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Thumbs up Kings and Queens of England PART II

Henry II
In this research assignment, I have set out to find out about Henry II, his major achievements, and whether he was a good or a bad ruler. I intended to find information in reference books and on electronic sources including the Internet, and Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM. I found several brief descriptions of his life in Encyclopaedias, but the next stage was in very technical explanations. I had to sift through many textbooks full of information, and only found one Internet site with an adequate amount of information to be included. I did not find as much information from the school library as I planned to originally, and most of the books of the catalogue were either overdue, or missing from the shelf. Most of the books I used as resources were books on all the kings and queens of England from 802 AD to the present. I was originally going to find out about several British Kings but found enough information to focus on Henry II.
The King's Early Life
Henry II was born in Le Mans, France, on March 5th 1133. He was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet and Matilda, who was the granddaughter of William the Conqueror (see appendix A1). He grew up in Anjou, South France and was educated by scholars. However he traveled to England as early as 1142 to defend his mother's claim to the English throne. His mother should have received the crown after Henry I died, but it was decided that Maltilda's cousin Stephen, as a man, should inherit the throne. There was no laws regarding succession, although it was accepted that a relative of the king was an heir to the throne. In 1151 his father died leaving him Normandy and Anjou. In the same year, he married Eleanor Aquitane, ex-wife of Louis VII of France, and nearly doubled the amount of land he owned. Eleanor's marriage to Louis VII had been annulled for a variety of reasons, including the fact that she had failed to produce a male heir to the throne (French law permitted only a male to inherit the throne). Finally, Stephen agreed to give Henry the crown. Henry was crowned in 1154.
Changes to England
Henry's empire was much larger than the mere island named Britain. It extended to cover almost half of France, stretching from the Scottish Border to the Pyrenees in Northern Spain. In such a large kingdom, Henry had to travel energetically and extensively, to fend off invaders (see appendix A2). He defeated the Scots, and later made William the Lion pay homage to his country. He also felt the need to prove himself, as he was a short and thickset man, with bandy legs attributed to endless horse riding. He was described as 'short of body', and his small bustling figure was emphasized by the short cloak he habitually wore which earned him the nickname Curtmantle . He travelled so energetically, in fact, Henry's first major task was to re-establish the kings' authority and justice. He involved his barons in legislation and law-making. Henry set out to destroy all the illegal castles built by barons in the civil war. Generally, the building of castles was a royal prerogative, and many of the barons had taken advantage of the chaos and proved their own power by building castles. Henry II promptly set out to prove his power by having each to these illegal castles dismantled. Henry made many changes to how the government was run. He revitalised the English Exchequer, issuing receipts for tax payments. He kept written accounts on rolled parchment. He replaced incompetent sheriffs, and expanded the royal courts, which brought more funds into his coffers. Henry II, the man of genius-the word is not to strong- was by instinct a lawyer . Church courts became safe havens for criminals, and Henry wanted the trials transferred to royal courts (the only punishment open to church courts was demotion within the church. Slowly, the givers of evidence turned into judges and a unique system of trail by a jury of twelve men considered trustworthy of the job. These replaced the more traditional trials, with hot irons and hand to hand combat.
Thomas Becket
Henry's quarrels with Becket overshadowed many of the achievements of his reign. Thomas Becket was the good friend of King Henry. Both of them were outgoing and ambitious leaders. Becket was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. To discredit claims he was too close to the king, he vehemently opposed the weakening of the church courts. Henry had him thrown into exile in 1664. When he returned in 1170, he was greatly angered and opposed to every idea the king had to offer. Exasperated, Henry publicly announced a half-hearted desire to be rid of Becket, announcing the famous words, 'Why will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?'. Four ambitious knights took Becket and murdered him in his own Cathedral (see appendix A3). It is unclear whether Henry really wanted Becket killed or was merely being sarcastic about the matter. Henry was much critisised for the murder, however his realm was probably better off without the contentious Becket .
Henry's Sons
he major threat for Henry came from within his family. Henry's sons were never satisfied with the way he divided up his land when he died. His sons rebelled against him several times. Prince Henry wanted more than just a royal title. He was crowned in 1170 while Henry II was still king. However, he was given no power at all by his father. They were referred to as the 'old' and the 'new' king . In 1173, Young Henry rebelled, backed by his mother and her former husband, Louis VII. The rebellion was not particularly successful, and a truce was agreed in the autumn of 1173 that the young king should inherit just over half of Henry II's land. He divided the rest of the land between Richard and Geoffrey, two other sons. Henry thought this would stop the quarreling between them, but he forgot to include John (Henry's youngest son) in the will. The young Henry died suddenly in 1183 and again the old Henry had to redistribute his inheritances. In 1186 while fighting the Angevins, Richard told his father that he was going to marry Princess Alice of France, and would like to be recognised as an heir to the throne. Henry would not accept this, which started a bitter family quarrel. Henry did not surrender for fifteen years, until his last son, John- whom he had trusted- left him and joined the French. Henry surrendered, and died, very humiliated, in Chinon Castle in Anjou in July 1189, after crying, 'shame, shame on a conquered king'
Henry II (for picture, see appendix A4) was one of the greatest of British rulers ever, making many changes to the way the country was run, so many of which has been the basis of common law to the present day. He did not achieve his full goal of a total reform, but was very successful in over-hauling and clarifying the legal system. In answer to my original focus questions, I have decided he was a very good ruler, and made a significant contribution to the system of law we use today. A contemporary Chronicler summed up the general feeling about the departed Henry II: 'The man, who in his own times was hated by many, is now declared to have been a excellent and beneficial ruler.'

