Britain boasts one of the eight longest-reigning monarchies in the world, and certainly the most famous. In five sessions entitled A History of the British Royal Family: Early Legends to Modern Monarchs, Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger traces a path through the twists and turns of the royals and rebels who have ruled England for nearly a thousand years.
She explores the ways rulers used personality and politics to establish dynasties and leave a lasting mark on their nation’s history. Learn how family feuds, religious battles, and a changing world shaped the faces and functions of the British monarchy. The series surveys how the British Empire was created and ruled, and the changing power of its kings and queens from the Middle Ages to today.
MARCH 26: Legends and Leaders of Early and Medieval England
From King Arthur to William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart, the kings of Early and Medieval England are larger than life. Lloyd-Stanger traces the lives of these commanders and crusaders who shaped England’s early history and examines how three Edwards (I, II, and III) set the stage for power disputes in the centuries to follow.
APRIL 2: Roses, Reformation, and the Renaissance
It’s Team York versus Team Lancaster in the battle for England’s crown. Explore how the English monarchy shifted focus from the battlefields of the Wars of the Roses to the bedchambers of the Tudor dynasty. From Henry IV to Richard III to Henry VIII, the kings of this period demand our attention. But it’s England’s first two crowned Queens, Mary I and Elizabeth I, who really changed everything.
APRIL 9: Divisions and Unions: Civil War & the Creation of Great Britain
Explore the Stuart saga, the impact of the King James Bible, the Great Fire of London, and the execution of a crowned king. Consider how the restoration of the monarchy represented a new way of ruling as England, Scotland, and Wales officially become Great Britain. Examine how the Stuart kings (James I and II and Charles I and II) threw the monarchy into chaos and how the Stuart queens (Mary II and Queen Anne) oversaw its restoration and the creation of Great Britain.
APRIL 16: The Sun Never Sets: Ruling the British Empire
Rule Britannia! Explore the establishment and growth of the British Empire through the years and through the world. The House of Hanover gave us four Kings George and a William, but it was Queen Victoria who defines this portion of British history. Stanger reveals how her attempts to spread British influence sowed the seeds of two world wars.
APRIL 23: Monarchy for Modern Times
Examine the complicated task of creating a modern monarchy. Edward VII and George V kicked off the 20th century in style, but the steady throne was rocked by the scandals of Edward VIII and the struggles of George VI. Lloyd-Stanger discusses the ways abdication, infidelities, and divorce have been overshadowed by weddings, births, and jubilees as Queen Elizabeth II has restored the prestige and popularity of the monarchy today.
5 Sessions: Thursday, March 26 to April 23, 2020
Find more info here.
Shared courtesy of Smithsonian Associates & Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger.