OF CRYMSEN TISSUE: THE CONSTRUCTION OF A QUEEN. IDENTITY, LEGITIMACY AND THE WARDROBE OF MARY TUDOR
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Clothing, together with other bodily adornments, is a valuable tool for communicating loyalty, identity and status. The coded messages inherent in the interplay between garments, bodies and society play a fundamental role in political culture, and the early modern era was no exception. The example of Mary I of England and her wardrobe choices demonstrates precisely how useful this tool could be. Through examination of previously-unpublished warrants, information from Privy Purse records, contemporary accounts and portraiture, this thesis analyzes the contents of and changes in Mary I’s wardrobe through the course of her adult life. By examining what the queen wore and when, patterns emerge that correlate with important parts of her political strategies. The first queen regnant, Mary used her wardrobe as a vital tool in the construction of her identity and self-representation, and as a means of navigating through the political and domestic upheavals that threatened her authority.