Kings and Queens of England
Edward I Longshanks

Born: 17 June 1239 at the Palace of Westminster

Died: 7 July 1307 at Burgh-on-Sands, Cumberland

Buried: Westminster Abbey, Middlesex

Parents: Henry III and Eleanor of Provence

Siblings: Margaret, Beatrice, Edmund, Richard, John, Katherine, William & Henry

Crowned: 19 August 1274 at Westminster Abbey, Middlesex

Married: (1st) October 1254 at Las Huelgas, Castile; (2nd) 10 September 1299 at Canterbury Cathedral

Spouse: (1st) Eleanor daughter of Ferdinand III, King of of Castile & Leon; (2nd) Margaret daughter of Philip III, King of France

Offspring: (1st) Eleanor, Joan, John, Henry, Julian (alias Katherine), Joan, Alfonso, Margaret, Berengaria, Mary, Alice, Elizabeth, Edward, Beatrice & Blanche; (2nd) Thomas, Edmund & Eleanor; (Illegitimate) supposedly one

Contemporaries: Robert Burnell (Chancellor, 1272-1288); Alexander III (King of Scotland, 1249-1286); Robert Bruce; William Wallace; Philip IV (King of France, 1285-1314); Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
Edward I, nicknamed "Longshanks" due to his great height and stature, was perhaps the most successful of the medieval monarchs. The first twenty years of his reign marked a high point of cooperation between crown and community. In these years, Edward made great strides in reforming government, consolidating territory, and defining foreign policy. He possessed the strength his father lacked and reasserted royal prerogative. Edward fathered many children as well: sixteen by Eleanor of Castille before her death in 1290, and three more by Margaret.
Edward held to the concept of community, and although at times unscrupulously aggressive, ruled with the general welfare of his subjects in mind. He perceived the crown as judge of the proper course of action for the realm and its chief legislator; royal authority was granted by law and should be fully utilized for the public good, but that same law also granted protection to the king's subjects. A king should rule with the advice and consent of those whose rights were in question. The level of interaction between king and subject allowed Edward considerable leeway in achieving his goals.
Edward I added to the bureaucracy initiated by Henry II to increase his effectiveness as sovereign. He expanded the administration into four principal parts: the Chancery, the Exchequer, the Household, and the Council. The Chancery researched and created legal documents while the Exchequer received and issued money, scrutinized the accounts of local officials, and kept financial records. These two departments operated within the king's authority but independently from his personal rule, prompting Edward to follow the practice of earlier kings in developing the Household, a mobile court of clerks and advisers that traveled with the king. The King's Council was the most vital segment of the four. It consisted of his principal ministers, trusted judges and clerks, a select group of magnates, and also followed the king. The Council dealt with matters of great importance to the realm and acted as a court for cases of national importance.
Edward's forays into the refinement of law and justice had important consequences in decreasing feudal practice. The Statute of Gloucester (1278) curbed expansion of large private holdings and established the principle that all private franchises were delegated by, and subordinate to, the crown. Royal jurisdiction became supreme: the Exchequer developed a court to hear financial disputes, the Court of Common Pleas arose to hear property disputes, and the Court of the King's Bench addressed criminal cases in which the king had a vested interest. Other statutes prohibited vassals from giving their lands to the church, encouraged primogeniture, and established the king as the sole person who could make a man his feudal vassal. In essence, Edward set the stage for land to become an article of commerce.
