2


Panel 2A: The physical body of queens: 17th and 18th century France and Sardinia

[chair: John McCormack]

Pascale Mormiche, l’Université de Cergy Pontoise 

Princesses and Pregnant Queens at the court of Versailles in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Federica Contu, University of Studies of Cagliari

Reasoning about the political and the spiritual function of the body. The case of Marie Clotilde of France Queen of Sardinia.


Panel 2B: The Effigial Body

[chair to be confirmed]

Lynsey McCulloch, Anglia Ruskin University

The effigial body: reading a relic of early modern monarchy

Kosana Jovanovic, University of Rijeka, Croatia

The Portable Effigies Role in the Queens Funeral Ceremonies and Their Connection with the King’s Two Bodies Theory.


Panel 2C: Representing the Body: The case of Queen Victoria and King George V and VI

[chair to be confirmed]

Tracy Jane Anderson, University of Sussex

Regina Imperatrix: The royal and imperial bodies of Queen Victoria

Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, University of Illinois (Chicago)

Royal Death and Living Memorials: The Commemoration of George V and George VI


Panel 2D: Memory and Commemoration: The Case of Henry VII

[chair to be confimed]

Christine Merie Fox, Royal Holloway, University of London

Henry VII preparation for his memorial at Westminster Abbey

Mark R. Horowitz, University of Illinois (Chicago)

The Heir of King Arthur: Henry VII’s ‘historical’ claims of kingship and their influence on Henry VIII


12.15-1.15 Session 3

[chair to be confirmed]

Panel 3A: Royal Sodomy and Sexuality

Christine Ekholst, Stockholm University, Sweden and Henric Bagerius Gothenburg University, Sweden

The King’s Special Friend. Sodomy and Intimacy as a Threat to Established Power Structures

Maria Antónia Lopes, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal

The question of the Portuguese King Pedro V’s sexuality;


Panel 3B: Representing Authority [12.15-1.30pm]

[Chair to be confirmed]

Eric F. Johnson, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

The Royal Body in Papal Lands: Representing the French Monarchy in Eighteenth-Century Avignon

Michelle A. Laughran, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Venice’s Doge and His Paradoxical Two Bodies

Katarina Stulrajterova, University of Oxford

'The Non Alienation Clause in the English and Hungarian Coronation Oaths: Un Unjustified Pala Assumption'


Panel 3C: Rethinking Eighteenth Century French Monarchy

[chair to be confirmed]

Anne Bryne, Birkbeck College, University of London

The king's tears: who cried, when and why at the coronation of Louis XVI, 11 June 1775


Lianne McTavish, University of Alberta.

The Other Side of Louis XIV: Illness as Opportunity in Early Modern France


1.15-2.15: Lunch


2.15-3.15: Session 4

[chair: Francis Robinson, RHUL]

Panel 4A: Morocco and the Ottomans

Nabil Mouline, Science Po Paris.

Does the Muslim King have two bodies? The emergence of the Moroccan in the 16th century

Evrim Binbas, Royal Holloway, University of London

The King’s Two Lineages: Kantorowicz and the Early Modern Ottoman Political Discourse


Panel 4B: Models of Rule

[chair to be confirmed]

Irene O’Daly, Universiteit Leiden

The Anatomy of Rulership: John of Salisbury's (c.1120-80) Model of the Body-Politic

Fatih Durgun, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Henry IV versus Henry V: Diverging Representations of “Body Natural” in Lancastrian Historiography


Panel 4C: Death in Portugal

[chair to be confirmed]

Isabel Drumond Braga, University of Lisbon

Illnesses and Death of Maria Francisca Isabel of Savoy (1646-1683), Queen of Portugal

Paulo Drumond Braga, University of Lisbon

Death and memory of a Queen of Portugal: Maria Sofia Isabel of Neuburg (1699)


Panel 4D: Bedchamber politics in the 16th and 17th century English court

[chair to be confirmed]

Olivia Fryman, Historic Royal Palaces.

Necessary women, domestic work and the politics of intimacy in the royal bedchamber 1685-1714

Anna Whitelock, Royal Holloway, University of London

Elizabeth I: the politics of the body and bedchamber


3.15-4.15: Tea


3.45-5.15: Session 5

Panel 5A: Images and Imaginings: Royal Exposure

[Chair to be confirmed]

Ryan Linkof, University of Southern California

Exposing the Royal Body: Tabloid Photojournalism and the Image of King Edward VIII

Kate Strasdin, University of Southampton

'Think of me as I was now I am breaking up’ Queen Alexandra and the Art of Royal Camouflage 1863-1925

Frank Mort, University of Manchester.

