Crown and Sceptre: A History of the British Monarchy
In February 2021, HM Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 70th year on the British throne—her Platinum Jubilee—by far the longest reign of any British monarch.
Inspired by this momentous event, this illustrated talk by bestselling author and historian Professor Tracy Borman, based on her latest book, Crown & Sceptre, will explore the tumultuous history of the British monarchy. She will consider how this iconic institution has survived the storms of rebellion, revolution and war that brought most of the world’s other monarchies to an abrupt and bloody end.
She will also discuss how the monarchy—‘This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle’ (King Richard II 2.1. 40)—has spearheaded seismic changes that have shaped Britain’s religious, political, and cultural identity. With 1,000 years of royal history from 1066 to the present day, Domesday Book to Magna Carta, the Field of Cloth of Gold to Prince Harry’s wedding, this lecture will tell the real story of the crown.
Borman will introduce a colourful cast of characters, from the all-conquering William I and Henry V to formidable matriarchs such as Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria; those who like Henry VIII ruled supreme and others like Edward VIII, who gave up the throne for love.