The function, format, and performance of Margaret Tudor's January 1522 diplomatic memorial

Helen Newsome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper offers a detailed analysis of a holograph memorial (also referred to as ‘articles’ or ‘instructions’) sent by Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots, to the English court in January 1522, in an effort to persuade Henry VIII to agree to a renewal of Anglo‐Scots peace. Despite their prevalence in many diplomatic correspondence collections, there has been little study on the exact nature and purpose of the memorial genre, or analysis of how the memorial differed from the medieval and early modern letter. Through an analysis of this holograph memorial, I offer some initial thoughts on the format, function and performative impact of the memorial genre, as well as exploring why Margaret chose to send a memorial (and accompanying correspondence) to Henry VIII in January 1522 instead of a more conventional letter. This case study shows that Margaret Tudor was a skilled writer, well‐versed in the mechanisms of diplomatic literacy, who held a central role in the mediation of Anglo‐Scots diplomatic relations and communication in the early sixteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-424
Number of pages22
JournalRenaissance Studies
Issue number3
Early online date20 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding: Arts and Humanities Research Council


  • Letters
  • Diplomacy
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Memorial


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