This volume assesses the roles played by queens consort in early modern politics. It does so in three ways. First, it analyses the specific forms of influence which they wielded. Second, it posits a new vocabulary with which to conduct that analysis, suggesting that the strict divide between categories of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power – or ‘high’ politics (policy, diplomacy, ideology) and cultural influences (making a political impact through the arts) – with which scholars approach the political role of queens is anachronistic in the context of the courts in which they lived and operated. Third, it considers the extent to which the root of consorts’ power lay within their dynastic networks. Put simply, these consorts were chosen because they had international networks on which to draw: in highlighting dynasty as the motor of political affiliations and pressure, this volume demonstrates that political processes often perceived in historical scholarship as ‘domestic’ were of a substantially international nature.
Editor: Helen Watanabe O'Kelly