The Coronation of Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen

Elizabeth I’s Coronation was a grand spectacle intimately involving her subjects where she combined grandeur with the common touch. It was also a personal success. Mary I died from influenza on 17 November 1558, ending her dream to restore Catholicism to England. Elizabeth faced serious allegations of treason, even death, during her sister’s reign. Elizabeth…

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s Third Queen

Henry VIII declared Jane Seymour was the most beloved of all his wives—she provided the desired heir. Jane’s quiet dignity hid a strong will and determination to succeed. Her father, Sir John Seymour, was knighted at the Battle of Blackheath in 1497 by Henry VII. He enjoyed royal favour during the next reign. Her mother,…

James IV of Scotland (1488-1513): Scotland’s Renaissance King

James IV brought unity, international status and the Renaissance to Scotland but his foreign policies proved his downfall. James encouraged artists, musicians and writers at his court. The first printing press was established in 1507.  His reign was also a time of peace and prosperity. His parliament passed the first compulsory education act in 1496.…

Phillipa of Hainault: Queen Consort of Edward III of England

Philippa of Hainault and Edward III brought stability to the monarchy after his father’s disastrous reign. She was interested in education, art and literature. She was often portrayed as “bourgeois”—solid, comfortable and domestic—as her homely features and motherly figure are captured in Master Hennequin of Liège's fine alabaster effigy on her tomb. Her great amiability…

George II of Great Britain (1727-1760)

George II was the last British monarch to lead troops into battle, whilst many great social and political changes occurred during his reign. He was born Georg August on 30 October 1683 at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, the eldest of two children born to Crown Prince Georg of Hanover and Sophia Dorothea of Celle. His sister…

The Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms

Charles II made his triumphant royal entry into London to reclaim his three kingdoms on 29 May 1660. Many who welcomed the Restoration were soon disappointed. The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell enjoyed stability since Charles I’s beheading in January 1649. However, Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 after a short period of illness. Anarchy Richard…

Elizabeth II: Heir-Presumptive

Princess Elizabeth was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as Heir-Presumptive when her father was crowned George VI. However, Elizabeth's life changed after her beloved grandfather died in 1936, as her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne less than a year later. Many people, including Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin visited 145 Piccadilly to discuss the Constitutional…

The Coronation of Edward II: A Monumental Blunder?

Edward II's coronation was a major fiasco as the nobility deplored Piers Gaveston's organisational skills. It affected the Anglo-French alliance at the time. Edward II’s Coronation on 25 February 1308 was badly organised. The ceremony finished late and the royal favourite, Piers Gaveston, caused outrage by upstaging the nobles and even the King himself! Gaveston…