Frac­tious king­doms

BBC History Magazine - - TV & Radio -

The Stu­arts & The Stu­arts in Ex­ile DVD (Spirit En­ter­tain­ment, £12.99)

For­get the Tu­dors, Hanove­ri­ans and Wind­sors – the royal dy­nasty that most de­fined Bri­tain was the Stu­arts. That, at least, is the view of Clare Jack­son of the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, as laid out in two BBC se­ries now com­piled for DVD.

Her ar­gu­ment is largely based on the way the fam­ily had to grap­ple, with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess, with the prob­lem of unit­ing peo­ples who saw them­selves as be­long­ing to the dif­fer­ent king­doms of Eng­land, Scot­land and Ire­land. It was a task that be­gan when James VI of Scot­land headed south to be­come James I of Eng­land fol­low­ing the death of El­iz­a­beth I. Whereas James tried to ca­jole his sub­jects into see­ing them­selves as Bri­tish, his son, Charles I, was high­handed in his at­tempts to im­pose po­lit­i­cal and re­li­gious uni­for­mity, help­ing to spark an era of civil wars. Even af­ter the Restora­tion, ten­sions con­tin­ued – in part be­cause the Stu­arts’ own re­li­gious schisms mir­rored those of the na­tions they were try­ing to unite. Jack­son charts a huge sweep of events with aplomb and, in se­ries that have per­haps been rather over­looked, makes you wish we saw more Stu­art his­tory on TV.

Clare Jack­son joins Civil War bat­tle re-en­ac­tors in The Stu­arts, part of a newly com­piled DVD set

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