Edward concentrated on an aggressive foreign policy. A major campaign to control Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Wales began in 1277 and lasted until Llywelyn's death in 1282. Wales was divided into shires, English civil law was introduced, and the region was administered by appointed justices. In the manner of earlier monarchs, Edward constructed many new castles to ensure his conquest. In 1301, the king's eldest son was named Prince of Wales, a title still granted to all first-born male heirs to the crown. Edward found limited success in extending English influence into Ireland: he introduced a Parliament in Dublin and increased commerce in a few coastal towns, but most of the country was controlled by independent barons or Celtic tribal chieftains. He retained English holdings in France through diplomacy, but was drawn into war by the incursions of Philip IV in Gascony. He negotiated a peace with France in 1303 and retained those areas England held before the war.
Edward's involvement in Scotland had far reaching effects. The country had developed a feudal kingdom similar to England in the Lowlands the Celtic tribal culture dispersed to the Highlands. After the death of the Scottish king, Alexander III, Edward negotiated a treaty whereby Margaret, Maid of Norway and legitimate heir to the Scottish crown, would be brought to England to marry his oldest son, the future Edward II. Margaret, however, died in 1290 en route to England, leaving a disputed succession in Scotland; Edward claimed the right to intercede as feudal lord of the Scottish kings through their Anglo-Norman roots. Edward arbitrated between thirteen different claimants and chose John Baliol. Baliol did homage to Edward as his lord, but the Scots resisted Edward's demands for military service. In 1296, Edward invaded Scotland and soundly defeated the Scots under Baliol Baliol was forced to abdicate and the Scottish barons did homage to Edward as their king. William Wallace incited a rebellion in 1297, defeated the English army at Stirling, and harassed England's northern counties. The next year, Edward defeated Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk but encountered continued resistance until Wallace's capture and execution in 1304. Robert Bruce, the grandson of a claimant to the throne in 1290, instigated another revolt in 1306 and would ultimately defeat the army of Edward II at Bannockburn. Edward's campaigns in Scotland were ruthless and aroused in the Scots a hatred of England that would endure for generations.
Edward's efforts to finance his wars in France and Scotland strained his relationship with the nobility by instituting both income and personal property taxes. Meetings of the King's Great Council, now referred to as Parliaments, intermittently included members of the middle class and began curtailing the royal authority. Parliament reaffirmed Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest in 1297, 1299, 1300, and 1301; it was concluded that no tax should be levied without consent of the realm as a whole (as represented by Parliament).
Edward's character found accurate evaluation by Sir Richard Baker, in A Chronicle of the Kings of England: He had in him the two wisdoms, not often found in any, single; both together, seldom or never: an ability of judgement in himself, and a readiness to hear the judgement of others. He was not easily provoked into passion, but once in passion, not easily appeased, as was seen by his dealing with the Scots; towards whom he showed at first patience, and at last severity. If he be censured for his many taxations, he may be justified by his well bestowing them; for never prince laid out his money to more honour of himself, or good of his kingdom."

