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Response to Review no. 852

My attention has just been drawn to Lucy Wooding’s wonderfully engaged, thoughtful and most generous review of my Selling the Tudor Monarchy. I am most grateful for her succinct summation of some of the most important arguments and lucid presentation of what I was trying to do. I accept the criticisms which are helpful and well worth further reflection. Only on two points would I comment:

1. I am of course fully aware that this was a period of bitter religious and political division- which indeed representations were often designed to temper, if not deny. But short of a full political narrative (as well as my subject) I didn?t see how these could be related and I took them as given and well known.

2. I absolutely do not believe that reputation is the same thing as representation and must ponder how I in any way conveyed such an impression. I briefly consider subsequent reputations because I think they tell us something about how later societies viewed, appropriated and contested these rulers. That may have something also to say about their contemporary images but it is manifestly not the same thing.

In Mary’s case, my argument is not, at least primarily, about her later image; it is that, though she had supporters and was skilful at representing herself as she wished – as wife of a Habsburg – such a representation drew detractors in her own lifetime and contributed during her lifetime to negative images, which were bequeathed to later history, not invented by it.

Most of all I would like again to express my warm gratitude and thanks for Lucy’s very encouraging and incisive appraisal.