James I and his favourites: sex and power at the Jacobean court

The History of Parliament

As LGBT History Month draws to a close Dr Paul M. Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-1629 Section discusses the nature of relationships between James I and his favourite courtiers, his sexuality and how this affected his ability to maintain unquestionable dominance as the monarch…

‘James I slobbered at the mouth and had favourites; he was thus a Bad King.’ This line from Sellar and Yeatman’s classic spoof history, 1066 And All That probably remains many people’s abiding impression of England’s first Stuart monarch. Both elements of the description are accurate, as it happens. The dribbling was a side-effect of James’s abnormally large tongue. However, the second issue requires more explanation. There was nothing particularly unusual about a 17th-century king having favourites. This was a standard mechanism by which trusted royal servants were promoted and rewarded. It allowed monarchs to look beyond the country’s traditional rulers, the hereditary nobility, and inject…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at https://utopiayouarestandinginit.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/why-call-my-blog-utopia-you-are-standing-in-it/

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