Kings and Queens of Great Britain
Henry VIII

Henry VIII, born in 1491, was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The significance of Henry's reign is, at times, overshadowed by his six marriages: dispensing with these forthwith enables a deeper search into the major themes of the reign. He married Catherine of Aragon (widow of his brother, Arthur) in 1509, divorcing her in 1533; the union produced one daughter, Mary. Henry married the pregnant Anne Boleyn in 1533; she gave him another daughter, Elizabeth, but was executed for infidelity (a treasonous charge in the king's consort) in May 1536. He married Jane Seymour by the end of the same month, who died giving birth to Henry's lone male heir, Edward, in October 1536. Early in 1540, Henry arranged a marriage with Anne of Cleves, after viewing Hans Holbein's beautiful portrait of the German princess. In person, alas, Henry found her homely and the marriage was never consummated. In July 1540, he married the adulterous Catherine Howard - she was executed for infidelity in March 1542. Catherine Parr became his wife in 1543, providing for the needs of both Henry and his children until his death in 1547.
The court life initiated by his father evolved into a cornerstone of Tudor government in the reign of Henry VIII. After his father's staunch, stolid rule, the energetic, youthful and handsome king avoided governing in person, much preferring to journey the countryside hunting and reviewing his subjects. Matters of state were left in the hands of others, most notably Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York. Cardinal Wolsey virtually ruled England until his failure to secure the papal annulment that Henry needed to marry Anne Boleyn in 1533. Wolsey was quite capable as Lord Chancellor, but his own interests were served more than that of the king: as powerful as he was, he still was subject to Henry's favor - losing Henry's confidence proved to be his downfall. The early part of Henry's reign, however, saw the young king invade France, defeat Scottish forces at the Battle of Foldden Field (in which James IV of Scotland was slain), and write a treatise denouncing Martin Luther's Reformist ideals, for which the pope awarded Henry the title "Defender of the Faith".
The 1530's witnessed Henry's growing involvement in government, and a series of events which greatly altered England, as well as the whole of Western Christendom: the separation of the Church of England from Roman Catholicism. The separation was actually a by-product of Henry's obsession with producing a male heir; Catherine of Aragon failed to produce a male and the need to maintain dynastic legitimacy forced Henry to seek an annulment from the pope in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Wolsey tried repeatedly to secure a legal annulment from Pope Clement VII, but Clement was beholden to the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and nephew of Catherine. Henry summoned the Reformation Parliament in 1529, which passed 137 statutes in seven years and exercised an influence in political and ecclesiastic affairs which was unknown to feudal parliaments. Religious reform movements had already taken hold in England, but on a small scale: the Lollards had been in existence since the mid-fourteenth century and the ideas of Luther and Zwingli circulated within intellectual groups, but continental Protestantism had yet to find favor with the English people. The break from Rome was accomplished through law, not social outcry; Henry, as Supreme Head of the Church of England, acknowledged this by slight alterations in worship ritual instead of a wholesale reworking of religious dogma. England moved into an era of "conformity of mind" with the new royal supremacy (much akin to the absolutism of France's Louis XIV): by 1536, all ecclesiastical and government officials were required to publicly approve of the break with Rome and take an oath of loyalty. The king moved away from the medieval idea of ruler as chief lawmaker and overseer of civil behavior, to the modern idea of ruler as the ideological icon of the state.
The remainder of Henry's reign was anticlimactic. Anne Boleyn lasted only three years before her execution; she was replaced by Jane Seymour, who laid Henry's dynastic problems to rest with the birth of Edward VI. Fragmented noble factions involved in the Wars of the Roses found themselves reduced to vying for the king's favor in court. Reformist factions won the king's confidence and vastly benefiting from Henry's dissolution of the monasteries, as monastic lands and revenues went either to the crown or the nobility. The royal staff continued the rise in status that began under Henry VII, eventually to rival the power of the nobility. Two men, in particular, were prominent figures through the latter stages of Henry's reign: Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer. Cromwell, an efficient administrator, succeeded Wolsey as Lord Chancellor, creating new governmental departments for the varying types of revenue and establishing parish priest's duty of recording births, baptisms, marriages and deaths. Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, dealt with and guided changes in ecclesiastical policy and oversaw the dissolution of the monasteries.
Henry VIII built upon the innovations instituted by his father. The break with Rome, coupled with an increase in governmental bureaucracy, led to the royal supremacy that would last until the execution of Charles I and the establishment of the Commonwealth one hundred years after Henry's death. Henry was beloved by his subjects, facing only one major insurrection, the Pilgrimage of Grace, enacted by the northernmost counties in retaliation to the break with Rome and the poor economic state of the region.

