From Edward to Elizabeth: The British Monarchy Since 1901


This course explores the fascinating stories of the British monarchs who have ruled Britain since 1901. The monarchy has faced many challenges. Its reputation has ebbed and flowed, as the crown has changed hands from that of a cosmopolitan king, Edward VII, to one who was steadfast and conscientious, George V. From Edward VIII, the ill-fated “People’s King”, to his brother George VI for whom duty was unquestionable. The longevity of its current queen, Elizabeth II, has ensured that the monarchy had remained a highly respected institution. We will investigate the lives of these five monarchs and their families and seek to evaluate the impact they have had on Britain during the course of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Programme details

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.

Please note that OUDCE reserves the right to alter course content and/or cancel field trips in accordance with government guidance.

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. 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 -. From an early age, Elizabeth was instilled with her father’s sense of duty and since becoming queen at the age of 26, has endeavoured 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?


Description Costs
Fee option 1 (single en suite accom and meals) £1565.00
Fee option 2 (single standard accom and meals) £1380.00
Fee option 3 (twin en suite accom and meals) £1472.50
Fee option 4 (double en suite accom and meals) £1472.50
Fee option 5 (twin set standard accom and meals) £1380.00
Fee option 6 (no accom; incl lunch and dinner) £1070.00


All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Please be aware that all payments (and refunds) are subject to exchange rates at the time of processing.

Payment terms

  • If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking
  • If submitting an application form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date

Cancellations and refunds

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to or by post to The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid

  • Cancellations received up to and including 31 May 2021 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-30 June 2021 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 July 2021 - no refunds will be made.

Important note: You need to take out travel insurance to cover the programme fee and travel costs.


Mrs Annette Mayer

Annette Mayer is a Senior Associate Tutor in History at OUDCE. She teaches nineteenth and twentieth British history courses for certificate, diploma courses, weekly class programmes and Oxford summer schools. She has authored three online courses: Churchill: Soldier, Politician and Statesman, Investigating the Victorians and The Making of Modern Britain and published The Growth of Democracy in Britain (1999) and Women in Britain 1900-2000 (2002).

Teaching methods

Participants will be taught in seminar groups of up to 12 people. Elements of this teaching will normally include mini lectures and presentations by tutors and tutor-led class discussions.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Registration closes on 1 May 2021.

Please note: most courses fill up fast so early registration is strongly recommended.

Single accommodation and non-residential places may be booked online by clicking on the “Book now” button in the “Course details” box at the top right-hand side of the course page.

If you experience any difficulties enrolling online please contact the Programme Administrator at

Those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an application form as these rooms cannot be booked online. Completed forms should be sent:

Covid-19 guidance for summer school participants

Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of participants is our highest priority. We've introduced a range of measures to protect you when you are in university and college buildings, in accordance with University and UK government guidelines. These measures may include: enhanced cleaning regimes and additional facilities for hand washing and hand sanitising; spaces adapted to support social distancing with clear signage and markings; a requirement for the wearing of face coverings during in-person teaching and in indoor shared spaces.

You'll be required to follow University and UK government guidelines whilst in Oxford, and to sign a ‘Student Responsibility Agreement’ in advance of the course, confirming that you will do so (this will be similar to the version for University students, which you can review online).  Further information is available at You should particularly review the University’s Face Coverings policy, which you will need to comply with at all times on University property.

If UK government regulations require you to quarantine on arrival in the UK, then you will need to arrange this yourself at your own expense. Unfortunately, we aren’t permitted to let you quarantine in University accommodation. Travel is not encouraged – and may not be permitted – if you are travelling from or through a country on the UK government’s ‘red list’.

If we have to cancel your course

Should it be necessary to cancel your course, we will make every reasonable effort to give you as much notice of cancellation as possible, and we will refund all course fees paid by you (including the cost of accommodation, if booked through us as part of your course). Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than in pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the date they are processed.

The Department cannot be held responsible for any costs you may incur in relation to travel or accommodation bookings as a result of a course cancellation, or if you are unable to attend the course for any other reason. You are advised to check cancellation policies carefully and to purchase travel insurance.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century.

Participants should note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

The following types of accommodation are available:

  • Single en suite

  • Single standard

  • Twin en suite

  • Double en suite

  • Standard ‘twin set’

En suite rooms include private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Standard rooms have their own washbasin and shaver point but bathroom facilities are shared. ‘Twin sets’ comprise two single rooms opening off a sitting room.

Please note that only single accommodation may be booked online; those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an application form. (See “Application”.)

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form), together with a note of any mobility problems.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.

We also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals (lunch and dinner) at the college, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.