'No other faction but my own': dynastic politics and Elizabeth I's Carey cousins

Bundesen, Kristin (2009) 'No other faction but my own': dynastic politics and Elizabeth I's Carey cousins. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (105MB) | Preview


This thesis explores the relationship between kinship networks and Elizabethan politics. Elizabeth I’s Carey cousins, part of the larger Boleyn kinship network, provide the case study. Serving her through three generations dating from before her ascension to her death, Elizabeth enjoyed the benefits and tribulations of the constant presence of her extended family. Extending Elton’s ‘points of contact’ model to include not only court, privy council and parliament but also military and foreign service, allows analysis of the role of kinship networks in Elizabethan government. The gender inclusive nature of kinship networks demonstrates that women participated more fully in the political landscape than has hitherto been accepted. The Carey presence across the extended model provided stability and served as a bulwark against the factionalism so often assumed to have been a leading characteristic of the Elizabethan court. The Careys entered the family business of politics and government and kept Elizabeth within a family context thereby moderating the image of the solitary female ruler Gloriana.

This work is divided into four main sections. After a discussion of the methodological issues and a review of the literature, chapter three analyses the value of kinship networks, the wider royal and non-royal relations and introduces the first generation of Careys including their relationships with Elizabeth before 1558. Chapter four begins with Elizabeth’s accession in 1558, her sense of family and the initial placement of Carey cousins in the new government. Chapters five and six place the family within an extended ‘points of contact’ model. Chapter seven juxtaposes a dynastic chronology, a key methodological approach for analyzing family participation in political events, in this case the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots in England. The thesis ends with the conclusion that the family was the essential political unit of the late Tudor period and that consequently men and women were both active pursuing dynastic ambitions and therefore political ambitions. The Careys, as a prominent dynasty, also benefitted from their consanguineal relationship with the queen herself placing them at the centre of the Elizabethan political scene. Extensive appendices provide reference tables of Elizabethan relatives both royal and non-royal, the Careys specifically, their participation in the various ‘points of contact’ model and a sample chronology. Also included are transcriptions of letters written by women of the Carey family illustrating their use of kinship in shaping the political landscape.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ellis, J.M.
Keywords: Elizabeth I, Boleyn, Mary Carey, ladies-in-waiting, maids-of-honour, Elizabethan court, early-modern family, dynastic politics, parliament, privy council, military, royal household, Hunsdon, Knollys, Leighton, Scrope, Carey, Howard, Kildare, West, Devereux, Hoby,
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 10828
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2009 09:55
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 18:19
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/10828

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View