Continuing our series of looking into what the historians who write for the Tudor Society are researching at the moment, we have Dominic Pearce, the author of "Henrietta Maria". Dominic, in his own words, says "I think people are interested to know more, so I work on the frontiers of early modern England, and on the world and connections that emerge." We couldn't agree more!
So, what are you working on?
Because so much work has been done on Tudor England, I tend to research stories outside England. This does not take one as far away from the Tudor administration as might be supposed. Of course, every Tudor sovereign had an active foreign policy. Henry VIII and Mary I had foreign spouses. Religious issues crossed borders. Artists and craftsmen worked in an international marketplace.
In the sixteenth century both Scotland and Ireland were foreign countries, the latter governed from Westminster, but having its own parliament and decidedly un-English. A rebellion in Ireland – the Nine Years War – outlasted the Tudor era. The Treaty of Mellifont, which concluded it, was signed a week after the death of Elizabeth I.
In continental Europe, there were huge changes during this period. The Armada of 1588 was only one symptom of European turmoil. If we are to play the blame game let us look at the Habsburgs. Their vast possessions from the reign of the Emperor Charles V, and the accompanying dynastic arrogance, made others afraid – notably the royal government of France under the Valois, then the Bourbons.
Popes joined battle. Julius II, the patron of Michelangelo and Raphael, died in 1513. He is known as the warrior Pope for his campaigns in Italy. Pope Paul IV (who died in 1559) led a coalition against the Habsburgs until he realised that his defiance would lead to a second Sack of Rome, whereupon even he backed down.
These are fertile grounds for historical research. As I am comfortable working in French, Spanish, Italian and German – also Latin (my undergraduate degree was Classics) – it is natural for me to pursue European stories. Currently I am pursuing several lines of research into the Medici family.
You can see more of Dominic's work on his website: