Amidst the turbulence and invasions, upheaval and dissent that characterise British history, one thing has remained remarkably stable. Although there are other monarchies, Britain’s Crown stands out due to the continuity of its traditions, and its ability to adapt.
Of all the world’s countries, forty-two are still monarchies, but the British monarchy remains the most famous, perhaps even in those countries with kings and queens of their own. As a legacy of empire, the British monarch is head of state to fourteen countries beyond the United Kingdom, from Australia, New Zealand and Canada to a string of island states across the Caribbean and the Pacific.
In this sprightly commentary on the Crown’s remarkable 1,800-year-long story and enduring power, Stephen Bates provides a dazzling insight into royal custom and ritual, whilst depicting the individuals behind the myth with compassion and wit. Delving equally into personality and policy, this book reveals the historical power struggles and concessions that have shaped the monarchy today. As Britain mourns the end of the seventy-year reign of Elizabeth II, questions about the Crown, its character and survival will inevitably recur. What might the future hold for the world’s best-known monarchy?