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The Kings and Queens of England

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King Henry married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, thereby uniting the Lancastrian and York lineages. After King Harold was killed at the Battle of Hastings, the Witan elected Edgar Ætheling as king, but by then the Normans controlled the country and Edgar never ruled. The tree below displays linage from Celtic Britain before the Roman invasion to the Norman Conquest of 1066: the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the coming of Christianity and the unification of England. Edmund Tudor and his siblings were either illegitimate, or the product of a secret marriage, and owed their fortunes to the goodwill of their legitimate half-brother King Henry VI. Henry I left no legitimate male heirs, his son William Adelin having died in the White Ship disaster of 1120.

The title "King of the English" or Rex Anglorum in Latin, was first used to describe Æthelstan in one of his charters in 928. All the same, for every ten people cheering and waving flags there is always one like myself sniggering behind their hand and this I take as my role in writing this review. This is an excellent book with which start learning about the British monarchy, particularly the very early Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman Kings. The acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate sovereign states, with separate legislatures but with the same monarch) into the Kingdom of Great Britain.was forced to go into exile in mid-1013, following Danish attacks, but was invited back following Sweyn Forkbeard's death in 1014. It isn't quite as in-depth as a Wikipedia article, but it has beautiful illustrations and fantastic quotes alongside of a useful (if not sparse) timeline of events and major highlights of each monarch's reign.

All the same, hard to imagine a tabloid being able to eke out an existence without the constant stream of stories this particularly dysfunctional family provides. But after watching The King’s Speech and being also in the midst of working my way through Shakespeare's historical plays (to which this makes an excellent companion), I decided to dive in and read it cover to cover. Henry II’s infidelities so enraged his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, that she incited their sons into civil war just to wind him up. Perhaps his most ridiculous moment came in 1205 when, having lost most of his French lands, he organised a massive expedition to try to get them back which, at the 11th hour, the entire English aristocracy refused to join. Almost always a war going on, and some kings felt obliged to lead their armies or at least make that illusion.The origins of kingship in England can be traced to the second century BC when Celtic and Belgic tribesmen, emigrated from continental Europe and settled in Britain displacing or absorbing the aboriginal inhabitants. Four days after his death on 6 July 1553, Jane was proclaimed queen—the first of three Tudor women to be proclaimed queen regnant. During the reign of his predecessor, his elder brother Richard the Lionheart, he tried to steal the throne by pretending Richard was dead.

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