The Royal Touch

I’m currently reading Anna Keay’s The Magnificent Monarch, which contains the following fascinating fact about Charles II use of the ‘Royal Touch’. Keay estimates that Charles touched near on 100,000 subjects for the ‘King’s Evil’ over the course of his reign, meaning that roughly 2% population at the time took part in this ritual.  Aside from demonstrating the importance that both king and public attached to the ritual, it’s also a powerful illustration of the degree of contact between the monarch and the people at this point in time. There’s something to think about here in terms of my James II paper, I think. Though the circumstances of James’ captivity in Kent were exceptional, the closeness between king and public was not.

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Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 11:21 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] account gives us a good insight into what could have been – and into, as Edward Vallance’s recent post makes clear, what actually was under Charles’s son in the 1660s and […]

  2. This sounds fascinating, and I haven’t yet had a chance to read Keay’s book. My first response to the estimate of 2% “touched”, however, is to wonder about and perhaps question the types of sources used to generate this stat. Is royalist propaganda a factor here?


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