Sunday, 17 January 2010

New collection of articles on Mary and Elizabeth

More information has been released about Alice Hunt and Anne Whitelock (eds.), Tudor Queenship: The Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth (New York, 2010).

The articles included:

Alice Hunt and Anna Whitelock, ‘Machine generated contents note: Partners in throne and grave’.
Anne McLaren, ‘Memorializing Mary and Elizabeth’.
Judith Richards, ‘Examples and Admonitions: What Mary did for Elizabeth'.
Paulina Kewes, ‘Godly queens: The Royal Iconographies of Mary and Elizabeth’.
Alice Hunt, ‘Reforming Tradition: The Coronations of Mary and Elizabeth’.
Maria Hayward, ‘Dressed to Impress’.
Susan Doran, ‘Elizabeth I: an Old Testament King’.
Jeri McIntosh, ‘A Culture of Reverence: Princess Mary's Household’.
Aysha Pollnitz, ‘Christian Women or Sovereign Queens? The Schooling of Mary and Elizabeth’.
Corrina Streckfuss, ‘Our Greatest Hope? European Propaganda and the Spanish Match’.
Alexander Samson, ‘Power-sharing: The Co-monarchy of Mary and Philip’.
Anna Whitelock, ‘Woman, Warrior, Queen?’
Glenn Richardson, ‘Courtly Games: Elizabeth and the Kings of France’.
Ralph Houlbrooke, ‘What Happened to Mary's Councillors?’
Robert C. Braddock, ‘Below Stairs: Serving the Queen’.
Charlotte Merton, ‘Women, Friendship and Memory’.

Friday, 15 January 2010

'Bloody Mary’ Attraction at The London Dungeon. Yea or Nay?

You have to feel a little sorry for recent scholars of Mary’s reign. Having tried so hard to dispel the image of ‘Bloody Mary’, a popular London tourist site then decides to dedicate a whole attraction to the propagation of this stereotype.

This February, The London Dungeon hosts ‘Bloody Mary: Killer Queen’ which will relate the story of England’s infamous first crowned queen regnant.

For a mere £22 (//end of sarcasm – I am a humble student after all), visitors will:
- “Enter Bloody Mary’s private chapel and witness the fanatically Catholic Queen pass judgment on petrified heretics.”
- “Experience the horrifying sights, screams, smells of the most painful method of execution known to man – being slowly burnt alive.”

How lovely.

I’ve never been to The London Dungeon, purely because their attractions look like they are designed for twelve-year-olds, but I’m incredibly curious about this new Mary one. Granted it sounds beastly and I can’t help feel uncomfortable about this. The description of the ‘fanatically Catholic Queen’ passing judgment within her chapel is, well, disturbing at best.

But maybe that is the point. The other attractions at this particular venue are not exactly pleasant in tone. Is there a difference between experiencing the 1666 Great Fire or a trip through Traitor’s Gate, and witnessing the persecutions of 1555-1558?

Perhaps I am uncomfortable because it is so crude and it deals with a still contentious issue – the intense persecution of the Protestants. You only have to look to certain responses to Prof. Eamon Duffy’s fabulous book, Fires of Faith: Catholic England Under Mary Tudor, to understand that prevailing attitudes continue. Take this poster, ‘CJB’, responding to a favourable review of the book on The Telegraph website (FYI, I am not a Telegraph reader!):

“Apologetics for the unforgivable based on lazy moral relativism that seeks to excuse anything. Even Professor Duffy's '...surprising discovery [of] the simultaneous development of a forward-looking, humane, learned and pious religious life in Mary's short reign...' is correct that 'right' doesn't obviate the 'wrong'. Of course, similar excuses for any other group would be equally silly - doesn't the argument presented in the article sound a bit too much like '... at least Mussolini made the trains run on time ...'?”

I am probably being overly sensitive and grossly biased owing to my attachment to the lady in question, but does anyone else find this attraction somewhat controversial?

For more information on the attraction visit: