Reading History: Tudor Kingship
David Starkey provides a historiographical guide to the fifteenth century English monarchy.
'The Prince is the life, the head and the authority of all things that be done in the realm of England.' Sir Thomas Smith, De Reublica Anglorum , 1583.
Biographies of English kings and queens are two-a-penny (and most are dear at the price!). But studies of kingship – that is, of how the personality of the 'king for the time being', which changed constantly, combined with the institution of the Crown, which endured – are much rarer. The fifteenth century is therefore particularly lucky in that of the six kings who reigned during those years only one (and perversely the greatest, Henry V) has not been treated in this way in a recent book.