Archive for July, 2007

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Check out a Tudor family tree here.

Hello, this is Michael Anthony, and you’re listening to British History 101, brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of spoken-word entertainment. Get a FREE audiobook of your choice when you sign up today. Logon to Audible.com/British101 for details.

First off tonight, I’d like to apologize for not getting an episode out for on the Monday I said I would in the previous episode. There have been a few holdups, and I hate to not deliver on a promise. So again, I apologize.

Tonight, we will look at a topic that I’m willing to bet many people don’t think of often. To start our discussion off, I’ll ask a question that we’ll answer with this episode: What exactly makes the United Kingdom so united? To begin with, we’ll have to delve into a bit of genealogy. Bear with me! I know this type of material can get confusing and a bit tedious, but I’ve learned that if you try to focus on just the people we discuss – forgetting the rest of their families – it slowly comes together. Here we go!

One of the daughters of King Henry VII of England, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, was Margaret. This girl was married in 1503 to James IV, the King of Scotland, thus merging the Stuart and Tudor dynastic lines. For the purpose of our discussion, this becomes relevant in 1513, when Henry VIII went to war with France. At this, France invoked Auld Alliance agreement with Scotland, originally signed in 1295. As the Scottish had made this agreement with the French to back them against the English, King James invaded England from his northern kingdom. Not only was he defeated; James died during this invasion at the Battle of Flodden. Margaret’s side of the Tudor family was afterwards removed from the line of succession – even though she was the eldest daughter of Henry VII, if Henry VIII died without an heir, she would not be considered for the English throne.

Henry VIII may have been disappointed at what happened after the reign of his daughter Elizabeth, who we now know as Elizabeth I. As Elizabeth died in 1603 as the last Tudor with no heirs, the great-grandson of James IV and Margaret Tudor was the only real choice for the throne. This man was James VI, King of Scotland. Although his mother was a Tudor, Henry VIII may have been mollified a bit by the fact that James was from the line of Stuart kings.

For reference, I’ve included a link to a Tudor family tree on the blog; you can check it out and really see all the family connections I’m talking about.

When you stop by the British History 101 blog, I’d invite you to head over to Audible.com, the leading provider of spoken-word entertainment. They’ve got over 35,000 titles to choose from, and they can be played back anywhere that you listen to mp3s – just like British History 101. During the summer, I work at a factory in relative seclusion without much opportunity for conversation; listening to my iPod really made the day fly by, and once I found out about Audible I was able to listen to any book they had while I worked – which, for a person like me who wants to read more but can’t find the time, was a great opportunity. Logon to Audible.com/British101 for a FREE audiobook download of your choice when you sign up today. Again, visit Audible.com/British101 to get started on reading all those books you never find the time for!

Now then. As James VI was the only candidate up for being king, he ascended to the throne as James VI of Scotland and I of England. It was soon seen that James had ambitions to unite the two crowns he now held. He made his intentions clear when he spoke to Parliament in 1603:

“What God hath conjoined let no man separate. I am the husband and the whole isle is my lawful wife; I am the head and it is my body; I am the shepherd and it is my flock. I hope therefore that no man will think that I, a Christian King under the Gospel, should be a polygamist and husband to two wives; that I being the head should have a divided or monstrous body or that being the shepherd to so fair a flock should have my flock parted in two.” Thus, James wanted to be the king not of England and Scotland, but of a new empire – Great Britain. Previously, Scotland and England had been two completely different nations, each with their own monarchies and parliaments. However, anyone who’s seen the film Braveheart knows that the English had desired Scottish wealth for some time – William the Conqueror claimed he was lord of Scotland, Henry II forced William I of Scotland to acknowledge him as a superior ruler, and Edward I of England tried to choose a Scottish king himself. Thus, you can imagine the sentiment among the populations of both nations. Although James was welcomed by the English people at first, the honeymoon was soon over. Scotland as well had less than enthusiastic feelings about being ruled by the same man who ruled England. The parliaments of both nations agreed to appoint a commission to consider combining the two legislative bodies, but little came of it, and England and Scotland remained separate throughout several attempts to combine the two. In our discussion of the Order of the Thistle, we talked about James VII and the common date of 1687 as the founding year of that order – we can now safely say that many of his appointments to the Order were related to the efforts to combine England and Scotland. There are those people whose opinions can easily be swayed by the award of a knighthood! The most visible symbol of James’ desires was the first Union Flag, consisting of the English flag (the red cross of St. George) superimposed on top of the Scottish flag (the white saltire of St. Andrew on a blue background).

