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Without Map or Compass

Writing about constitutional crises by Bernard Porter, Ferdinand Mount, Hilary Mantel, Alan Bennett, Blair Worden, Patricia Beer, Stephen Sedley and Sionaidh Douglas-Scott.

The Meek Assassin

Bernard Porter, 5 July 2012

If Spencer Perceval is remembered at all today it’s probably as the answer to a question in a pub quiz: who is the only British prime minister ever to have been assassinated? But both he...

Magna Carta

Ferdinand Mount, 22 April 2015

George Cony​, a London merchant, had once been a friend of Oliver Cromwell. But when the Lord Protector slapped a tax on silk imports without the consent of Parliament, Mr Cony protested that...

Bloody Mary

Hilary Mantel, 24 September 2009

In the reign of Edward VI, an Exeter clergyman named William Herne, an enthusiast for the gospel, told one of the city’s aldermen that he would rather be torn apart by wild horses than ever...

The King and I

Alan Bennett, 30 January 1992

I’ve always had a soft spot for George III, starting all of forty years ago when I was in the sixth form at Leeds Modern School and reading for a scholarship to Cambridge. The smart book...

Conrad Russell’s Civil War

Blair Worden, 29 August 1991

For fifteen years Conrad Russell has dominated that most embattled and most heavily populated area of historical study, the origins of the civil wars of mid-17th-century England. In doing so, he...

Merry Wife of Windsor

Patricia Beer, 16 October 1980

The most terrifying comment made on the Abdication may well be that of Lord Beaverbrook, writing twenty years after the events in which he played such a prominent part: if the British people, he...

The Glorious Revolution

Stephen Sedley, 23 September 2015

In​ 1944, as Richard Kay records, an optimistic litigant challenged the validity of a Victorian statute under which he was being sued, on the ground that Queen Victoria, like all her...

Brexit and the Constitution

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, 24 May 2018

In​ her Mansion House speech in March, in which she outlined her plans for leaving the EU, Theresa May stated that she ‘would not allow anything that would damage the integrity of our...

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