Robert II of Scotland
Robert II reigned as King of Scotland from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce by his first wife Isabella of Mar. Edward Bruce, younger brother of Robert the Bruce, was named heir to the throne but he died without heirs on 3 December 1318. Marjorie had died in 1317 in a riding accident and parliament decreed her infant son, Robert Stewart, as heir presumptive, but this lapsed on 5 March 1324 on the birth of a son, David, to King Robert and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. Robert Stewart became High Steward of Scotland on his father's death on 9 April 1326, in same year parliament confirmed the young Steward as heir should Prince David die without a successor. In 1329 King Robert I died and the six-year-old David succeeded to the throne under the guardianship of Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray. Edward Balliol, son of King John Balliol—assisted by the English and those Scottish nobles, disinherited by Robert I—invaded Scotland inflicting heavy defeats on the Bruce party on 11 August 1332 at Dupplin Moor and Halidon Hill on 19 July 1333.
Robert, who had fought at Halidon joined his uncle, King David in refuge in Dumbarton Castle. David escaped to France in 1334 and parliament, still functioning, appointed Robert and John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray as joint Guardians of the kingdom. Randolph was captured by the English in July 1335 and in the same year Robert submitted to Balliol bringing about the removal of his guardianship; the office was reinstated in 1338 and Robert held it until David's return from France in June 1341. Hostilities continued and Robert was with David at the Neville's Cross on 17 October 1346 and either escaped or fled the field but David was captured and remained a prisoner until he was ransomed in October 1357. Robert married Elizabeth Mure around 1348, legitimising five daughters, his subsequent marriage to Euphemia de Ross in 1355 produced two surviving daughters. Robert rebelled against the King in 1363 but submitted to him following a threat to his right of succession. David died in 1371 and Robert succeeded him at the age of fifty-five.
The border magnates continued to attack English-held zones in southern Scotland and by 1384, the Scots had re-taken most of the occupied lands. Robert ensured that Scotland was included in the Anglo-French truce of 1384 and, a factor in the coup in November when he lost control of the country first to his eldest son and from 1388 to John's younger brother, Robert. King Robert was buried at Scone Abbey. Robert Stewart, born in 1316, was the only child of Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland and King Robert I's daughter Marjorie Bruce, who died in 1317 following a riding accident, he had the upbringing of a Gaelic noble on the Stewart lands in Bute, in Renfrew. In 1315 parliament removed Marjorie's right as heir to her father in favour of her uncle, Edward Bruce. Edward was killed at the Battle of Faughart, near Dundalk on 14 October 1318, resulting in a hastily arranged Parliament in December to enact a new entail naming Marjorie's son, Robert, as heir should the king die without a successor.
The birth of a son, afterwards David II, to King Robert on 5 March 1324 cancelled Robert Stewart's position as heir presumptive, but a Parliament at Cambuskenneth in July 1326 restored him in the line of succession should David die without an heir. This reinstatement of his status was accompanied by the gift of lands in Argyll and the Lothians; the first war of independence began in the reign of King John Balliol. His short reign was bedeviled by Edward I's insistence on his overlordship of Scotland; the Scottish leadership concluded that only war could release the country from the English king's continued weakening of Balliol's sovereignty and so finalised a treaty of reciprocal assistance with France in October 1295. The Scots forayed into England in March 1296—this incursion together with the French treaty angered the English king and provoked an invasion of Scotland taking Berwick on 30 March before defeating the Scots army at Dunbar on 27 April. John Balliol submitted to Edward and resigned the throne to him before being sent to London as a prisoner.
Despite this, resistance to the English led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray had emerged in the name of King John Balliol. On their deaths, Robert the Bruce continued to resist the English and succeeded in defeating the forces of Edward II of England and gained the Scottish throne for himself. David Bruce, aged five, became king on 7 June 1329 on the death of his father Robert. Walter the Steward had died earlier on 9 April 1327, the orphaned eleven-year-old Robert was placed under the guardianship of his uncle, Sir James Stewart of Durrisdeer, who along with Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, William Lindsey, Archdeacon of St Andrews were appointed as joint Guardians of the kingdom. David's accession kindled the second independence war. In 1332 Edward Balliol, son of the deposed John Balliol, spearheaded an attack on the Bruce sovereignty with the tacit support of King Edward III of England and the explicit endorsement of'the disinherited'. Edward Balliol's forces delivered heavy defeats on the Bruce supporters at Dupplin Moor on 11 August 1332 and again at Halidon Hill on 19 July 1333, at which the 17-year-old Robert participated.
