Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation investigates how public comments related to the body natural and the body politic of the English monarchs, particularly in newspapers and other forms of print culture, changed between 1688 and 1789. It argues that by examining the depth and type of reportage on royal health and the sovereign's body, coupled with Parliament's increasing involvement in such activities, it is possible to see the irregular trajectory of how the English monarchy was demystified during the long eighteenth century. Additionally, this work shows how the topic of monarchical health went from being an illicit subject, to one associated with a popular claim that English citizens had a right to know the full details of their monarch's private life. Furthermore, the dissertation provides a prosopographical examination of those individuals near the English kings and queens, who helped supply the confidential information about the sovereign's health, which precipitated the process of demystification. The importance of this work is that it provides a more nuanced discussion of the process of demystification, over a wider period of time, than earlier scholarship. Moreover, it shows that there is an under-studied connection among the history of medicine, the court, and the rise of the public sphere.

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