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Royalty/activities of ancient royal families in 16-18th centurys.



I was wondering what kind of hobbies, games, and or
entertainment British Royal families were into around
the 16th-18th centuries?  

Thanks for your time,
Jeremy taylor

Hello Jeremy,

Thank you for your question. Although royalty prior to Queen Victoria is not my area of expertise, I will try my best to provide you with some of the information you've requested.

Using the time of Elizabeth I as an example. Music played an enormous part of life in the 1500s. Music was so highly regarded that one was not considered to be a gentleman unless he was able to sing tolerably.Not only did the ability to sing made you a gentleman but you also had to be able play an instrument and dance. Again such emphasis must only mean that music was a large part of life during the 1500s.

Queen Elizabeth I fancied music and also knew well how to play instruments. She could play the lute and virginal, a small form of a piano. It was essential to understand the
art of music. Queen Elizabeth encouraged composers and musicians, employing over seventy musicians and singers. In court life you were expected to be able to dance and play. Dancing was even used as a form of exercise by Queen Elizabeth.

Other forms of Elizabethan entertainment included: feasts, banquets, fairs, plays, mystery plays (re-enacting bible stories), festivals/church festivals, jousts/tournaments, sports and games (archery, bowling, cards, dice, hammer-throwing, quarter-staff contests, quoits, skittles and wrestling), animal sports (Bear and Bull baiting. Dog and Cock fighting). As well, hunting and hawking were very big amongst the nobility.

In the 18th century, using King George III as an example, he loved the theatre and went once a week for most of his life. Sometimes the leading actors and actresses of the day were invited to entertain at court.  He preferred slapstick and pantomime to Shakespeare. He played the violin, flute and harpsichord and enjoyed listening to music, particularly religious songs.

The royals had "feasts", or long concerts of church music. Masquerades, flourished during the 18th century as a primary form of entertainment and social life. Often referred to as "carnivals behind closed doors", were also a popular activity amongst royalty and nobility as well as the general population, giving the opportunity to inter-mingle freely with other classes and act in ways contrary to convention.

I hope this answers your question.




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Marilyn Braun


I can answer questions on British Royalty from Queen Victoria's time to the present.


A life long interest in British Royalty.

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A lifelong interest in the topic and over 400 books on the subject.

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