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2-5 avril 2012, London : The royal body

‘For the King has in him two bodies … a Body natural and a Body politic.’

The idea of the king’s two bodies, the body natural and the body politic, founded on the distinction between
the personal and mortal king and the perpetual and corporate crown, has long been of interest to scholars of
medieval and early modern kingship. In later centuries the natural body of the monarch remained a
contested site, with the life, health, sexuality, fertility and death of the king or queen continuing to be an
important part of politics. Now royal sex and scandal is the very stuff that sells newspapers, and royal
christening, weddings and funerals continue to capture the popular imagination. Indeed the ‘royal touch’ of
Aids victims or sick children remains a potent image. So what is the significance of the natural body of the
monarch to their subjects now and the importance of it for the concept, and survival, of monarchy ?
This conference will explore the bodies of monarchs across Europe ranging from the medieval period to the
present. By considering how the monarch’s body has been washed, dressed, used, anointed, hidden, attacked
and put on display, it will investigate how ideas of king/queenship have developed over time.

Topics might include :

- Body service, dining, dressing, washing
- Rituals and ceremony
- Bodyservants and bodyguards
- Royal sleep, dreams and nightmares
- Assassination attempts
- Age, health and pregnancy
- Deformity and disability
- Royal births and deaths
- Regicide
- Royal touch
- Divine bodies
- Christenings, coronations, weddings and funerals
- Sexuality
- Fertility, chastity, virility
- Royal doctors
- Effigies and monuments
- Royal Dress
- Sex and Scandal
- Historiography
- Iconography and representation
- Drama and literature
- Political theory

Organisation et contact :
Centre for the Study of Bodies and Material Culture
Royal Holloway, University of London
RHUL : anna.whitelock chez

Lieu :
The conference will take place at Royal Holloway, Egham, Surrey, on 2-5 April 2012.