Kings and Queens of Great Britain
Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was born in 1533 to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Although she entertained many marriage proposals and flirted incessantly, she never married or had children. Elizabeth, the last of the Tudors, died at seventy years of age after a very successful forty-four year reign.
Elizabeth inherited a tattered realm: dissension between Catholics and Protestants tore at the very foundation of society; the royal treasury had been bled dry by Mary and her advisors, Mary's loss of Calais left England with no continental possessions for the first time since the arrival of the Normans in 1066 and many (mainly Catholics) doubted Elizabeth's claim to the throne. Continental affairs added to the problems - France had a strong footland in Scotland, and Spain, the strongest western nation at the time, posed a threat to the security of the realm. Elizabeth proved most calm and calculating (even though she had a horrendous temper) in her political acumen, employing capable and distinguished men to carrying out royal prerogative.
Her first order of business was to eliminate religious unrest. Elizabeth lacked the fanaticism of her siblings, Edward VI favored Protestant radicalism, Mary I, conservative Catholicism, which enabled her to devise a compromise that,basically, reinstated Henrician reforms. She was, however, compelled to take a stronger Protestant stance for two reasons: the machinations of Mary Queen of Scots and persecution of continental Protestants by the two strongholds of Orthodox Catholicism, Spain and France. The situation with Mary Queen of Scots was most vexing to Elizabeth. Mary, in Elizabeth's custody beginning in 1568 (for her own protection from radical Protestants and disgruntled Scots), gained the loyalty of Catholic factions and instituted several-failed assassination/overthrow plots against her cousin, Elizabeth. After irrefutable evidence of Mary's involvement in such plots came to light, Elizabeth sadly succumbed to the pressure from her advisors and had the Scottish princess executed in 1587
The persecution of continental Protestants forced Elizabeth into war, a situation which she desperately tried to avoid. She sent an army to aid French Huguenots (Calvinists who had settled in France) after a 1572 massacre wherein over three thousand Huguenots lost their lives. She sent further assistance to Protestant factions on the continent and in Scotland following the emergence of radical Catholic groups and assisted Belgium in their bid to gain independence from Spain. The situation came to head after Elizabeth rejected a marriage proposal from Philip II of Spain; the indignant Spanish King, incensed by English piracy and forays in New World exploration, sent his much-feared Armada to raid England. However, the English won the naval battle handily, due as much to bad weather as to English naval prowess. England emerged as the world's strongest naval power, setting the stage for later English imperial designs.
Elizabeth was a master of political science. She inherited her father's supremacist view of the monarchy, but showed great wisdom by refusing to directly antagonize Parliament. She acquired undying devotion from her advisement council, who were constantly perplexed by her habit of waiting to the last minute to make decisions. She used the varying factions (instead of being used by them, as were her siblings), playing one off another until the exhausted combatants came to her for resolution of their grievances. Few English monarchs enjoyed such political power, while still maintaining the devotion of the whole of English society.
Elizabeth's reign was during one of the more constructive periods in English history. Literature bloomed through the works of Spenser, Marlowe and Shakespeare. Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh were instrumental in expanding English influence in the New World. Elizabeth's religious compromise laid many fears to rest. Fashion and education came to the fore because of Elizabeth's penchant for knowledge, courtly behavior and extravagant dress. Good Queen Bess, as she came to called, maintained a regal air until the day she died; a quote, from a letter by Paul Hentzen, reveals the aging queen's regal nature: "Next came the Queen in the sixty-fifth year of her age, as we were told, very majestic; her face oblong, fair, but wrinkled; her eyes small yet black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked; her lips narrow... she had in her ear two pearls, with very rich drops... her air was stately; her manner of speaking mild and obliging." This regal figure surely had her faults, but the last Tudor excelled at rising to challenges and emerging victorious.

