Cultural Chronology and Change: As Reflected in the Ceramics by Collier, Donald; Martin, Paul S.; Ross, Lillian

By Collier, Donald; Martin, Paul S.; Ross, Lillian

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In a very real sense, the micro- and macropageants embedded and enacted regularly (even daily; consider the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace) help preserve the history of the nation and enhance Britain’s appeal to domestic and foreign tourists. From the annual “Trooping the Colour” ceremony that marks the Queen’s birthday* to less frequent but often fervently (and maybe even feverishly) anticipated occasions, such as Royal weddings, funerals, and coronations, these events allow the public to view the Royal Family at the height of their aesthetic glory.

Earlier, we alluded to the fact that through the medieval era and a bit beyond, male monarchs were expected to train as soldiers and lead troops onto the battlefield. As early as the 1500s, however, most were also more likely to act as autocratic rulers than soldiers. Beginning with the Act of Settlement in 1701 and throughout the eighteenth century, parliamentary rules continually stripped British monarchs of their powers. So if warriors, tyrants, and empire builders are no longer apt metaphors for its kings and queens, which ones are more suited to illuminating the duties and roles of the modern British monarchs?

11 From 1066 until 1743, when George II was the last king to fight in battle, the British were involved in over fi ft y wars. During much of this “warrior king” era (aptly named since all English monarchs after William the Conqueror were male until 1553), royal watching often meant watching out for monarchs or, in particular, their armies. Kings and queens were under constant pressure to replenish their royal treasuries and to rouse and replace lost troops, THE MAGNETISM OF THE MONARCHY • 21 equipment, and transportation.

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