Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.
Edward VII: 1901 - 1910. After 60 years as heir apparent, Bertie, eldest son of Victoria and Albert, became king. We will explore his strict upbringing and his struggles to adhere to his parents’ high moral standards. As a young prince, he gained a reputation as a philanderer who enjoyed all the pleasures of a rich social life. Yet as king, Bertie gave the monarchy a more modern image, rejecting many of the conservative prejudices often held by his contemporaries.
George V: 1910 - 1936. George unexpectedly became heir after the death of his older brother Albert and in 1910 he inherited the throne. His reign faced many challenges: the 1910 constitutional crisis of the House of Lords, the First World War, rebellion in Ireland, the changing landscape of the British Empire, as well as the rise of Labour and a severe economic crisis. Across Europe monarchies tumbled, yet under George V the British monarchy survived.
Edward VIII: January 1936 - December 1936. We will investigate the controversial figure of Edward VIII who, as Prince of Wales, was a popular royal, undertaking tours abroad and visiting areas of Britain affected by the economic depression. Despite his wide appeal, by the time he became king, questions were being asked about his suitability to rule. Ultimately this led to the Abdication Crisis, as Edward refused to give up the woman he loved, Wallace Simpson.
George VI: 1936 - 1952. As a young man, George endured painful shyness and a stammer. Forced unexpectedly into the limelight in 1936, George applied a strong sense of duty to his role, helped by his marriage to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. In wartime, they symbolised the nation’s determination to resist the Nazis. Post-war he oversaw the break-up of the British Empire and the transition to the Commonwealth. Under his kingship, the popularity of the monarchy was restored.
Elizabeth II: 1952 - 2022. From an early age, Elizabeth was instilled with her father’s sense of duty and endeavoured, on becoming queen at the age of 26, to carry on his legacy. We will conclude our week by analysing her reign, examining her many achievements as well as some of the events which have challenged the monarchy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Finally, we will ask, what is the future of the monarchy in Britain?