The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy
This is the most authoritative account ever published of that most envied of British institutions: the monarchy. With over 400 illustrations - no less than one third of them in colour - it tells the full story of the monarchy, presenting a vivid picture not only of the lives of individual kings and queens, but also of the monarchy as a political and social force from Anglo-Saxon times to the present. The story begins in the fifth century; progressing through the Dark Ages, Ralph Griffiths describes the emergence of recognizable kingdoms in Scotland, Wales, and England. He then goes on to discuss the continental role of English monarchs from William the Conqueror to King John, and the refocusing of royal power in Britain from the thirteenth century with the extension of English rule to Wales, the consolidation of the Scottish kingdom, and the forging of a new relationship between monarch and nation. He also explains the way in which key traditions evolved, including the right of succession, coronations and marriages, oaths of loyalty and military service, the granting of lands and titles, and the propagation of a powerful image of royalty. John Cannon takes up the story from the reign of Henry VIII, and continues the exploration of these crucial themes. Guiding the reader through the governing monarchy of the Tudors and Stuarts and the changes that followed the loss of the throne in the Civil Wars, he goes on to look at the Hanoverians and the combination of personal rule and government by Parliament. Finally, he describes the emergence of the constitutional role of the crown in Queen Victoria's reign, and the enduring basis this has bestowed upon today's popular symbolic monarchy. Alongside this colourful and eventful tale of power and government, the book also looks at the many ways in which our social and cultural history has been shaped by monarchs and the image of royalty - as landowners, builders, sportsmen and women, patrons of the arts, and as the focus of court life, whether idealized or profane. The main account is interspersed with individual panels which focus in vivid detail on each monarch and on key general themes, such as the peerage, chivalry, and coronation rituals. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout, and the text is accompanied by a comprehensive body of reference material, including colour maps, an illustrated section on royal residences and tombs, a consolidated list of monarchs, genealogies, suggestions for further reading, and a full index.
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