Robert's estates were overrun by Balliol, who granted them to David Strathbogie, titular earl of Atholl, but Robert evaded capture and gained protection at Dumbarton Castle where King David was taking refuge. Few other strongholds remain
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat
James IV of Scotland
James IV was the King of Scotland from 11 June 1488 to his death. He assumed the throne following the death of his father, King James III, at the Battle of Sauchieburn, a rebellion in which the younger James played an indirect role, he is regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended in a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden. He was the last monarch from the island of Great Britain to be killed in battle. James IV's marriage in 1503 to Margaret Tudor linked the royal houses of England, it led to the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when Elizabeth I died without heirs and James IV's great-grandson James VI succeeded to the English throne as James I. James was the son of Margaret of Denmark, born in Holyrood Abbey; as heir apparent to the Scottish crown, he became Duke of Rothesay. He had two younger brothers and John. In 1474, his father arranged his betrothal to the English princess Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV of England, his father James III was not a popular king, facing two major rebellions during his reign, alienating many members of his close family his younger brother Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany.
James III's pro-English policy was unpopular, rebounded badly upon him when the marriage negotiations with England broke down over lapsed dowry payments, leading to the invasion of Scotland and capture of Berwick in 1482 by Cecily's uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in the company of the Duke of Albany. When James III attempted to lead his army against the invasion, his army rebelled against him and he was imprisoned by his own councillors in the first major crisis of his reign. James IV's mother, Margaret of Denmark, was more popular than his father, though somewhat estranged from her husband she was given responsibility for raising their sons at Stirling Castle, but she died in 1486. Two years a second rebellion broke out, where the rebels set up the 15-year-old Prince James as their nominal leader, they fought James III at the Battle of Sauchieburn on 11 June 1488, where the king was killed, though several sources claimed that Prince James had forbidden any man to harm his father. The younger James was crowned at Scone on 24 June.
However he continued to bear intense guilt for the indirect role which he had played in the death of his father. He decided to do penance for his sin; each Lent, for the rest of his life, he wore a heavy iron chain cilice around his waist, next to the skin. He added extra ounces every year. James IV proved an effective ruler and a wise king, he defeated another rebellion in 1489, took a direct interest in the administration of justice and brought the Lord of the Isles under control in 1493. For a time, he supported Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne, carried out a brief invasion of England on his behalf in September 1496. In August 1497, James laid siege to Norham Castle, using his grandfather's bombard Mons Meg. James recognised nonetheless that peace between Scotland and England was in the interest of both countries, established good diplomatic relations with England, emerging at the time from a period of civil war. First he ratified the Treaty of Ayton in 1497. In 1502 James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII.
This treaty was sealed by his marriage to Henry's daughter Margaret Tudor the next year, in an event portrayed as the marriage of The Thrissil and the Rois by the great poet William Dunbar, resident at James' court. James was granted the title of Defender of the Faith in 1507 by the Papal Legate at Holyrood Abbey. James maintained Scotland's traditional good relations with France and this created diplomatic problems with England. For example, when rumours that James would renew the Auld alliance circulated in April 1508, Thomas Wolsey was sent to discuss Henry VII's concerns over this. Wolsey found "there was never a man worse welcome into Scotland than I... they keep their matters so secret here that the wives in the market know every cause of my coming." Nonetheless, Anglo-Scottish relations remained stable until the death of Henry VII in 1509. James saw the importance of building a fleet that could provide Scotland with a strong maritime presence. James founded two new dockyards for this purpose and acquired a total of 38 ships for the Royal Scots Navy, including the Margaret, the carrack Great Michael.
The latter, built at great expense at Newhaven, near Edinburgh and launched in 1511, was 240 feet in length, weighed1,000 tons and was, at that time, the largest ship in the world. James IV was a true Renaissance prince with an interest in scientific matters, he granted the Incorporation of Surgeons and Barbers of Edinburgh a royal charter in 1506, turned Edinburgh Castle into one of Scotland's foremost gun foundries, welcomed the establishment of Scotland's first printing press in 1507. He built a part of Falkland Palace, Great Halls at Stirling and Edinburgh castles, furnished his palaces with tapestries. James was a patron of the arts, including many literary figures, most notably the Scots makars whose diverse and observant works convey a vibrant and memorable picture of cultural life and intellectual concerns of the period. Figures associated with his court include William Dunbar, Walter Kennedy and Gavin Douglas, who made the first complete translation of Virgil's Aeneid in northern Europe.
