By Rayne Allinson
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) despatched extra letters into extra far-off kingdoms than any English monarch had sooner than, and her exchanges with an ever-growing variety of rulers display how transferring conceptions of sovereignty have been made show up on paper. This ebook examines Elizabeth's correspondence with numerous major rulers, studying how her letters have been built, drafted and offered, the rhetorical recommendations used, and the position those letters performed in facilitating diplomatic family members. Elizabeth's letters did greater than authorize diplomatic motion overseas: quite often they mirrored, and occasionally even stimulated, the course of international policy.
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Extra info for A Monarchy of Letters: Royal Correspondence and English Diplomacy in the Reign of Elizabeth I (Queenship and Power)
33 Nevertheless, Elizabeth relied on her secretaries of state (also known as “principal secretaries”) for almost everything else. Three men dominated this role during Elizabeth’s reign: Sir William Cecil, after 1571 elevated to Lord Burghley (1558–1572 and 1590–1596), Sir Francis Walsingham (1573–1590), and Sir Robert Cecil (1596–1612). They were responsible for composing, receiving, and filing the queen’s foreign correspondence, as well as for supervising the administration of diplomatic missions abroad.
Thus in June 1563 Thomas Randolph reported that he had kissed Elizabeth’s letter before presenting it to Mary of Scotland, after which she declared, “I wyll kysse yt also . . ”92 This ritualized gesture made royal letters almost like relics, giving corporeal substance to written words on paper. Deviations from the protocol of letter delivery could reflect negatively on the relationship between countries and even cause an international incident. ”93 Bowes interpreted these actions as deliberate slights and a sign of the Tsar’s low estimation of the queen, and he returned the insult by making as much trouble as he could—much to the consternation of the Muscovy Company and its merchants, whose goods and ships were promptly seized.
On January 28, 1595, Lake described the process of readying Elizabeth’s silk-flossed letter to the Ottoman Sultan: This morning hir ma[jes]ty hath signed the l[ett]res your ho[nour] lefte with me. indd 30 3/15/2012 4:24:23 PM My Skrating Hand 31 of the privy seale are loth to beare the Charge who will to morrow attend your ho[nour] and my lo[rd] for the Seale. 75 This letter passed through many hands before it was ready for dispatch: from the Latin Secretary’s “man,” to the merchants who applied the silk ribbons, to the clerks of the privy seal who finally closed it.
A Monarchy of Letters: Royal Correspondence and English Diplomacy in the Reign of Elizabeth I (Queenship and Power) by Rayne Allinson