This chapter discusses the royal court of the sixteenth century, which suffered from unfavourable comparisons with that of James IV and James V and with its close contemporaries in England or France, while the early seventeenth-century court is often overlooked as English and of little relevance to Scotland. It observes that the courts of Mary and James VI were poor compared to the courts of James IV and James V. It explains that because the crown was relatively impoverished it does not mean that the court was politically irrelevant. It observes that nobles chased office, wealth, and influence at court, and much of the politics of the period focused on court power struggles that were enmeshed in the turbulent politics of the localities. It opines that the political and cultural significance of the post-1603 court cannot be dismissed and the long-term detrimental impact on Scotland requires a more sophisticated interpretation.
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