UK Monarchy

UK MonarchyEminent scholar and energetic storyteller Dr. David Starkey (The Six Wives of Henry VIII) serves as your guide through nearly 10 centuries of royal rule in England.

From the fall of the Roman Empire to the Restoration, Starkey vividly describes the human drama behind the throne, with all its intrigue, lust, treachery, and thirst for power. You visit the very stages upon which history played out—Westminster Abbey, Bosworth Field, the dreaded Tower of London, and more—and explore the true character of the men and women who wore the crown.

In this rich tapestry, Starkey identifies a unifying thread. On one hand, England required authoritarian might to stand strong against external threats. On the other, it cherished its longstanding tradition of rule by consent of the governed. The dynamic tension between these two impulses enabled the monarchy to survive as the oldest-functioning political institution in Europe.

Episodes included: The Early Kings, Medieval Monarchs, A New Dynasty (not available), The Imperial King, A Question Of Succession, and Revolution and the Republic (not available).

Watch the full documentary now (playlist).

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Ratings: 7.20/10 from 15 users.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Yavanna

    A very dry doc series - been watching it for the last two days. It concentrates highly upon the power play with the RCC not surprisingly. Interesting if you haven't watched a similar series before or read a book :P

  • Epicurean_Logic

    I do not agree with yavanna's comment that this docu was 'very dry'. The murder, scullduggary, deceipt and nepitism excibited by this pan-european mafia style organisation (ie the European monarchy) had me fascinated and disgusted in equal measures.

    I like Starkey's interpretation of UK maonarchy, he is considered as the leading authority on UK monarchy which as he argues is fundamentally different from all others( he obviously explains the details better than i ever could so i will not even make an attempt to do so).

    Also as he states at the start of episode one his interpretation is a 'grown up' recounting of events and characters. You will not get this in school guys!

    i do sometimes get turned off by his wide-eyed adoration of the main players who invariably turn out to be pretty deplorable characters, but overall his analysis is fascinating and enlightening.

  • Milton Babb

    A song and dance by the same old crowd, still hanging to antiquidated notions of power while they manage another year of robbery and murder.

  • aaa

    @epicurean logic -- the school thing is bull****, i went to a magnet high school and they taught us all of this intrigue as you put it. Furthermore they also taught us all the infighting within the roman empire; and the minor greek and ottoman empires. Just depends what school you go to. The world is designed to give knowledge to a few and keep down the rest. Thats why im learning all about propaganda, ill be a banker as well. double prong attack- politician and banker

  • Paul

    Where this documentary ends-is this the same bloodline of today's Royal Family?

  • garbanzo

    Paul,

    I believe she has blood relations to Victoria & Albert from way back but the documentary ends at a time where up until present day there have been quite a few kings & queens, so there is definitely a gap there.

    Epicurean,

    I agree, Starkey handles this topic masterfully and presents it in a way that I can understand. If you like this you should watch his other documentaries on Henry VIII: Mind of a Tryant & The 6 Wives of Henry VIII which are very well done as well.

  • Epicurean_Logic

    @garbanzo.

    Yes, i have seen Starkeys other documentaries. I enjoy all his work. No one else mentions non english speaking kings, gay monarchs and all the other fascinating tit bits that he brings up.

    Re: The bloodlines
    Even though England imported a Dutch king from the house of orange and George the 5th from Germany, as well as the French plantagenets, all of the European monarchy are/were related from the Russians to the Spanish. The current lot are from the German house of Hanover. They owned half of Germany, and married into the UK monarchy with Victoria who was a descendant of george 5th, also German.

    The Queen is the most powerful person in the UK, period. No one F*cks with the Queen! she owns half the country is head of the church of England and her ancestors set up the first government. The current government still has to present itself to her.

    Personally, i like to see a powerful woman. Gawd bless 'er.

  • garbanzo

    This is true. When I think of this time (1066 to maybe around Edward I) I try and imagine as best I can of Henry II and his sons being called "Henri" with perhaps a rolled 'r' instead of how they are portrayed in some TV series and movies.

