In the sixteenth century, liberal education transformed the upbringing of Tudor and Stuart royal children. Rather than emphasizing the sword, the educations of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James VI and I, and their successors prioritized the pen. In a tumultuous period, the study of languages, classical texts, and scripture gave princes the skills and impetus to assert authority over their subjects' souls as well as their bodies. Liberal education was meant to prevent over-mighty monarchy but in practice it taught kings and queens how to extend their authority. In the hands of the Tudors and Stuarts, the pen became a dangerous weapon in the creation of a powerful church and state.
Winner of the 2016 Whitfield Prize, Royal Historical Society
"This highly original and beautifully written book explores the liberal education received by royal children in Tudor and Stuart Britain … It succeeds admirably in demonstrating the wider significance of princes' education by drawing connections between childhood learning and royal policies in later life during a stormy and eventful period. This rich and deeply textured book is certain to provoke interest and debate for many years to come."
Judges, 2016 Whitfield Prize, Royal Historical Society