Advertising Status and Legitimacy: or, Why Did Henry VIII's Queens and Children Patronize Travelling Performers?

  • James H. Forse Bowling Green State University
Keywords: Henry VIII, playing, troupes, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, Catherine Parr, Mary, Henry Fitzroy, Edward,


Patronage of travelling performers by English kings seems to have been one way of displaying royal power, prestige, and status. Beginning with Edward IV and continuing through Henry VIII, queens and royal offspring also gave their names to travelling performance troupes. Chronologies of the travelling troupes of queens and royal offspring suggest that during the reign of Henry VIII, as queens and heirs presumptive changed, one likely purpose of these troupes was to advertise and legitimize the status of their royal patrons.