    Furthermore one has to also imagine not so much all the modern european nations as once having great monarchies independent of one another but rather all intertwined for usually political means. I think for most of those years the princes were raised to be "heirs or spares" with the princesses as gifts for foreign kings & princes (best example off the top of my head is Henry VII marrying his heir king Arthur & Catherine of Aragon and keeping Henry VIII as the 'spare').

    As far as The Queen goes, even as I sit here thousands of miles from England her grasp does not escape me. What I mean by that is the $20 canadian bill on my desk has her face on it!

  • Shawn L.

    I've only just watched the first documentary at this point, but I plan on locking myself up and spending the rest of my day watching them all. It's an exciting piece of history.

    What strikes me as interesting is that, given the mores of the times, I find myself agreeing with all the gruesome political decisions that are made, even the ones leading to mass slaughter. They're mostly all very rational. That kind of scares me.

  • Bob

    @ aaa

    I'm LMAO that everyone is ignoring you and your i**** comment, get back under your bridge troll!!!

    @ Epicurean_Logic

    Thanks for the insight into the series, I'll be watching them now based on your feedback.

  • pkc92153

    Fascinating, educational and uncut, leaves me wondering why i never had time to listen and learn whilst at school. Starkey (whislt i may be a little bias as he is related to me by marraige) is candid and too the point. Excellent

  • me

    This is awesome! I am watching it even thought I should be in bed for w.o.r.k!! I recommend adventure of english...it's awesome. family legend says i am related to charles i.....i dont know if this is a good thing hahaha. this show makes me wish i lived in England so i could visit all of these places every weekend!! yes i am a nerd!!

    ps I am a yankee...

  • coyote03

    WOW, this is an absolutely amazing series! I knew so little about the UK Monarchy before this series and now feel like I have a pretty firm understanding of the different rulers and their roles in the transformation of England over the last 10 centuries. Really interesting how their was a constant play back and forth between Kings/Queens who were submissive to the church and others who felt they were above it. Informative, entertaining and definitely worth the watch!

  • Ian

    @ me
    i know exactly how you feel about wanting to live in England, i live in Ontario myself and, God north american history is just so damn boring! personally i plan on living in Rome one day, but i defiantly want go visit all of these catles and abbies mentioned in this series.

    a littl eoff topic here... but are we suposed to refer to the nation as Britain or England. ( beacuse in the first video it says that the saxons renaimed it England. Calling it Britain seems a bit like callinf France Gaul dont you think?)

  • Bryony

    well, it's the UK monarchy it's about, which involves Scotland and Wales and such forth - calling the UK 'England' would be ignoring the fact that England is only one country of four within the (United) Kingdom :)
    if you wanted to be old-fashioned, the better equivalent of France's 'Gaul' would be either 'Albion' or 'Britannia' :)

  • archaeobee

    Starkey's pretty good - if a little adoring of the monarchy!!

    A better (and more left-field) TV historian is Simon Schama. Richard Holmes too (from the military side) though I understand he's not so popular with Americans after he pointed out a few factual inaccuracies in the myth that makes up the reasons for the War of Independence!!!!

    @me & bryony
    bryony, you're right. Britannia derives from 'Pretanoi' which is a name the Greeks gave the inhabitants of the British Isles; it most probably means 'tatooed ones'.
    But the inhabitants of these Isles almost certainly called Britain 'Albion' (or something like it - preserved in the Scots Gaelic 'Alba') which probably meant 'White Land', maybe because of the white cliffs that greet you when you sail to part of the south coast.

  • Real Tom

    Hey I found the rest of it!

    Check this channel:xxSilverPhinxx

    Go to the "Monarchy" playlist and start at "Return of the King" then follow it on to "Survival".

    Hopefully, someone will upload it here.

  • Ben

    Watching the Early Kings, not my favourite of Starkey's documentaries thus far. It's background is all over the place and is a history solely of England from what I can tell. No wonder foreigners think the terms Britian and England are synonymous.

  • Ramus

    Part 3,5 and 6 is not available. Anyone know where I can watch them?

