The Royal Court and Progresses

Alison Sim discusses the practicalities of running Elizabeth’s court.

Four hundred years after Elizabeth’s death the glamour of her court continues to excite the imagination. The court was, in effect, a magnificent piece of theatre, and as in any theatre a large team of highly trained people was needed to produce the magic.

Elizabeth’s officials inherited a comprehensive set of regulations for the governing of the royal household. These were based on those laid down for Elizabeth’s great grandfather, Edward IV (r.1461-83), which were then further revised by Cardinal Wolsey in the reign of Henry VIII (r.1509-47). They are known as the Eltham Ordinances and they were constantly revised throughout the Tudor period.

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