The seven monarchs who make up the Stuart dynasty ruled over a turbulent realm, one which was deeply fractured by political partisanship and divided by religious dissension. In this age of civil war, succession crises and rebellion, the Stuart monarchs themselves, alongside their spouses, offspring and favourites, added fuel to the fire of socio-political tension with in-fighting, factionalism, betrayal and treachery.
After centuries of Scottish resistance to English rule, an accident of birth ended up uniting the countries under one ruler, James I. Arts-loving, but flawed, Charles I undertook a reign in which high taxes and increasingly authoritarian attempts to strip Parliament of its power led to civil war. But, during his son’s reign London society flourished and culture - painting, architecture, drama and music - blossomed.
Beneath the ribbons and laces of the restoration era, though, ran a deep vein of religious intolerance and anti-Catholic prejudice, which within three years of Charles II’s death led to the ousting of his successor James II as monarch and resulted in the Glorious Revolution of William and Mary.
The unremarkable Queen Anne was instrumental in doing a most remarkable thing: it was she who set about uniting England and Scotland into one nation, and when the Acts of Union of 1707 were signed it was she who became the first monarch ever to rule over Great Britain.
The morning sets the scene at the Portrait and National galleries. The afternoon progresses down Whitehall to Banqueting House, past Parliament and proceeds from Westminster to the Stuart glories of Kensington Palace. This London Day is fascinating not only for its discovery of the wealth of Stuart material culture surviving in central London, but also for dealing directly with the notion of dynasty.
9.30am, Embankment Underground station.
c. 5.00pm at Kensington Palace.
£215. This includes lunch, mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments, entrance fees, donations and one journey by Underground.
Maximum 16 participants
The day is spent mainly on foot, both standing in galleries and walking between sites. There is one Underground journey which may be busy in the afternoon.
We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.