The elaborate pageantry and festivities of grand public processions have proven to be of great interest to historians writing on late medieval and early modern Europe. The more limited ceremonies and protocol at court have attracted somewhat less attention, although on occasion they have been adopted as evidence of a monarch's personal feelings about his attendants and family members. A study of royal protocol and the social and political framework in which rulers fulfilled their roles as sovereigns is timely, for it will surely lead to a new and fuller understanding of how monarchs's public roles, such as those of the Tudors, related to their private motivations.
Greeting ceremonies, which were one aspect of the “law of hospitality,” require special attention, because they offer insights into the interactions of people of varying status who were of fundamental importance to the hierarchical communities of Europe. As Esther Goody points out, “Greeting becomes a mode of entering upon or manipulating a relationship in order to achieve a specific result.” How monarchs privately greeted their brides, the topic of this essay, not only offers insights into the complexity of the relationship of individuals who were wed by proxy before they had become acquainted, but also offers evidence of how the greeting ritual performed by monarchs differed from that enacted by their royal and noble relatives.