The Monarchy in Great Britain
Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell, born in Huntingdon in 1599, was a strict Puritan with a Cambridge education when he went to London to represent his family in Parliament. Clothed conservatively , he possessed a Puritan fervor and a commanding voice, he quickly made a name for himself by serving in both the Short Parliament (April 1640) and the Long Parliament (August 1640 through April 1660). Charles I, pushing his finances to bankruptcy and trying to force a new prayer book on Scotland, was badly beaten by the Scots, who demanded 850 per day from the English until the two sides reached agreement. Charles had no choice but to summon Parliament.
The Long Parliament, taking an aggressive stance, steadfastly refused to authorize any funding until Charles was brought to heel. The Triennial Act of 1641 assured the summoning of Parliament at least every three years, a formidable challenge to royal prerogative. The Tudor institutions of fiscal feudalism (manipulating antiquated feudal fealty laws to extract money), the Court of the Star Chamber and the Court of High Commission were declared illegal by Act of Parliament later in 1641. A new era of leadership from the House of Commons (backed by middle class merchants, tradesmen and Puritans) had commenced. Parliament resented the insincerity with which Charles settled with both them and the Scots, and despised his links with Catholicism.
1642 was a banner year for Parliament. They stripped Charles of the last vestiges of prerogative by abolishing episcopacy, placed the army and navy directly under parliamentary supervision and declared this bill become law even if the king refused his signature. Charles entered the House of Commons (the first king to do so), intent on arresting John Pym, the leader of Parliament and four others, but the five conspirators had already fled, making the king appear inept. Charles traveled north to recruit an army and raised his standard against the forces of Parliaments (Roundheads) at Nottingham on August 22, 1642. England was again embroiled in civil war.
Cromwell added sixty horses to the Roundhead cause when war broke out. In the 1642 Battle at Edge Hill, the Roundheads were defeated by the superior Royalist (Cavalier) cavalry, prompting Cromwell to build a trained cavalry. Cromwell proved most capable as a military leader. By the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, Cromwell's New Model Army had routed Cavalier forces and Cromwell earned the nickname "Ironsides" in the process. Fighting lasted until July 1645 at the final Cavalier defeat at Naseby. Within a year, Charles surrendered to the Scots, who turned him over to Parliament. By 1646, England was ruled solely by Parliament, although the king was not executed until 1649.
English society splintered into many factions: Levellers (intent on eradicating economic castes), Puritans, Episcopalians, remnants of the Cavaliers and other religious and political radicals argued over the fate of the realm. The sole source of authority rest with the army, who moved quickly to end the debates. In November 1648, the Long Parliament was reduced to a "Rump" Parliament by the forced removal of 110 members of Parliament by Cromwell's army, with another 160 members refusing to take their seats in opposition to the action. The remainder, barely enough for a quorum, embarked on an expedition of constitutional change. The Rump dismantled the machinery of government, most of that, remained loyal to the king, abolishing not only the monarchy, but also the Privy Council, Courts of Exchequer and Admiralty and even the House of Lords. England was ruled by an executive Council of State and the Rump Parliament, with various subcommittees dealing with day-to-day affairs. Of great importance was the administration in the shires and parishes: the machinery administering such governments was left intact; ingrained habits of ruling and obeying harkened back to monarchy.
With the death of the ancient constitution and Parliament in control, attention was turned to crushing rebellions in the realm, as well as in Ireland and Scotland. Cromwell forced submission from the nobility, muzzled the press and defeated Leveller rebels in Burford. Annihilating the more radical elements of revolution resulted in political conservatism , which eventually led to the restoration of the monarchy. Cromwell's army slaughtered over forty percent of the indigenous Irishmen, who clung unyieldingly to Catholicism and loyalist sentiments; the remaining Irishmen were forcibly transported to County Connaught with the Act of Settlement in 1653. Scottish Presbyterians fought for a Stuart restoration, in the person of Charles II, but were handily defeated, ending the last remnants of civil war. The army then turned its attention to internal matters.
The Rump devolved into a petty, self-perpetuating and unbending oligarchy, which lost credibility in the eyes of the army. Cromwell ended the Rump Parliament with great indignity on April 21, 1653, ordering the house cleared at the point of a sword. The army called for a new Parliament of Puritan saints, who proved as inept as the Rump. By 1655, Cromwell dissolved his new Parliament, choosing to rule alone (much like Charles I had done in 1629). The cost of keeping a standard army of 35,000 proved financially incompatible with Cromwell's monetarily strapped government. Two wars with the Dutch concerning trade abroad added to Cromwell's financial burdens.
The military's solution was to form yet another version of Parliament. A House of Peers was created, packed with Cromwell's supporters and with true veto power, but the Commons proved most antagonistic towards Cromwell. The monarchy was restored in all but name; Cromwell went from the title of Lord General of the Army to that of Lord Protector of the Realm (the title of king was suggested, but wisely rejected by Cromwell when a furor arose in the military ranks). The Lord Protector died on September 3, 1658, naming his son Richard as successor. With Cromwell's death, the Commonwealth floundered and the monarchy was restored only two years later.
The failure of Cromwell and the Commonwealth was founded upon Cromwell being caught between opposing forces. His attempts to placate the army, the nobility, Puritans and Parliament resulted in the alienation of each group. Leaving the political machinery of the parishes and shires untouched under the new constitution was the height of inconsistency; Cromwell, the army and Parliament were unable to make a clear separation from the ancient constitution and traditional customs of loyalty and obedience to monarchy. Lacey Baldwin Smith cast an astute judgment concerning the aims of the Commonwealth: "When Commons was purged out of existence by a military force of its own creation, the country learned a profound, if bitter, Lesson: Parliament could no more exist without the crown than the crown without Parliament. The ancient constitution had never been King and Parliament but King in Parliament; when one element of that mystical nion was destroyed, the other ultimately perished."

