Professor Susan Doran FRHS

Non-Stipendiary Lecturer in Early Modern History


After reading History at St Anne’s College, Oxford, I obtained a PGCE, and afterwards taught at St Paul’s Girls’ School, London. My doctorate at UCL was in early modern history, my thesis a political biography of an Elizabethan nobleman (Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd earl of Sussex 1526?–1583). Moving to St Mary’s University College (London), I taught a wide range of early-modern British and European History courses, and ran the history programme for a number of years. When I left in 2001, I was Reader in History. I returned to Oxford in 2002 as a lecturer in Christ Church and in 2004 as a Fellow at St Benet’s Hall. In 2009 I took up a position as Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College.


I teach undergraduates Early Modern British and European History c.1400-1700 for Prelims and Finals. I also contribute to the Disciplines of History paper.

I have been supervising students at both Masters and Doctoral level on subjects related to the politics, religion and art of Elizabethan England.

Research Interests

For most of my academic career, I have carried out research into the politics and religion of Elizabeth I’s reign, writing books, articles, and essays on the queen's religion, the marriage and succession questions, foreign relations, and the royal image. However, over the past six years I have been working on early Jacobean politics and have just finished a book on the accession of James I and his first decade as King of Great Britain. Entitled Regime Change: from Elizabeth I to James I 16031612, it is to be published by OUP in early 2023. After questioning the ease in which James took the throne, I examine the extent of continuities and changes in personnel, institutions, policies, and political culture from the time of James's accession until the death of his principal secretary, Robert Cecil, and his eldest son, Prince Henry. As I have a strong interest in literature, art and material culture, I use a wide range of imaginative texts and visual materials among my sources.

I have also been the editor of four catalogues of major exhibitions in London, most recently 'Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens' at the British Library.

Selected publications

Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins: Rival Queens (British Library, 2021)

'1603: A Jagged Succession’, Historical Research, 93 (2020)

Elizabeth I and her Circle (OUP, 2015 [hbk], 2018 [pbk])

Doubtful and Dangerous: The Question of Succession in Late Elizabethan England, co-edited with Paulina Kewes (MUP, 2014)

Monarchy and Matrimony: The Courtships of Elizabeth I (Routledge, 1996).