Love in a cold climate: The Abdication crisis and modern British monarchy


Panel 5B: Papal Bodies

[Chair: Eric Johnson, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania]

Catherine Fletcher, University of Durham

Royal bodies plural. The case of Renaissance papal ceremony

Jennifer DeSilva, Ball State University

The Pope’s Third Body

Claudio Negrato, Ca’Foscari University of Venice and Paris VIII University

The Health of the Pope, The Health of the Christian Republic


Panel 5C: The Body in French and Italian politics

[chair to be confirmed]

Penny Roberts, University of Warwick

Sterility and Sovereignty: the succession crisis of the late Valois monarchy

John W. McCormack, University of Notre Dame

Facing Death in the French Wars of Religion: Arnaud Sorbin and the Royal Body

Cinzia Recca, University of Catania

Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette: Sisters and Queens in the Mirror of Jacobin Public Opinion


Panel 5D: Madness and Monarchy

[chair to be confirmed]

Douglas Hugh James, King's College London.

The decline and late apotheosis of an ill king: portraits of George III during the Regency and beyond

Timothy John Peters, University of Birmingham & Allan Beveridge, Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline

The Madness of King George III: Causes and Consequences of the Porphyria Mis-diagnosis

Robyn Bowyer, University of Queensland

Touched in the Head - Madness in Monarchy and the Medieval Body Politic Metaphor


Panel 5E: Early Modern Queenly Bodies

[Chair: Olivia Fryman, HRP]

Marian Rothstein, Carthage College

The Queen’s Two Bodies : Gendering the Body Politic

Anne Louis Mearns, University of Liverpool 

A Third Body: Early Modern Regnant Queenship and the Body of the Male Consort

Ellie Woodacre, Bath Spa University

The Queen’s other Body: Ruling Queens and consort kings in Late Medieval Navarre


Drinks reception: 5.15


Tuesday 3rd April

9.30-10.45: Session 6


Plenary Lecture

[chair to be confirmed]

Professor Maria Hayward, University of Southampton

Perfuming royal bodies: the role of scent to perfume, preserve and poison English monarchs, 1485-1685


10.45-11.15: Coffee


11.15-12.15: Session 7

Panel 7A: Courting favour, defending claims

[chair: Barbara Wooding]

Tobias Joel Harper, Columbia University

An Audience with the Queen: Royal Investitures and the ‘Democratization’ of British Honours Since 1948

Noel Cox, Aberystwyth University 

Heredity and parliamentary title, and claims to the throne


Panel 7B: The Non-Royal Body: The Case of Oliver Cromwell

[Chair: Rachel Willie, University of York]

Alice Hunt, University of Southampton

Oliver Cromwell's Non-Royal Body

Jonathan Fitzgibbons, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford

The Lord Protector’s Two Bodies? Appropriating Theories of Kingship During the Interregnum


Panel 7C: English Queenly Bodies

[Chair to be confirmed]

Carole Levin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

English Queens’ Bodies in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Political Imagination

Yu-Chun (Anne) Chiang, University College London

Iconographical Succession of Queenship: Body Cultural in the Queen’s Two Bodies


12.15-1.15: Session 8

Panel 8A:Catherine of Braganza

[chair to be confirmed]

Marisa Benoit, University of Oxford

'Fraught with England’s Store’: The Fertility Struggles of Catherine of Braganza and Mary of Modena, 1662-1688

David Taylor, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Imaging the queen’s third body: displaying desire and expectation in portraits of Catherine of Braganza


Panel 8B: Representing the Body of Elizabeth I

[Chair: Stella Achilleos, University of Cyprus]

Vinodini Murugesan, Brandeis University

The Rainbow Portrait: Body, Sovereignty and the Public Representation of Elizabeth I

Rachel Stenner, University of Bristol

Glossing the Royal Body: Elizabeth I’s Sexuality in “Aprill”


Panel 8C: The King’s Body: Henry VIII

[Chair: Justin Champion, Royal Holloway, University of London]

Professor Christopher Highley, The Ohio State University

"Great Codpeic’d Harry": Imagining the Sexualized Body of Henry VIII

Dr Glenn John Richardson, Saint Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hil

The Two Kings’ Bodies: Henry VIII and Francis I


1.15-2.15: Lunch


2.20-3.20: Session 9

Panel 9A: The Martyred Body

[Chair: Justin Champion, Royal Holloway, University of London]

Sarah Covington, Queens College/City University of New York

The King’s Martyred Body: The Transformations of Charles I

Rachel Willie, University of York

Two Kings and No Bodies: Debating the Body Politic


Panel 9B: The Body of the King: Elizabeth I

[Chair: Jennifer de Silva, Ball State University]

Amy Hurst, University of Leicester

Covering up Queen Elizabeth I's gender: An analysis of the use of the King's Two Bodies imagery by Elizabeth, her contemporaries and historians