  • bec

    i've spent the better part of my day watching these! (or at least trying to)
    @ Ramus, part 3, 5 and 6 aren't available for me either! i've been searching for them but can't manage to find another site where they are accessible, they all seem to feed from google videos. if someone has another alternative i could try, i'd really enjoy finishing up the series!

  • Templar Knight

    i'm an loyal son of the holy roman catholic church and the only thing that matters to me is that these king's at one time had to bow down to my emperor(pope) in rome

  • Desdemone

    I love the information of the documentary...but does the narrator have to talk like that? It's too dramatic, and tires my ears :( I feel like I'm being beaten down by his "passion".

  • laura

    Is there anywhere this series is accessable in canada?

  • daver

    I love this kind of stuff but at the same time am shocked its still around. I'm Canadian and baffled that the queen still holds such power (even in our country!). How has centuries of inbreeding given someone the right to rule and suppress a nation? More precisely a well educated nation? Europe is a bit too deep in tradition I think.

  • from_the_bleachers

    Monarchy is one of the most repugnant things humans have ever come across. British people giving away their money to a small group of arrogant and rich people that don't really care about the common man/woman and elevate themselves above everyone else referring to the masses as their "subjects", I think it's absurd.
    Why British people still put up with it is mind boggling, and why some people think it's somehow "cool" is just plain stupid.

  • Leofwin

    The Queen doesn't rule, and she doesn't oppress.

  • BenMouncer22

    I completely agree, and I am British. These so-called "royals" are not deserving of anything they have, and the monarchy should simply be abolished here.

    The thing that annoys me most is that they refer to citizens as "commoners" (a seemingly derogatory statement).

  • https://www.facebook.com/dustin.manduffie Dustin Manduffie

    Congratulations...

  • WiseGapist

    hmm, I'd say the upholding of a financially and ancestrally unequal power structure a form of oppression

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JNIWLD2N7KE6YWLCZBXZ5EC3RQ Yusiley S

    I can understand the purpose of the monarchy in past history, but what is its purpose in modern terms? Why are these people (elites and royalty) still have money...stolen money from the average citizens... and in power? They don't work, contribute nothing (well except for Prince William who was seen vacationing in a third world country and helping hospitals scrub toilets... but he is the only one I respect the rest are trash) and just sit around doing nothing, but set up elaborate parties for their rich friends while the rest of the country starves to death...it's like the rich version of a welfare family. >_> Not to state that everyone who living on welfare checks and food stamps are all lazy,... hell I'm a hard working substitute teacher for students with special needs and my family and I live on WIC (welfare food stamp program), but I do know some people who are on the program who are lazy, waste of space beings and who expect everyone else to do all the work and only care about their selfish needs and wants. The monarchy is just a fancy version of this stereotypical, lazy, welfare family. Seriously, what is wrong with the people of Great Britain? They love talking trash about the people of United States, but at least the citizens of the U.S. don't honor and worship some elite f*** that has no true power and does nothing. At least prime ministers and presidents have actual real work to do that involve their respected countries and contribute in them in some way, but royalty... they're nothing, but waste of space. Why are they still around?

  • Lakalm

    They have tremendous power & are eugenicists.

  • Jesse Meyers

    I take pause in adding my American opinion, because my opinion on Monarchies is not American. With a Monarchy, the title of King or Queen may not carry power to back up said title, but it has something their Prime Ministers or Presidents will never have, a sense of impartial political views. Executives of governments come & go with the political whims of the people's wishes, but the Monarchy continues, just as in life, the Executive would be the fad, and the Monarch would be the classic.

