New research from the University of Warwick reveals the celebrities and heroes of 17th century England were politicians, not footballers. The study into ballads of the 1600s reveals that the Duke of Monmouth, James Scot, the illegitimate son of Charles II, was hailed as a true hero in ballads, the equivalent of today’s pop music, and despite his flaws, as the peoples Royal he could do no wrong - very much like Englands most recent darling, David Beckham.
In the 17th century the general public- and especially young people- really cared about parliamentary politics, so much so that they sang about political events and figures all the time. Political issues appealed not just to young peoples heads but also to their hearts.
The study entitled “‘Englands Darling or Senseless Loon’” examines over 30 ballads about the Duke of Monmouth to show that he achieved immortality in black letter ballads, the tabloids and popular media of their day, as Protestant Prince, Englands Glory and Brave and Valiant Hero.
Jenny Murray | University of Warwick
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