21H.342 | Fall 2003 | Undergraduate

The Royal Family


There will be three formal written assignments, of 2, 4, and 10 pages. They will be due in class on Lecture 2, Lecture 12 and Lecture 24 respectively. Assignment sheets will be given out in class and posted on the website. The final written assignment will include a progress report due Lecture 21 and a class presentation (see the schedule for Lecture 24 and Lecture 25).

In addition, informal response papers (1-2 pages) on the readings for each unit will be due in class on the day that the readings are discussed.

Formal Written Assignments

Assignment 1

Choose one portrait on the class website (Tudors and Stuarts page) and discuss the image it presents of both sovereignty and the sovereign. Refer to specific components of the painting as well as to the general impression it gives.

Assignment 2

What perspective on the monarchy is incorporated in A Royal Scandal? Can you account for it in political terms? Is it related to feelings about the current Prince of Wales? How does the presentation of Queen Caroline and her troubles in the video relate to that in the readings? Be sure to comment on all the readings for the George IV unit in your essay.

NOTE: When you refer to sources, even from the assigned readings, be sure to cite them fully.

Assignment 3

Length: 10 pages (written) and 20 minutes (oral)

This assignment asks you to examine contemporary royal pageantry and presentation, using the perspectives you have gained from studying the evolution of the British monarchy over the last three centuries. Select a recent royal occasion (one that has been packaged for public consumption, not an impromptu event) and describe its significant elements, considering why they have been included and what is their intended effect on their intended audience. How is the monarchy represented by the event? Does it confirm the hypothesis that over time royal political power has been replaced by cultural influence? Once you have explained the intended effect of the occasion, see whether this effect was in fact achieved by examining reportage and commentary. Remember that the primary audience for the British royal family is British (even though they have great international appeal as well), and select your sources accordingly. If you wish to include American (or other) sources in addition, use them as the basis for explicit comparison. Donít treat them as if they were the product of a single indistinguishable culture.

Reading Questions (to consider when writing Response Papers)

Peter Walton. A Celebration of Empire. (PDF)

Lytton Strachey. Queen Victoria. Chapters 1-6. (PDF)

Fanny Burney. Diary. Selections. (PDF)

William Makepeace Thackeray. The First Four Georges. (Parts 1 and 2.) (PDF)

Laqueur. “The Queen Caroline Affair: Politics as Art in the Reign of George IV.” (PDF)

Cannadine. “The Context, Performance and Meaning of Ritual.” (PDF)

A King’s Story. (PDF)

Official Program for King George’s Jubilee. (PDF)

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2003