  • Jesse Meyers

    Well actually Queen Elizabeth II, has power, usually only used upon the advise of the Prime Minister, but does invite winning parties to form a government. When no party wins a majority the Queen can make the difficult decision of calling new elections or allowing a coalition government. She also does appoint various public officials, not only in Great Britain, but Belize, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, etc... She also serves as Head of State and represents Great Britain in matters of state upon the advice of the P.M.. She is also the Head of the Commonwealth of Nations (a very long list of mainly former British Imperial States, like India) who do have friendly trade, and possible defensive alliances. In Short, she has power that by tradition she defers to the judgment of the governments, but also works as an impartial (politically impartial) unifier of the nation. Politics come and go, Monarchs stand as a symbol of values and integrity. She is also the head of the Church of England.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002036427273 Kyle J Lumsden

    i am not stinking up for the Monarchy,but every one of them donates lots of money each year to charity, you should get your facts right and do some research before commenting about them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002036427273 Kyle J Lumsden

    i have never herd them use this term in public could you give me some examples of when there have said it thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002036427273 Kyle J Lumsden

    and when did there bow down to him, henry viii told him to p.ss off and stared hes own church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hanno.conring Hanno Conring

    Motte and Bailey Castles build in a matter of days??? Maybe Dr David Starkey should go over his research again... They wouldnt take as long as Masonry castles still they took months to build. ts. ts.

  • Rocky Racoon

    I think we are approaching a constitutional crisis in Canada and may have to appeal to the honour of the crown to settle it. First Nations also have the right to deal directly with the crown since that is whom they negotiated treaties with. These are to be in force for as long as the sun shines and the grass grows.....which might not be to much longer given the condition of the ozone layer over the the ARCTIC and the melthing of the permafrost-which will poison the atmosphere and bring an end to human civilization. Perhaps we will have to plant hemp to create fast acting carbon sinks over every inch of available earth to save our hides. Wouldn't that be something.
    RR

  • Some Guy

    Why are all the episodes listed not the actual names of the episodes?

  • Some Guy

    By the Way, this is only season 2

  • AntiTheist666

    In the Interests of World Safety.

    Please don’t look at the uK much over the next few days, you may die laughing! There have been many cases of actual sides splitting.
    I refer to The queens Diamond Jubilee over here. Maniacal, Monarchical Madness! For Four Daze!

    If anyone around the world has noticed that the uK has often adopted a condescending or even mocking attitude of other World Cultures, I suggest it’s payback time here! Laugh your socks off, laugh your boots off even but do it safely. You may need protective eyewear to shield the sensitive from the BLINDING stupidity.

    From one of the few sane people left in the uK, most of us have died of shame.

    Peace and Safety to All

    The Political One

    Edit. Is there a worse national anthem in the world? This dire dirge is disgraceful.

  • NoSkeletonsNGlassHouses

    Thank you sooooo much for posting this online! I am a HUGE fan of David Starkey!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3LN7XAZPP6JEGQDKTO6PAKXOKQ Graham

    Why are people still worshiping welfare bums,i.e.. mon--archy, do they contribute
    anything ? The earth is not flat, as we all now know.
    We have been conditioned, but we can change that. Mon--archy, my
    friends, serves no purpose, other than to keep you enslaved.
    We can do MUCH better OURSELVES. PERTICIPATE> I love Canada,
    however, aFederal politition, after 8 yrs can receive a pension of
    $60,000+ per year. How can I respect this ? I challenge all polititones,someone with ba--s,step up to the plate and do the
    right thing. Embrace your fellow beings: I promise you will feel
    better about yourselves.
    Your God. Yourselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lillegutt.Hoffnarr Tor-Erik Jevnaker Hafnor

    actually the british goverment earns money off the royal estates in crops and such things every year.

  • MrsJCDeppII

    The castles made of wood could be erected in days.

  • MrsJCDeppII

    Series 1

    1 A Nation State.
    2 Ængla Land.
    3 Conquest.
    4 Dynasty.
    5 A United Kingdom.
    6 Death Of A Dynasty

    Series 2

    1 Crown Imperial.
    2 King & Emperor.
    3 Shadow Of The King.
    4 Stuart Succession.
    5 Cromwell. King Killer

    S3eries 3

    1 Return Of The King.
    2 Glorious Revolution.
    3 Rule Britannia.
    4 Empire.
    5 Survival.

    Then there was one last one not on any of the discs.

    The House Of Windsor.

  • MrsJCDeppII

    The pope should not be allowed to exist.

    If you've ever read the bible cover to cover you will know there are no popes in the bible.

    Although I disagree with King Edward VI, the pope is not an anti christ.