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Above all, the existence of a hereditary monarchy helps to prop up all the privilege and patronage that corrupts our society; that is why the crown is seen as being of such importance to those who run the country, or enjoy the privileges it affords. Tony Benn
Who can forget the famously insane European monarchies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Red Dwarf s6e5: Rimmerworld, Kryten to Rimmer, BBC 1993
At the heart of the royal regalia the King’s State’s Crown. Solid gold and bedecked with four hundred precious stones. The Golden Orb inlaid with six hundred jewels and the solid gold Sovereign’s Sceptre. Days that Shook the World s2e4: Grand Heist, BBC 2004
They had cost a staggering £32,000. ibid.
After Charles II was reinstated in 1660 Cromwellians like Blood quickly lost favour. He began to plot against the new royalist regime. ibid.
April 1671: Blood was disguised then as now as a parson. ibid.
9th May 1671: As soon as they are near the jewels Blood and Parrot attack. ibid.
The three principle conspirators are all in jail. ibid.
King Charles considers Blood’s appeal ... He signs Blood’s pardon. ibid.
It’s a story of monarchy which spans six centuries from the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors. Dr Janina Ramirez, Illuminations: The Private Lives of Medieval Kings 1/3, BBC 2012
To many people today monarchy seems to be merely a corrosive mixture of snobbery, ceremony and sentiment. But it’s far more than that. It’s the natural, universal form of government … We still have our real monarchy. It’s over 1,500 years old which means it is the oldest functioning political institution in Europe. Monarchy by David Starkey s1e1: A Nation State, Channel 4 2004
Rome brought Britain a civilisation, an extraordinary sophistication and refinement … The emperor: he was a god on Earth. ibid.
The scale of the Saxon incursions: perhaps 200,000 people flooded into a native population of only about 2,000,000. ibid.
Bede’s history told us that Readwald ruled in East Anglia as one of several leaders in the new England. ibid.
The life of the typical Anglo-Saxon king remained nasty, brutish and short. ibid.
One of the forgotten heroes of English history, a man who operated on a European scale and dominated the England of his day. His name is Offa, king of Mercia. ibid.
Guthrum knew that for his takeover of the kingdom of Wessex to succeed he had to kill Alfred. ibid.
991: A menacing fleet approached the coast at East Anglia. Nearly a century after King Alfred’s victory over the Vikings the Norse men were back. Monarchy by David Starkey s1e2: Aengla Land
On the landward side there were the forces of the most sophisticated monarchy in western Europe … It was England’s wealth and stability that had enabled Edgar to establish the first British empire. ibid.
English art and literature flourished. ibid.
One of the worst kings ever to wear the crown – his name is Aethelred. ibid.
The English defeat at Maldon was just the beginning; for the next ten years it seemed that nothing would stop the Danes. ibid.
In England Canute went native and became more English than the English. ibid.
The Norman Conquest was a defining, arguably the defining event, in English history … It’s left its mark on us right up to the present. Monarchy by David Starkey s1e3: Conquest
The Norman army sliced through southern England … Submit or die. Within weeks William’s victory was complete. ibid.
He [William] marched his army to York, drove off the Danes and then perpetrated the most infamous event of his reign: the harrying of the north. ibid.
William’s violent rule also left a stench in the nostrils of his people. ibid.
William Rufus was a highly competent king … but he added nothing more. ibid.
If any women could pull off that challenge it was Matilda. ibid.
Within a year or two he [Stephen] had lost control of the barons. ibid.
Matilda v Stephen: Norman England’s first civil war was about to begin. ibid.
In December 1154 one of the most charismatic of all kings of England began his reign: Henry II was a star amongst monarchs. Monarchy by David Starkey s1e4: Dynasty
Why the transformation in Becket? ibid.
Henry, King of England submitted to a public scourging. ibid.
He was defeated in battle by Richard and the King of France. ibid.
Richard ruled the family empire for almost ten years until he was mortally wounded in a siege here in France. But during all that time Richard spent only six months in England. ibid.
But to praise John for being a royal filing clerk … a sign not of strength but of weakness. ibid.
The barons who had come fully armed presented their demands and King John, reluctantly and already in bad faith, granted what they wished. The agreement became known as Magna Carta. ibid.
This castle was built by a man whose ambitions were truly imperial: King Edward I, conqueror of Wales and hammer of the Scots. Monarchy by David Starkey s1e5: A United Kingdom
But the second Edward, unconventional and self-indulgent, reopened the old debate about royal power; his weaknesses brought the monarchy to the brink of disaster and may have inflicted a uniquely horrible death on the king. Nor was it all gore and glory. ibid.
By the end of the Edwardian century the shape of an England ruled by king, lords and commons was already becoming clear. ibid.
Wales was crushed under the heel of a brutal military occupation. ibid.
Bannockburn became infamous as England’s most shameful defeat by the Scots … Edward fled the battlefield. ibid.
For the first time in England history a reigning monarch was formally deposed from the throne. ibid.
Edward [III] was the perfect gentleman … This was a quiet revolution. ibid.
War with France offered the chance of rich booty … He was about to start a war that would last a hundred years. ibid.
Over the next hundred years there were seven kings and only three of them died in their beds. Monarchy by David Starkey s1e6: Death of a Dynasty
Hope for the future lay with Edward’s eldest son and heir, the Black Prince, but then in 1376 disaster struck: aged 45 he died. In his place his son, the nine year old Richard, became heir to the throne … Richard aged only 10 became King. ibid.
In 1380 they introduced a new poll tax; not for the last time it triggered a revolt. ibid.
One by one those Lords who had rebelled against him met with his revenge. ibid.
Henry [Bolingbroke] wanted far more than the Duchy of Lancaster: he would settle for nothing less than the crown of England itself. ibid.
Only a year after Henry’s coronation in 1400 the Welsh rose up against English rule, but the greatest threat to England came from within England and from the family which had been his own strongest supporters – the Percys. ibid.
No heir to the throne had served a more distinguished apprenticeship … He fought bravely against Hotspur … that led the English to victory … but suddenly at the age of 35 Henry caught dysentery and died. ibid.