City of Westminster under Eliza­beth I (1558­–1603): rela­tions between direct and indirect definitions of privacy

The Westminster case focuses on the period 1558 to 1603, and the team investigates notions privacy in royal, religious, commercial, and daily life in the realm of Elizabeth I. Westminster in the age of Elizabeth I was simultaneously home to the court and a city where people lived and worked. The period in question was one of societal change, where new institutions emerged, where the royal power had grown to encompass more and more aspects. Furthermore, it was a period when some people were becoming increasingly wealthy, opening up for new consumer habits and a reinvention of the urban fabric. The research in the Westminster team focuses particularly on political and religious culture.

Activities and Presentations (Selection)

  • Anni Haahr Henriksen PhD-dissertation (working title: The Private Mind in Elizabethan England: Representations of minds in legal, religious, literary, and political discourses, supervised by M. Birkedal Bruun and Annabel Brett, University of Cambridge, to be submitted in April 2022.
  • Privacy at Court: A Reassessment of The Public/Private Divide within European Courts (1400-1800), virtual conference at PRIVACY, organized by Dustin Neighbors in collaboration with Lars Cyril Nørgaard in partnership with Society for Court Studies, 10-12.12.2021.
  • Mette Birkedal Bruun, ‘Enter into thy chamber: Private Prayer in the Reign of Elizabeth I’ The 67th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (virtual), 21.04.2021.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen, organised Seminar on Freedom of Thought and Privacy, Centre for Privacy Studies, University of Copenhagen, 11-12.11.2020.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen, ‘Roads not taken and the Reflexive Pronoun in the Edwardian Homilies (1547)’, blogpost, net-publication, 18.05.2020.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen, ‘Is this 1563 or 2020? Privacy & Plague: Reading a 1563 Plague Order during the Current Covid-19 Crisis’, blogpost, net-publication, 19.03.2020.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen, ’Disarm contentious minds’: The Private Mind in the Elizabethan Body of Political Thought’, Cambridge History of Ideas and Intellectual History Graduate Conference, Cambridge University, 18.03.2019.
  • Mette Birkedal Bruun, ‘Devotional privacy in Elizabethan England’, European Social Science History Conference, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam (virtual), 18.03.2021.
  • Seminar with Lena Cowen Orlin (Georgetown University, Washington DC): ‘Privacy in Early Modern England: sources and approaches’, 27.09.2018.
  • Lecture by Lena Cowen Orlin (Georgetown University, Washington DC): ‘Shakespeare’s private life’, 28.09.2018.
  • Workshop Private Reading in Early Modern Devotion, 11-12.10 2018, incl. a presentation by Micheline White (Carleton University, CA): ‘The Material Traces of Queen Katherine Parr’s Devotional Reading’.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen: ‘A Man's Look is the Gate to His Mind - The Spectacle of Disclosing Private Sin in Acts 2,2 and 3,2 of Shakespeare's Hamlet’, The Bergen-Volda Shakespeare Network conference, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, 16.11.2018.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen: ‘A Taxonomy of Silence’, Phenomenology of Listening Seminar, University of Copenhagen, 17.08.2018.
  • Anni Haahr Henriksen, PRIVACY Learning together seminar on Westminster wills, ‘The poor of St Margaret', formulas and specificities, 15.08.2018.



  • Anni Haahr Henriksen, “‘Consciences are not to bee forced, but to bee wonne’: The Inward Turn in Elizabethan Homiletic Discourse and the Legal Debate over the Ex Officio Oath in the Court of High Commission, 1570­-1593”, in Skouvig L. – Marklund A. (eds.), Histories of Surveillance from Antiquity to the Digital Age: The Eyes and Ears of Power (Abingdon: Routledge, 2021)
  • Dustin Neighbors and Natacha Klein Käfer. "Zones of Privacy in Letters between Women of Power: Elizabeth I of England and Anna of Saxony.Royal Studies Journal 9, no.1 (2022), 60-89.

  • Anni Haahr-Henriksen, “Omissions, Blanks, and Silences: Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnet 126” in Symbolism 22 (2022)


Lars Cyril Nørgaard, Mette Birkedal Bruun, Anni Haahr Henriksen, Dustin Neighbors (Former member).