His reign saw the passing of the makar Robert Henryson. He patronised music at Restalrig using rental money from t
Visit of King George IV to Scotland
The visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822 was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Scotland in nearly two centuries, the last being by King Charles I for his Scottish coronation in 1633. Government ministers had pressed the King to bring forward a proposed visit to Scotland, to divert him from diplomatic intrigue at the Congress of Verona; the visit increased the king's popularity in Scotland, turning some subjects away from the rebellious radicalism of the time. However, it was Sir Walter Scott's organisation of the visit, with the inclusion of tartan pageantry, to have a lasting influence, by elevating the tartan kilt to become part of Scotland's national identity. After nearly a decade of ruling as Prince Regent, George IV acceded to the throne and his coronation on 19 July 1821, was celebrated by splendid traditional pageantry, much of it invented for the occasion, he was obese and was unpopular, with many offended by his treatment of his wife. He had been struggling to manipulate the government, seen as a corrupt oligarchy by Radicals whose increasing unrest following the revolutions which shook America and France culminated in the "Radical War" of 1820 in Scotland and terrified the gentry.
He was invited to attend a Congress in Verona, but government ministers wanting to keep Parliamentary control of foreign affairs pressed him to bring forward a proposed visit to Scotland which it was hoped would calm unrest. Suffering from painful illness and pushed by opposing factions of diplomats and ministers, the King remained indecisive, but preparations went ahead in the hope of his agreement. Walter Scott was the author of the novel Waverley which popularised a romantic image of the Scottish Highlands. In 1815 this led to his being invited to dine with George, the Prince Regent. By 1822 Scott had become a baronet, was well acquainted with both Highland and Lowland nobility. Kilts and tartans were used for army uniforms but were no longer ordinary Highland wear, having been proscribed in the wake of the Jacobite Risings by the Dress Act; the "small" kilt as worn today was a recent innovation in the Highlands, having been introduced around the 1720s and adopted as dress uniform by the army, but the romance of the "ancient" belted plaid still appealed to those wanting to preserve the Highland identity.
Soon after the Act's repeal in 1782, Highland aristocrats set up Highland Societies in Edinburgh and other centers including London and Aberdeen. These were landowners' clubs with aims including "Improvements" and promoting "the general use of the ancient Highland dress" by obliging members to wear this when attending meetings. Numerous less exclusive associations including the Celtic Society of Edinburgh, of which Scott was enthusiastic chairman, had membership including many lowlanders as well as chieftains of impeccable Highland ancestry, promoted a Highland culture with all attending meetings and dances wearing "the garb of old Gaul"; when his advice was sought, Sir Walter Scott seized the opportunity to invent a splendid pageant wherein ancient Scotland would be reborn, the king parodied in cartoons as a fat debaucher would be seen as "a portly handsome man looking and moving every inch a King". George would be presented as a new Jacobite king, with the logic that he was by bloodline as much a Stuart as Bonnie Prince Charlie had been, would win the affections of the Scots away from radical reform.
A small committee was set up, with Scott's principal assistant being his friend Major General David Stewart of Garth who had made himself the undisputed authority on Highlanders with his Sketches. George had been persuaded by Scott that he was not only a Stuart prince, but a Jacobite Highlander, could rightly and properly swathe himself in "the Garb of Old Gaul ", so in July 1822 the King placed his order with George Hunter & Co. outfitters of Tokenhouse Yard and Princes Street, for £1,354 18s worth of highland outfit in bright red Royal Tartan known as Royal Stuart, complete with gold chains and assorted weaponry including dirk and pistols. Scott brought the Clan chieftains into arranging for a plaided pageantry. Garth now drilled the younger members of the Celtic Society into four companies as honour guards, their mix of lowlanders and highlanders had offended Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry, quick to demand that his Society of True Highlanders be given precedence, but his attempts to take over were disregarded.
