When the smothering summer heat made London unbearable in the summer, Queen Elizabeth I and her Court would pack up and go on tour. Called the Royal Progress, the visits to various towns and cities provided communities and leaders with an opportunity to send subtle messages to the Queen and her advisors.
“It was a public relations exercise,” John Mark Adrian, associate professor of English at UVa-Wise, said Sept. 1 in a lecture titled “Feting the Queen: Civic Entertainments and the Royal Progress.”
The lecture was part of Scholars’ Week, which was sponsored by the UVa-Wise Lecture Committee.
Adrian became interested in the topic of the Royal Progress while he was researching a book on a related matter. Examining the Progresses brought to0gether the local and national issues, he explained.
The cities hosting the Royal Progress visits would celebrate the Queen and give meaning to her visits, but organizers took the time to craft a particular image of their communities in the process.
“It was an opportunity for the towns,” Adrian said, adding that there was space for subtle communication with the Queen amidst the flattery. “A flattery that can set up something that you want.”
Local issues varied, Adrian added. Some cities grappled with immigration concerns, the end of the Northern Rebellion, woes in the wool industry or Puritan attacks on the established church. The pageants the community or hosts presented for the Queen’s entertainment would be designed with the idea of getting their messages across, Adrian added.
Adrian is working on a book now that will address the many ways the various towns used the Royal Progress to communicate with the Queen on a variety of issues.