Scotland and England shared a monarch for over a century. However, it was not until the reign of Queen Anne that the two nations finally became one. The Acts of Union 1707 formally combined the parliaments of both nations – an event that would lead to trouble by the very nature of each constituent country’s parliament, as Scotland’s was unicameral while England’s was bicameral. While England promised to bring Scotland out of its recent financial troubles, it is interesting to see how money was handled. Twenty thousand pounds was used by the English to gain supporters in Scotland – in effect, Scottish legislators were bribed to go along with the offer. The poet Robert Burns would later say “We were bought and sold for English gold.” This sad sentiment was echoed by the tune ringing from the bells of St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on the day the treaty was signed – Why Should I Be So Sad on My Wedding Day? Henceforth, Scotland would be ruled from London.

In 1999, Scotland witnessed an extraordinary event in its history – a Scottish Parliament was reestablished, holding devolved powers of government from Westminster. While not as powerful as that assembly which existed before 1707, the beginning of the new parliament marked an important milestone in political history for Scotland.

That’s all for this episode of British History 101. A transcript of this and previous episodes of the podcast is available at BritishHistory101.com. I apologize for some difficulties I’ve been having with the blog lately; for some reason, I can’t post audio files to the site, so for now you’ll find text only, until I can get the problem resolved. Be sure to place yourself on the Platial map while you’re there. Send questions, comments, rants, and raves to BritishHistory101@gmail.com. Our music tonight is “Straspey and Reels in G Minor,” performed by O Fickle Fortune on Magnatune’s album A Celebration of Robert Burns. Magnatune is an independent online record label that allows each of its artists to retain full rights to their work. Visit Magnatune.com for great music at low prices and check out the many wonderful artists hosted there. Until we meet again, thanks for listening, and have a great evening.


