Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This project examines the changing emotional relationship between the English royal court and the public during the reigns of the last Stuarts (1688 - 1714) and the early Hanoverians (1714-1760), when the court was forced to abandon traditional representations of divine right. During this period, the rise of print, the growth of representative institutions and changing cultural attitudes to emotion created a new style of monarchy, one more emotionally accessible to its subjects. These changes signaled the death of rule by divine right and the birth of a modern monarchy. In essence, the monarch moved from heaven to earth, becoming more human in the process. This dissertation begins by looking at the cultural attitudes to emotion in the late seventeenth century, highlighting philosophies that influenced the political elite in the early eighteenth century. It then focuses on traditional moments of interaction between the monarch and the public - royal ceremonies - to show the ways monarchs both adapted changing cultural norms to suit their purpose and attempted to influence the wider culture through emotional expression. This project is in one sense, a case study in royal propaganda. It shows the ways that early modern monarchs both reacted to and attempted to change British culture. It also calls into question the origins of the culture of sensibility, which is often equated with the rise of the novel in the late eighteenth century. This dissertation's most basic purpose, however, is to shed light on the ways the court navigated the emergence of modern society, maintaining some of its cultural power while simultaneously manipulating cultural trends to suit its political goals.

Included in

History Commons