chapter  1
40 Pages

Inventing a Language of Union

Frances Howard's second marriage, to Jamess Scottish favorite, Robert Carr, took place on 26 December 1613 and was the last high-profile wedding celebrated at court with masques in the Jacobean period. In seeking to elucidate these intersections between the panegyrical strategies of the masques and the courts changing social configuration, this chapter departs from previous examinations of the nuptial encomia produced for Frances Howard's second marriage. McManus is right to highlight the way The Somerset Masque registers the king and queens disagreement over the Carr/Howard marriage, but she exaggerates the efficacy of monarchical authority in the entertainment. It is more useful to think of The Somerset Masque as altering the form that monarchical authority customarily takes in nuptial performance, rather than as banishing that authority altogether. The last masque performed for the marriage of Robert Carr and Frances Howard was The Masque of Flowers.