FRIAS Research Project#

"Sacred Kingship between Disenchantment and Re-enchantment. The French and the English Monarchies in the long 17th Century 1587/89-1714/15"

The French and the English monarchies shared a strong tradition of sacred kingship, going back to the middle ages. However not just in England where the Reformation deeply transformed this tradition, but also in France monarchy had to re-invent itself at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. In man ways we can consider the history of the two monarchies as closely intertwined not only in this period, but during the entire course of the 17th century, given the fact that the later Stuarts’ vision of monarchy was clearly inspired by the French model, whereas their opponents saw Louis XIV as the prime example of the Catholic tyrant. The study will attempt not just a comparative history of the two monarchies between the deaths of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry III on the one hand and that of Louis XIV (and Queen Anne) on the other but will also look I at the way in which new forms of monarchical legitimation and representation in England mirrored events in France or presented a Protestant alternative to the rule of the most Christian King. Against the widespread idea that kingship was increasingly secularised from the late 16th century onwards and gradually lost its sacred character it will attempt to show that periods of a disenchantment of kingship were frequently followed by a distinct re-enchantment of monarchy, which lent it a renewed religious legitimacy, although traditional notions of iure-divino rulership or of the performative character of the great rituals of state may have been partly abandoned or have become controversial.

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