Scholarly attention to Francis Bacon’s The History of the Reign of King Henry VII has missed the political import of the text’s criticisms of Henry VII’s relationship with his wife, Elizabeth York, while approaches to John Ford’s Perkin Warbeck have overlooked the play’s intertextual engagement with The History’s view of royal marriage. In this essay, I argue that Bacon identifies a monarch’s policies toward his queen consort as central to that monarch’s successes or failures through an intentionally fictive account of Henry VII’s oppression and estrangement of Elizabeth, a view of monarchal politics that emerges in response to James I’s negotiation of relationships with his female kin. As Perkin Warbeck answers the questions about royal marriage posed in The History by promoting a fantasy of apolitical queenship, it also critiques the political influence of Queen Henrietta Maria in the early years of Charles I’s reign.


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pp. 312-345
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