Jun 29, 2012
The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned explores the sensual women of the late Stuart Court, telling their stories of glamour, celebrity, love and beauty secrets. These are very modern preoccupations from which some queens, not least Queen Anne, herself, have suffered. Anne remains an overlooked monarch — overshadowed by her own sister Mary as queen. Unaccomplished in self-fashioning and image, Anne’s obesity and gout meant that she had to be carried at her coronation. Over the course of her reign, she bore 15 children, none of whom survived to adolescence. Was Anne’s body and the failures of it a way of explaining her limited success and inglorious historical reputation? Seemingly, Anne’s body — ‘exceedingly gross and corpulent’ — was tied up with perceptions of her character and abilities. But modern historiography points to the need for a reassessment of Anne’s reign.
Might Anne’s body actually be considered a political and propaganda asset — her desire to be a mother, her ill health making her seem a monarch of the people? Dr Anna Whitelock will challenge attitudes then and now, to bodies and beauty.