‘The unfortunate whose kingdom is not of this world’ – political impostures
in Impostures in early modern England
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This chapter focuses on political impostors, or people who assumed the identity of a royal personage in order to achieve either a personal goal or that of a political faction, in early modern England. These people were either genuine members of the royal dynasty or ordinary men or women who claimed to be the real heir to the throne and therefore challenged the legitimacy of the current ruler. The former are often labelled as pretenders or claimants. The chapter discusses various circumstances of a vacuum of power, including political or succession crisis, which provided fertile ground for their claims.

Impostures in early modern England

Representations and perceptions of fraudulent identities

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