Without Map or Compass

Writing about constitutional crises by Bernard Porter, Ferdinand Mount, Hilary Mantel, Alan Bennett, Blair Worden, Patricia Beer, Stephen Sedley and Sionaidh Douglas-Scott.

If Spencer Perceval is remembered at all today it’s probably as the answer to a question in a pub quiz: who is the only British prime minister ever to have been assassinated? But both he...

Back to Runnymede: Magna Carta

Ferdinand Mount, 23 April 2015

George Cony​, a London merchant, had once been a friend of Oliver Cromwell. But when the Lord Protector slapped a tax on silk imports without the consent of Parliament, Mr Cony protested that...

The Crowe is White: Bloody Mary

Hilary Mantel, 24 September 2009

Mary’s bishops wanted recantations more than they wanted executions. There was always the possibility of a last-minute change of heart; this would not free the condemned person from the stake, but it would send the charred soul to heaven, or at least purgatory.

The King and I

Alan Bennett, 30 January 1992

I’ve always had a soft spot for George III, starting all of forty years ago when I was in the sixth form at Leeds Modern School and reading for a scholarship to Cambridge. The smart book...

Conrad Russell’s Civil War

Blair Worden, 29 August 1991

For fifteen years Conrad Russell has dominated that most embattled and most heavily populated area of historical study, the origins of the civil wars of mid-17th-century England. In doing so, he...

Merry Wife of Windsor

Patricia Beer, 16 October 1980

The most terrifying comment made on the Abdication may well be that of Lord Beaverbrook, writing twenty years after the events in which he played such a prominent part: if the British people, he...

In​ 1944, as Richard Kay records, an optimistic litigant challenged the validity of a Victorian statute under which he was being sued, on the ground that Queen Victoria, like all her...

In​ her Mansion House speech in March, in which she outlined her plans for leaving the EU, Theresa May stated that she ‘would not allow anything that would damage the integrity of our...

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