Royal ritual and the order of the Garter: tradition, modernity and the medieval in England, 1348-2002

Grant number: DP0450413

Abstract

The cultural history of the British monarchy can be characterised as a set of negotiations between the rival claims of tradition and modernity. The monarchy depends on its medieval past for cultural authority while also constantly seeking to reform and renew itself. This project analyses one of the monarchy's oldest rituals, the Order of the Garter, using its contested medieval origins and subsequent history as a powerful symptomatic register of the strategies by which the monarchy adapts its traditional heritage to changing social contexts. Comprehending this dynamic will revise our understanding of the relationship between medieval culture, tradition and modernity.