The Matter of Britain: How the Tudors Adapted British Historic Tradition to Legitimise their Dynasty

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Authors
White, David
Keyword
British History , Welsh History , English History , British Isles , Arthurian , Galfridian , History of Memory , Historry of Ideas , Political History , Mythology , Nation , Nationalism , Britain , England , Wales , Shakespeare , Henrician , Elizabethan , Tudor , Early Modern , Medieval , Imperialism , Cartography , Chronicles
Abstract
The subject of this paper is the relationship between the Tudors who ruled England 1485-1603 and their Welsh ancestry. The Welsh of the sixteenth century viewed themselves as Britons with a tradition dating back before Roman Britain. Recent scholarship has highlighted the ongoing importance of Welsh and British narratives in Tudor England. This thesis shows that the importance of the British past to the Tudors is not a series of isolated instances but clearly related parts of an ongoing discourse by them to legitimise their claims to authority. Whether initially with the weak genealogical claims to the throne with Henry VII, or the supremacy over the Church in England during the Reformation, or even at the end of the sixteenth century when Elizabeth I began to sponsor what would become the British Empire. The Tudors successfully applied their British pedigree to the crises of legitimacy throughout the sixteenth century and created a new concept of Britain, a Tudor Britain.
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