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Good evening, this is Michael Anthony, and you’re listening to British History 101.
With this episode of the show, we’ll bring to a close our three part series on the three highest chivalric orders of the British Isles. We’ve spoken of England’s Order of the Garter, Scotland’s Order of the Thistle, and tonight we’ll head west to the Emerald Isle and discuss the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick, the order of knights associated with Ireland. While I’m sure some of you have already recalled that Ireland itself, as the Irish Free State, separated itself from the United Kingdom in 1922, I assure you tonight’s topic is still quite relevant. Let’s on to it.
His Majesty George III issued a Royal Warrant on 5 February 1783 the Lord Lieutenant, Earl Temple, authorizing the issue of letters patent instituting the Order. The Statutes of the Order mandated a limit of 15 members in addition to the sovereign, each of whom had to be male, already be knights to begin with, and have three generations of noblesse on both their father and mother’s side, meaning that each of those generations had to have held coats of arms. This last requirement would have classified each man as a gentleman, and no provision was (or ever has been) made for women to join the Order. The Order was instituted to reward those who supported the government of the day in Ireland. Ireland had been given a substantial amount of autonomy in 1782, and the Order was a way of currying support in the Irish Parliament on the part of the monarchy. The reigning British monarch was the Sovereign of the Order, and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland served as the Order’s Grand Master. According to the original statutes of the Order, vacancies in the Order would be filled by the Sovereign with the nomination of new members by existing knights. Each knight was to nominate nine candidates – three of the rank of earl or higher, three that were barons or higher, and three with the rank knight or higher. The Order of St. Patrick differed from the Garter and Thistle in that only peers and princes were ever appointed to be knights of the Order.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of the Order, and the Order’s motto is “Quis separabit?” or “Who will separate us?” The Chapel of the Order was originally St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Knights are entitled to use the letters “KP” after their names in the list of titles following, and those letters come before all others except for the abbreviations for Baronet, Victoria Cross, George Cross, Order of the Garter, and Order of the Thistle. Looking at this and the other two Orders we’ve already discussed, a clear precedence is established – the peerage rank comes first, followed by the two Cross awards, and then the appropriate Orders follow. The Order of the Garter is given first place, followed by the Thistle, and the Order of St. Patrick is third in line.
In describing the regalia and accoutrements of the Order, we start with the badge of the Order. The badge is made of gold with a shamrock bearing three crowns, on top of a cross of St. Patrick (that being a red saltire on a white background) and surrounded by a blue circle with the Order’s motto and 1783 in Roman numerals. From the badge, we move to the star of the Order. The star has eight points, the four cardinal points being longer than those in between. In the middle of the star is the same design as the badge. The broad riband of the Order is a sky blue sash worn from the right shoulder to the left hip. For more formal occasions, three more pieces are added. The mantle of the Order is a sky blue hooded robe lined with white silk, to which is attached the star of the Order on the left breast. A hat, originally white silk with blue lining but later black velvet, is also worn, bearing three falls of feathers,  one each of red, white, and blue. Lastly, the collar of the Order is worn, consisting of Tudor roses and harps joined with knots. In the middle of the collar is the badge of the Order, suspended from a harp, which is in turn suspended from a crown.
There are several key dates to keep in mind when discussing the Order of St. Patrick. One is 1833, when William IV officially changed the maximum number of knights from 15 to 22. The next year is 1871, when the Church of Ireland was dissolved. Before this year, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin had served as the Order’s official chapel; however, the Order had no official home until 1881, when the Order was moved to the Great Hall of Dublin Castle. Because of this association with the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick, the Great Hall had its name changed to St. Patrick’s Hall, where the President of Ireland is no w inaugurated. 1907 saw scandal touch the Order, as in that year the Irish Crown Jewels, the insignia of the Order, were stolen from Dublin Castle. To this day, their whereabouts are unknown. The next date to consider is 1922, and this is the most important year to remember in the history of the Order, for this is when the Irish Free State separated from the United Kingdom.
The office of lord lieutenant, the monarch’s representative in Ireland, was abolished in 192; this eliminated one part of the Order, along with several other officer positions. 1922 effectively ended appointments to the Order, with only 3 happening since then. All three were members of the royal family; in 1927, the Prince of Wales (who would later become Edward VIII) was appointed, followed in 1934 by his brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and in 1936 by Albert, Duke of York. Albert’s appointment was the very last made to the Order of St. Patrick, and the last Knight of the Order, the Duke of Gloucester, died in 1974. Thus, Elizabeth II and the Ulster King of Arms are currently the only members of the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick. This is important to note, as it shows that the Order is, in fact, still in existence. No knights have been appointed since 1936, but it has not officially been disbanded. It is interesting to note, however, that the website of the monarchy lists the Order as discontinued since 1922.
The revival of the Order of St. Patrick has been discussed several times since its 1922 discontinuation; nothing has really ever come of it. As a matter of fact, Article 40.2 of the Constitution of Ireland provides that “Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State; No title of nobility or of honour shall be accepted by any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government.” In other words, don’t count on seeing any appointments any time soon.
That concludes our look at the orders of chivalry associated with Ireland, Scotland, and England. While there are many more orders which will certainly be covered in future episodes, I felt these were particularly interesting and have enjoyed the series they became.
A transcript of this and previous episodes of this podcast can be found at BritishHistory101.com. Send questions, comments, rants, and raves to BritishHistory101@gmail.com. Our music tonight is “Lumps of Pudding Variations” performed by O Fickle Fortune and available on Magnatune.com. Magnatune is an independent online record label that equally shares all revenue from album sales with their hand-selected artists while allowing them to retain full rights to their works. Visit magnatune.com for great music at low prices and support the many wonderful artists hosted there. As always, thanks for learning with me tonight, and stay tuned for Monday’s episode of British History 101.

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