Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Question from Danielle - Dissertation ideas on Catherine of Aragon and/or Anne Boleyn

Hi there.

Firstly I'd like to thank you to the many who have posted before me, I have found all this info so helpful!!

My questions is; I am currently in my second year of university and am hopefully planning to do my dissertation in my history subject. I need to come up with my proposal soon.

I'd really love to do something about Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn or both etc. However I really would like to stay away (if I can) from the obvious choice of "reformation" I know a few people who are doing this and I would love to make something different, and more personal.

Please could anyone help with suggestions on what I could do. These two are my favorite women and I would be in my element if I could write about them.

I am currently studying about Women, Power and Patronage and the works/letters/diary's of women etc so I know how and where to research for any future topics.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Thanks :)


kb said...

Hi -
I am guessing this would be for your final year at a UK university. An under researched area might be the two queen's ladies-in-waiting. Who did they patronize? What sort of women did they surround themselves with? Catherine's ladies were initially Spanish and she retained some women for quite some time. For example, Maria de Salinas is intriguing. She married Lord Willoughby. Anne's ladies seemed to have distinct family connections.

As you say, much has been written about the two women's relationship to religious reformation. But what about the support structures they created around themselves? You'll want to look at almost anything published by Barbara Harris.

Just a thought.

Danielle said...

Wow! Thank you for replying, this is indeed much help!!

I am indeed in my final year in the UK. I am currently doing modules that are to do with Patronize (Women, Power and Patronize to be exact)this would be a wonderful area to explore.

Do you think that the type of people they surrounded themselves would have influenced them in anyway?

Thank you again!! :)

Anonymous said...

How about looking at the relationship between Catherine of Aragon and the Spanish ambassadors to the throne, Mendoza and Chapuyes (SP) look at the ongoing relationship with the later who was instrumental during her divorce and Catherines daughter Mary as he was promenent to both women as both ambassador and unoffical advisor

kb said...

Hi - I think that the women who they surrounded themselves with could have influenced them, and could have formed a network through which the queens influenced others. It might be a bit much but you could look at my thesis about the women in Elizabeth I's court to get some ideas about ways to approach your own work. My thesis is downloadable as a PDF from the University of Nottingham site.

This link should work.

Good luck with your project!

shtove said...

The ambassadors suggestion is good.

My suggestion: the portraits of Catherine of Aragon.

First up, there is a historical mystery about the best examples. Then you can relate them to the portraits of her sister, Juana la Loca; then progress through the art patronage of her mother at the Spanish court; and tie it up with the later inferior portraits of Catherine done in England.

It's a good story, and the hypothesis may relate to false/unflattering images, manipulation etc.

myladyswardrobe said...

How about pulling together all the ideas just given and look at Katherine's Queenship.

How did her childhood equip her for Queenship. What was her role as Queen in England, how did she balance the role of subservient Queen Consort to King Henry VIII and her upbringing.

You can then bring in her role as Queen Regent in 1513 when Henry was in France and the Scottish King decided he would take advantage of Henry's absence and invade the North of England. Katherine was at the centre of the plans to beat back that attack. It could really be used as a contrast and comparison to her role when Henry was in England.

The role of Queenship would then pull in aspects of patronage as suggested by Kb. and this too would pick up on her Ladies and her household.

How was that affected by her change in status from (pretty much) dispossessed Princess of Wales to Queen of England.

To help answer your own question, you could see how the ladies she was surrounded by on a daily basis could have influenced her or not. Do look at what happened to the ladies she brought with her from Spain - how many of those were permitted to remain.

Relationships between Catherine and her ambassadors are crucial. They are, in effect, her link to her home country and birth family. How does she balance her loyalty to her adopted country and her birth country?

What is her relationship with Mary - is her role as Queen and her upbringing influential on how Mary was brought up and trained. What was Katherine's ultimate aim in that training? (remember Katherine was brought up to be a Queen. Her mother, Isabella, was a Queen Regnant - not merely a Queen consort or even Regent).
You can also bring in portraiture of Katherine. How does this present an image of Queenship? What message are the portraits giving to people who view them. This can also bring in aspects of the Queen's household such as the clothing she is wearing. It all impacts on her Queenship.
You can't ignore religion - it is absolutely central to Katherine's life. You may need to touch on the reformation as it did impact her last years and her role as Queen.

tudor princess said...

An interesting topic would be comparing the Regency roles that both Catherine of Aragon and Katherine Parr took when Henry was in France eg examining their letters to Henry and his letters back, Catherine's role in Flodden Field, Katherine Parr's proclamations etc

If I remember, the dissertation is more of an extended essay so you are limited on space and time and may not have the luxury of an extended topic.

Good Luck!