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The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707$
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Jacqueline Rose

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266038

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266038.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Elizabeth I and Counsel

Elizabeth I and Counsel

(p.151) 8 Elizabeth I and Counsel*
The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707

Susan Doran

British Academy

This chapter focuses on Elizabeth I’s statements about counsel that appeared in printed works (such as her Sententiae,published prayers and proclamations), public orations (especially to parliament) and confidential letters to princes and royal servants. It argues that Elizabeth adopted imperial, humanist and providential modes of counsel in fashioning herself as a virtuous and godly prince. She maintained that it was the ruler’s prerogative to choose their own councillors; that rulers had to apply wisdom and God’s help in discerning whose counsel was in the interests of the realm; and finally, that if monarchs consistently and wilfully took evil counsel, God would punish them by bringing disorder, war and defeat to their realms. Her rhetoric, moreover, mirrored her practice. Therefore, it was political, not constitutional, issues that divided Elizabeth from those privy councillors who complained that she did not follow their particular advice.

Keywords:   Elizabeth I, privy council, parliament, speeches, writings, sententiae, succession, marriage, unsolicited counsel, evil counsel

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