Reginae Regis – The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Reginae Regis is a freeform larp set in 1545 in the court of Henry VIII. In our version of Tudor history, King Henry legalised polygamy instead of divorcing or executing his wives. He has married six times and has many children, but no clear heir. The changeable theology of the Henrician Church has given the King power, but no clear religious position. The country fears an unstable transfer of power and a return to the terrifying and bloody days of the War of the Roses.
Henry has accepted a delegation from the Pope for the first time since his ex-communication. Rumours have spread of a reconciliation with Rome. Many hope or fear that the King will rejoin the Catholic Church and this will mean picking one wife and one heir.
The six wives of Henry VIII are the most powerful women in England: Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Katherine Parr. They all desire to control the throne – for loyalty, for love, for power, for greed, for fear, for the souls of the nation.
At Reginae Regis, Henry’s Queens will return to his court to stake their claim.
Players portray the key movers and shakers of the court of Henry VIII – the Queens, their allies and their enemies. Most characters serve one of the Queens or the King. Some are ambassadors from foreign courts or representatives of the Pope.
Each character has a pre-written backstory with motivations, goals, connections and loyalties. Characters will be cast by the organisers. Character briefs and secrets are private to the player.
The gameplay will evolve organically. Players will choose actions prompted by the motivations in their briefs, and the developing political setting. There are some NPCs, including Henry VIII himself. There is no preconceived ending or pre-planning of scenes. There are few mechanics and rules. Organiser interaction should be light.
This larp explores binary gender roles and female influence amongst the Tudor nobility. It includes the interplay in ideals of power, fertility and spiritual authority.
Characters will decide the future of England in a series of discussions and conversations, both formal and informal. They will try to find a compromise between all the factions that will avoid civil war. Alliances may swiftly form and dissolve as players try to maintain their standing with both King Henry and his chosen heir.
A key question is whether a woman will inherit or control the throne. England has not had a reigning Queen in 400 years and the last one caused a civil war. Will the country bruised from it’s recent conflicts in the War of the Roses risk placing a woman in power?
The throne is bound up politically with control of the new Church of England. Christian religion and theology are important points of conflict across the court with opinions ranging from Papal loyalists to hardline Lutherans. Can the country reconcile a woman in supreme authority when it is illegal for women to discuss religion in public?
10. - 12. November 2023, Ingestre Hall Arts Centre, Staffordshire, Vereinigtes Königreich
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