Richard Cromwell
Richard was the third son of the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. Born on the 4th October 1626, he served in the Parliamentary Army in his younger days, being admitted as a member of Lincoln's Inn in 1647. Upon his marriage to Dorothy Major, the daughter of a country squire from Hursley in Hampshire, he turned to the life of a gentleman farmer, representing Hampshire (1654) and then Cambridge University in Parliament (Nov. 1655 & 1656).
Richard was not brought forward into public life until the deaths of his elder brothers and the establishment of the second Protectorate in 1657. He succeeded his father as Chancellor of Oxford University and was made a member of the Council of State. He also received his own regiment and a seat in the House of Lords. Eventually, on his deathbed, Cromwell Senior nominated Richard as his successor.
On 3rd September 1658, Richard Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector of the Realm. His appointment, however, was resented by the military officers on the council who showed open animosity towards their civil counterparts. In order to raise money and settle such differences, Richard was forced to dissolve the Protectorate and reinstate the Rump Parliament in January 1659.
Anarchy ensued: bitter arguments between the men of substance and the military resulted in a break-away Army Council which took Richard into their power and forced him to dissolve the Rump in May. The Army Council then agreed with a reassembled Long Parliament on the Lord Protector's dismissal. Richard, passive throughout, submitted to Parliament's decision on 25th May 1659.
Many of the nobility, middle class tradesmen and army were disgusted with rule by force, while the generals found it impossible to unite behind a single policy. General Monck then became the chief mover behind a push to restore the monarchy. He marched his troops to London in support of the Rump, breaking the stalemate and reinstating the Rump for a third time. Monck entered London in February 1660 and opened the doors of Parliament in the following April to those members that were barred ten years earlier. The House of Commons set up a monarchistic Council of State authorized to invite Charles II to take the crown. The Long Parliament finally dissolved itself following these actions and a Stuart once again sat on the throne.
Richard found it wise to leave England's shores in the Summer of 1660. He lived in France under the name of John Clarke for many years, before moving on Spain, Italy or possibly Switzerland. He was only finally allowed to return home, without recriminations in 1680. He paid ten shillings a week for lodgings at the house of one Sergeant Pengelly at Cheshunt near his Hertfordshire estate. It is said that, in old age dressed in his poor farmer's clothes, he once saw Queen Anne sitting on the very throne that he himself had once graced. No-one suspected the old farmer of ever having occupied such a high position. He died on 12th July 1712 at the age of eighty-five and was buried in the chancel of Hursley Parish Church

