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Smuggled in a Warming Pan

Stephen Sedley: The Glorious Revolution, 24 September 2015

The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law 
by Richard Kay.
Catholic University of America, 277 pp., £45, December 2014, 978 0 8132 2687 3
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... to appoint his replacement? If it was parliament, could it also set conditions of tenure? When Charles II died in 1685 without legitimate offspring, the throne passed to his brother James, Duke of York, who had been brought up in exile in France as a Catholic and who now began publicly attending mass. Within a few months the Duke of Monmouth’s abortive ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney , 2 March 2017

... borrowing from elsewhere, but the English monarchy has long liked to acquire pictures of artists. Charles I, a king much absorbed by how he was himself depicted, bought, commissioned or was given numerous artist portraits. The Commonwealth sold Charles’s collection, and although many of ...

Godly Mafia

Blair Worden: Aristocrats v. the King, 24 May 2007

The Noble Revolt: The Overthrow of Charles
by John Adamson.
Weidenfeld, 742 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 297 84262 0
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... congested time, perhaps the most controversial period of English history, between the breakdown of Charles I’s personal rule in 1640, when financial collapse and military defeat by the Scots drove the king to call the Parliament that would destroy him, and the year of the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 (though whereas ...

Uncrownable King and Queen

Christopher Sykes, 7 February 1980

The Windsor Story 
by J. Bryan and Charles Murphy.
Granada, 602 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 246 11323 5
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... He was a doomed man. In spite of his enormous youthful popularity, he was ill-fitted to be a King or President or Head of State of any kind. His inner confidence was early and fatally corroded by ceaseless bullying from his martinet father, George V, and by a lack of maternal love. Amateur psychology in biography is a prevalent and dangerous fashion ...

Farewell Sovereignty

Stephen Sedley: The Case for the Regicides, 9 February 2006

The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold 
by Geoffrey Robertson.
Chatto, 429 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7011 7602 4
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... he was now moving directly to 1660, because everything that had happened between the trial of the king and the restoration of the monarchy was a nullity. By this simple and efficient process John Cooke, the barrister who prosecuted Charles I, has been airbrushed from history, save by a handful of historians of the trial who ...

Sex Sex Sex

Mark Kishlansky: Charles II, 27 May 2010

A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 580 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 0 571 21733 5
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... intact and housed in the heart of the building, its treasures on permanent display. Among these is Charles II’s copy of the Eikon Basilike. One can only wonder what the exiled prince thought as he read this tribute to his father’s martyrdom. Did it spur him to seek revenge? Is this what induced him to make a corrupt bargain with the Scots in 1650 and ...

In Myrtle Bowers

Blair Worden: Cavaliers, 30 June 2011

Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War 
by John Stubbs.
Viking, 549 pp., £25, February 2011, 978 0 670 91753 2
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... The bulk of the book is set in the generation before it, from the years around the accession of Charles I to the outbreak of fighting in 1642. ‘Cavalier’ meant more things after 1642 than before it. It was in the mid-winter of 1641-42, in the crisis which turned on the king’s entry into the House of Commons in an ...

Time to Mount Spain

Colin Burrow: Prince Charles’s Spanish Adventure, 2 September 2004

The Prince and the Infanta: The Cultural Politics of the Spanish Match 
by Glyn Redworth.
Yale, 200 pp., £25, November 2003, 0 300 10198 8
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... the most extraordinary incidents in 17th-century English history. On 17 February 1623, the future Charles I and the royal favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, set off for Madrid incognito. They wore false beards, and they called themselves John and Thomas Smith. Their mission was to win the hand of the sister of the king of ...

Barbarians

Stuart Airlie, 17 November 1983

Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... Confronted with kings called Charles the Bald, Charles the Simple, Charles the Fat and Louis the Blind, and chroniclers like Notker the Stammerer, Benzo of Alba and Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, we might be tempted to think that the history of France and Germany a millennium ago can offer us nothing more than the dreary spectacle of one barbarian succeeding another on the banks of the Seine or the Rhine ...

Ironed Corpses Clattering in the Wind

Mark Kishlansky: The Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, 17 August 2006

Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms 
by Tim Harris.
Penguin, 506 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 14 026465 5
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Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy 1685-1720 
by Tim Harris.
Allen Lane, 622 pp., £30, January 2006, 0 7139 9759 1
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... of the Parliamentarian general, Sir William. The experiments of the 1650s were swept away as king, lords and bishops were thrust back into power with hardly a shot fired. The armies of the Commonwealth melted away, its tortured succession of governments abruptly ended and its chaotic Church dissipated. The people lined the streets to cheer their ...

Fear of Words

Mark Kishlansky: The Cavalier Parliament, 18 December 2008

The Long Parliament of Charles II 
by Annabel Patterson.
Yale, 283 pp., £30, September 2008, 978 0 300 13708 8
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... her imagination, many of her best-known books, and now this new one, The Long Parliament of Charles II, are centred on the major figures of the early modern era: Marvell, Shakespeare, Milton and, again, Marvell. Her lifelong struggle has been to achieve freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of the press for 17th-century Englishmen. It is ...

Is it still yesterday?

Hilary Mantel: Children of the Revolution, 17 April 2003

The Lost King of France 
by Deborah Cadbury.
Fourth Estate, 352 pp., £18.99, October 2002, 1 84115 588 8
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... the place des Victoires claimed: ‘Our women of Les Halles will go to Versailles to dethrone the King and tear his eyes out.’ A month later, when the King wanted to move palaces, he would not go through Paris, but had a path cut through the Bois de Boulogne, which was known afterwards as ‘the Riot Road’. It would be ...

Mighty Causes

Mark Kishlansky: The English Civil Wars, 11 June 2009

The English Civil Wars 1640-60 
by Blair Worden.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £12.99, January 2009, 978 0 297 84888 2
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... of events in England (Scotland and Ireland receive infrequent asides) from the accession of Charles I to the end of the Stuart dynasty in the early 18th century, but concentrates on the period from 1640 to 1660. These events are called the civil wars – though technically there were no civil wars in England after 1651 – because as a label ‘it is as ...

What Is He Supposed To Do?

David Cannadine, 8 December 1994

The Prince of Wales 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 620 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 316 91016 3
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... and others who hoped, that the Queen might outlive her eldest son, so that he would never become king at all. Such might have been the gloomy midcareer appraisal of His Royal Highness Prince Albert Edward, later (and briefly) King Edward VII. And it is not coincidental that many of the same things are now being said about ...

Aromatic Splinters

John Bayley, 7 September 1995

The Poems of John Dryden: Vol. I, 1649-1681; Vol. II, 1682-1685 
edited by Paul Hammond.
Longman, 551 pp., £75, February 1995, 0 582 49213 0
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... position was itself almost as hazardous as those of the characters in the poem, although King Charles, whose favourite poem was Samuel Butler’s Hudibras, loved nothing more than a pungent pro-Establishment satire, and Dryden was well aware that – colleges on bounteous kings depend, And never rebel was to arts a friend. The friend whose ...

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