Date of Graduation

Summer 2016


Master of Arts in Writing



Committee Chair

Margaret Weaver


rhetoric, visual rhetoric, royalty, british royalty, photography

Subject Categories

Creative Writing


This thesis examines how three British female royals, Queen Elizabeth II, Diana Princess of Wales, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, use visual rhetoric to gain and maintain power in a world where they are rarely allowed to use their actual voices. The female royals use photographs to convey their messages and gain support from the public. Elizabeth's visual agenda of androgyny allows her to gain the authority that her role of sovereign requires, while Diana used pathos to create a connection with a public to emphasize that she was the people's princess. Following their leads, Catherine is learning to use photographs to convey that she exhibits traits of both women. Utilizing Debbie Abilock's visual information literacy theory as well as desired British characteristics from As Others See Us, select photographs of these three women will be used for the purpose of examining these women's visual rhetoric. As Cara Finnegan points out, photographs serve as rhetorical images when they are created not just to represent a reality, but to persuade the viewers of a particular interpretation of reality. These "image vernaculars" prompt viewers to engage in an enthymematic mode of reasoning. While all three women use their photographs to convey different messages about who they are and their relationship to the British people, all three have clearly capitalized on the power of visual rhetoric. They understand that such images have the power to create or destroy their popularity.


© Barbara Joann Anderson

Open Access