Jutta Schwarzkopf, University of Bielefeld

Early Modern Queenship and the King's Two Bodies: Interlinking gender and the king's two bodies in the case of Elizabeth I


Panel 9C: Feeding the Body

[chair to be confirmed]

Sasha Garwood, University College London

Elizabeth Eating (or not): food and the body as means of communication

Ana Isabel Buescu, FCSH-UNL Lisbon, Portugal

The King’s Food. Eating and Power in Early Modern Portugal


3.20-3.45: Coffee


3.45-5.00: Session 10

Panel 10A: Multiple Medieval Bodies

[chair to be confirmed]

Tom Barlow, Monash University

A question of self: The King’s multiple legal and social identities during the reign of Edward III

Laura Tompkins, University of St Andrews

“Yet that whore, Alice Perrers, did not refrain from acts of licentiousness and lascivious touching of his flesh”: the king’s mistress, the body natural and the body politic of Edward III.

Kristin Marek, University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe

Bodies that matter: The kings three bodies in medieval England


Panel 10B: Burying Bodies

[chair to be confirmed]

Terri Sabatos, United States Military Academy

“Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:” The body of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, King of Scots

Lucinda Dean, Unversity of Stirling

A Scottish Enigma? Scottish Royal Funeral Ceremonies from c. 1214 – 1542

Jonathan Dumont (FNRS – University of Liège)

Alain Marchandisse (FNRS – University of Liège)

Christophe Masson (FNRS – University of Liège)

Princely funerals in time of troubles: the cases of Charles the Bold (1477) and Mary of Burgundy (1482)


Panel 10C: Early Modern Thoughts of Regicide

[chair to be confirmed]

Stella Acilleos, University of Cyprus

“Out of all bonds of human protection”: the King’s Body in Early Modern Theories of Regicide

Nicholas M. Utzig, Department of English, U.S. Military Academy

“Don’t Even Think About It!”:  ‘Imagining’ Regicide in Tudor England

Tommi Lindfors, University of Helsinki

Killing tyrants and kings: The case of Jean Bodin


Panel 10C: The Body on Stage

Chair: Rachel Willie, University of York

Karin Gresham, United Stated Military Academy

Performing Elective Amputation and Self-Mutilation of the Territorial Body in King Lear

Steven J. Syrek, Rutgers University

Unexceptional Authority in Shakespeare’s King Lear

Barbara Wooding, Birkbeck College, University of London

‘Forlorn Majesty: Wanting the outward gloss and ceremony To give it lustre’


Gala dinner: 6.30


Wednesday 4th April

9.35-10.35: Session 11


Plenary lecture

Nigel Llewellyn, The Tate

Title tbc 


10.35-11.00 Coffee


11.00-12.20: Session 12

Panel 12A:The Royal Touch

[chair:Alice Hunt, University of Southampton]

Stephen Brogan, Institute of Historical Research

Royal Bodies and Scrofulous Bodies: Debating the Royal Touch During the Stuart Restoration, 1660-85

Anne McLaren, University of Liverpool

‘Out Damned Spot’: Shedding royal blood in early modern England

Sarah Betts, University of York

Spokesman of the body’: the hand as a site of political interaction in Caroline Britain


Panel 12B: King James and Anna of Denmark

[chair: Olivia Fryman, HRP]

Maiko Kobayashi, St Margaret’s Junior College, Tokyo

Political Theory of James VI of Scotland: the King’s Body Politic and Art of Governance

Helen Payne, University of Adelaide 

Three Royal Bodies: Anna of Denmark and the births and deaths of the Princesses Mary and Sophia (1605-1607)

Maureen M. Meikle, Leeds Trinity University College

Queen Anna of Denmark's royal body (1574-1619): pregnancy, childbirth and death before the Union of the Crowns


Panel 12C: Picturing the Body

[chair to be confirmed]

Stephanie Koscak, Indiana University

“Pictures with two faces”: Anamorphic Representation and the Stuart Royal Body in Later-Seventeenth-Century Britain

Clinton M.Lawrence, University of Lethbridge 

“For how can your lawes bee kept in the Country, if they be broken at your ear?”A Gender Analysis of Anthony van Dyck’s Court Portraits During Charles I’s Personal Rule


Panel 12D: Afterlives

[chair: Jennifer DeSilva, Bull State University]

Jes Fabricius Møller, University of Copenhagen

The Royal Body as a diplomatic tool 1866 and 2006

Valentina Villa, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

Life, Death and Legacy of a murdered King: Humbert I of Italy

Richard Norton, Centre for the Study of Monastic Culture and Spirituality

Aelred and the attempt to Divinise King Henry II


12.15-1.15: Session 13

Roundtable (participants to be confirmed)

Conference close


1.15 Lunch



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