Crown & Country: The Kings & Queens of England: A History (Paperback)
From one of our finest historians comes an outstanding exploration of the British monarchy from the retreat of the Romans up until the modern day. With a new chapter on Royal Weddings - this is essential reading for those who want to understand more about how monarchy has shaped the British nation.
The monarchy is one of Britain's most venerable and revered institutions but also one of its most tumultuous. In this substantially revised, updated and expanded compendium of two earlier volumes, David Starkey charts its roller-coaster history, starting with the warring tribal kings who continued to exercise their sway under the Romans. New material on the late Middle Ages and the Wars of the Roses brings the story to the turbulent reign of the Tudors and on through the chaos of the Civil War that first unseated and then beheaded a king.
The Republic that followed Charles I's execution smashed the Imperial Crown and attempted to eradicate the word king from the language. For a time, it seemed the throne itself had died with its most recent occupant. And yet, vulnerable though it had been shown to be, the monarchy also proved surprisingly resilient, rebuilding itself alongside Britain's burgeoning Empire.
Starkey brings the tempestuous story up to the present, guiding us through the abdication of Edward VIII and the dissolution of the marriage between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, with a new chapter on the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, royal weddings and the future of monarchy.
Throughout, Starkey highlights both the strength and the terrible fragility of an institution that has seemed, at times, perilously close to extinction. Bringing to life a cast of colourful characters, this brilliant overview of the history of Britain through her kings and queens provides an in-depth examination of the monarchy, as well as a vidid and iconoclastic portrait of British culture, politics and nationhood, embodied in an institution that has defined the realm for nearly two thousand years.
About the Author
David Starkey is the author of Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne and Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. He will be broadcasting on the upcoming royal wedding for the BBC. One of the foremost contemporary commentators on the monarchy, he is a winner of the W. H. Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History, presented by Britain's Historical Association.
"A masterpiece of accessible history, underscored with profound scholarship . . . I defy anybody not to enjoy this book." Guardian
"[Starkey] has a lovely eye for a good story . . . he also has a nice line in snarky humour . . . Starkey’s great skill is to weave big themes quietly into a rollicking narrative so that you absorb them almost without noticing they are there." Daily Telegraph
"Truly, this is history made as fluent and compelling as excellent fiction." Booklist, starred review, on Six Wives
"Starkey's artful biographies of each king and queen provide a delightful buffet for everyone who loves the royals or British history...I highly recommend this entertaining and very useful history." —Historical Novels Review