Romantic Recreations: Remembering Stuart Monarchy in Nineteenth-Century Fancy Dress Entertainments

  • Benjamin L. Wild
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


The Stuarts, who ruled Britain between 1603 and 1714, are among the country’s longest reigning and most divisive of royal dynasties. During the nineteenth century, however, they became the subject of renewed interest and sympathy. The extent of this curiosity is revealed by a popular trend in which people attended costume balls, in Britain and overseas, in the guise of Stuart monarchs, typically Mary Queen of Scots or Charles I. The reverie for the Stuart dynasty reveals much about contemporary insecurities and the malleability of memory. At a time when people were grappling with life-changing developments in many aspects of their lives, the past offered the prospect of security. The period of Stuart rule could be regarded as a crucible in which Britain’s parliamentary and Protestant traditions fused. In an age of invented traditions, when fancy dress costumes drew inspiration from characters of the past, the trials of the Stuarts could be recast to heighten romance over political revolution.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin L. Wild
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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