To my extraordinary fellow students and professor, Ann-Kathrin exhaustingly presents you this week’s blog.
I want to talk about the various salutation which show not only the hierarchy between the writer of the letters and their recipients but also changes in her career.
Each letter is addressed to someone, where their name and rank are stated. In addition the addresses also include adjectives concerned with the recipient. Mostly also the writer, Elizabeth, is included. I thought that was very fascinating.
Elizabeth’s letter to her mother Queen Katherine include both in its address. Additionally the address states the main focus of the letter: “To the most high, most illustrious and magnanimous Princess Katherine, queen of England, France, and Ireland, Elizabeth, her most humble daughter, gives greeting and due obedience” (10). It does not include either an additional salutation nor closing. The letters to her father, King Edward, don’t include Elizabeth in the address, lack a salutation, but do have a closing: “[Addressed] To the most illustrious and most nobel King Edward the Sixth … Your majesty’s most humble daughter, Elizabeth” (14-15). Then we have several letters for Lord Edward Seymour and Elizabeth’s sister Mary which include both a salutation and closing. Those are also a lot more personal than the ones sent to her parents. Is this inclusion or exclusion of salutations a way to show subordination and respect?
After Elizabeth became queen the addresses and salutations changed. The letters were now signed at the beginning of the letter, with a combination of Elizabeth R, Elizabeth Regina, or “By the queen” (205). Only more personal letters or ones to friends still had a salutation and a closing. Again, this seems like a power shift, an indication of hierarchy established through a simple address.
The only letters missing any kind mentioning of royalty seem to be the ones to the duke of Anjou/Alençon. But then again they were love letters, which, at least, in my mind had to be distinctly different than those to family or subordinates.
Does anyone else think it is sad that we today have lost the “ability” to greet someone when writing to them? Not that we should show any kind of hierarchy, but so many forms of communications have lost any sense of address/salutation/closing. I have observed how I communicate through different social media modes the last two days and I do have admit that I sometimes forgo a simple “Dear …” or “Hello …,” I mean they do know I am writing to them why do I have to emphasis it (how horrible!)? Sign an email? How redundant, they recipient knows who the email is from right? But then some modes of communication are not made to be personal anymore, yes I am talking about you, twitter.
Your humble blogger, Ann-Kathrin