Caroline M. Hibbard
This page reflects a scholar's association with the Folger Institute.
"A Place at Court: Palaces and Courtiers of Henrietta Maria" (NEH, 2008–2009)
This book project approaches the analysis of the early Stuart court as a political arena through the detailed analysis of the household and court of Charles I’s consort Henrietta Maria in the decades before the English civil war. This group of about 200 individuals is not entirely “representative,” but it embodies the personnel categories of the larger court, and yields important analytical approaches that are of general relevance to early modern court studies. My extensive data base is built from a wide range of sources including a full run of the Queen’s annual “establishment books,” her account books, records of the Signet Office, Lord Chamberlain’s and Lord Steward’s offices, and printed and manuscript correspondence, newsletters, and ambassadorial reports. It is organized around the principle that ordered the court—the rooms of the palace, and how the right of entry into them denoted status as well as defining service.
Access provided power and the means to profit; the attainment of place was a major objective of courtiers. We have long known this, but lacked sufficient information about the origins and rewards of household officials to develop analytical tools to study place-seeking across the breadth of the household. This is what my study aims to provide. The three themes that mingle with all parts of this work are those of marriage/dynasty, profit, and religion. This was not an age of party, but an era of household and dynastic politics. The royal household was the epitome and apex of this political organization.