The Kings and Queens of Great Britain
Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria remains a remarkable figure in history not only as the longest reigning British monarch but as figurehead of a vast empire and inspiration for a highly complex culture
Victoria, the daughter of the Duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, was born in 1819. She inherited the throne of Great Britain at the age of eighteen, upon the death of her uncle William IV in 1837, and reigned until 1901, bestowing her name upon her age. She married her mother's nephew, Albert (1819-1861), prince of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, in 1840, and until his death he remained the focal point of her life (she bore him nine children). Albert replaced Lord Melbourne, the Whig Prime Minister who had served her as her first personal and political tutor and instructor, as Victoria's chief advisor. Albert was moralistic, conscientious and progressive, if rather priggish, sanctimonious, and intellectually shallow, and with Victoria initiated various reforms and innovations - he organized the Great Exhibition of 1851, for example - which were responsible for a great deal of the popularity later enjoyed by the British monarchy..
After Albert's death in 1861 a desolate Victoria remained in self-imposed seclusion for ten years. Her genuine but obsessive mourning, which would occupy her for the rest of her life, played an important role in the evolution of what would become the Victorian mentality. Thereafter she lived at Windsor or Balmoral, travelling abroad once a year, but making few public appearances in Britain itself. Although she maintained a careful policy of official political neutrality, she did not get on at all well with Gladstone. Eventually, however, she succumbed to the flattery of Disraeli, and permitted him (in an act which was both symbolic and theatrical) to have her crowned Empress of India in 1876. She tended as a rule to take an active dislike of British politicians who criticized the conduct of the conservative regimes of Europe, many of which were, after all, run by her relatives. By 1870 her popularity was at its lowest ebb (at the time the monarchy cost the nation Ł400,000 per annum, and many wondered whether the largely symbolic institution was worth the expense), but it increased steadily thereafter until her death. Her golden jubilee in 1887 was a grand national celebration, as was her diamond jubilee in 1897 (by then, employing the imperial "we," she had long been Kipling's "Widow of Windsor," mother of the Empire). She died, a venerable old lady, at Osborne on January 22, 1901, having reigned for sixty-four years.
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