Some chieftains took the event as a chance to show impressive forces and thus disprove allegations about the Highland Clearances, but the decimation of their tenantry rather undermined this. James Loch acting for the Countess of Sutherland solved the problem of finding kilts by borrowing army uniforms from the Sutherland Highlanders. For the management of all events, Scott took the advice of his friend the young actor-manager William Henry Murray whose talents at theatrical scenery and costume were put to good use in creating the settings and the "revived ancient dresses" for the pageants he arranged. Holyrood Palace had to be readied for state occasions, but was not in fit condition as a royal residence and arrangements were made for the king to stay at Dalkeith House, 7 miles from Edinburgh. There was widespread concern about procedure and etiquette, not least amongst the touchy Highland chiefs, which Scott met by producing a shilling booklet "HINTS addressed to the INHABITANTS OF EDINBURGH AND OTHERS in prospect of HIS MAJESTY'S VISIT.
By an old citizen", which gave an outline of planned events with detailed advice on behaviour and clothing. All gentlemen of the city were expected to at
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England, it suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.
The Crown was the most important element of government. The Scottish monarchy in the Middle Ages was a itinerant institution, before Edinburgh developed as a capital city in the second half of the 15th century; the Crown remained at the centre of political life and in the 16th century emerged as a major centre of display and artistic patronage, until it was dissolved with the Union of Crowns in 1603. The Scottish Crown adopted the conventional offices of western European monarchical states of the time and developed a Privy Council and great offices of state. Parliament emerged as a major legal institution, gaining an oversight of taxation and policy, but was never as central to the national life. In the early period, the kings of the Scots depended on the great lords—the mormaers and toísechs—but from the reign of David I, sheriffdoms were introduced, which allowed more direct control and limited the power of the major lordships. In the 17th century, the creation of Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Supply helped to increase the effectiveness of local government.
The continued existence of courts baron and the introduction of kirk sessions helped consolidate the power of local lairds. Scots law was reformed and codified in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under James IV the legal functions of the council were rationalised, with Court of Session meeting daily in Edinburgh. In 1532, the College of Justice was founded, leading to the training and professionalisation of lawyers. David I is the first Scottish king known to have produced his own coinage. At the union of the Crowns in 1603 the Pound Scots was fixed at only one-twelfth the value of the English pound; the Bank of Scotland issued pound notes from 1704. Scottish currency was abolished by the Act of Union, however to the present day, Scotland retains unique banknotes. Geographically, Scotland is divided between the Lowlands; the Highlands had a short growing season, further shortened during the Little Ice Age. From Scotland's foundation to the inception of the Black Death, the population had grown to a million.
It expanded in the first half of the 16th century, reaching 1.2 million by the 1690s. Significant languages in the medieval kingdom included Gaelic, Old English and French. Christianity was introduced into Scotland from the 6th century. In the Norman period the Scottish church underwent a series of changes that led to new monastic orders and organisation. During the 16th century, Scotland underwent a Protestant Reformation that created a predominately Calvinist national kirk. There were a series of religious controversies that resulted in persecutions; the Scottish Crown developed naval forces at various points in its history, but relied on privateers and fought a guerre de course. Land forces centred around the large common army, but adopted European innovations from the 16th century. From the 5th century AD, north Britain was divided into a series of petty kingdoms. Of these, the four most important were those of the Picts in the north-east, the Scots of Dál Riata in the west, the Britons of Strathclyde in the south-west and the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia in the south-east, stretching into modern northern England.
In AD 793, ferocious Viking raids began on monasteries such as those at Iona and Lindisfarne, creating fear and confusion across the kingdoms of north Britain. Orkney and the Western Isles fell to the Norsemen; these threats may have speeded up a long-term process of gaelicisation of the Pictish kingdoms, which adopted Gaelic language and customs. There was a merger of the Gaelic and Pictish kingdoms, although historians debate whether it was a Pictish takeover of Dál Riata, or the other way round; this culminated in the rise of Cínaed mac Ailpín as "king of the Picts" in the 840s, which brought to power the House of Alpin. When he died as king of the combined kingdom in 900 one of his successors, Domnall II, was the first man to be called rí Alban; the term Scotia would be used to describe the heartland of these kings, north of the River Forth, the entire area controlled by its kings would be referred to as Scotland. The long reign of Donald's successor Causantín is regarded as the key to formation of the Kingdom of Alba/Scotland, he was la
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe, he was heir apparent to the British throne and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. He was heir presumptive to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until before his marriage he renounced his right to the duchy, which devolved to his younger brother Alfred. During the long reign of his mother, he was excluded from political power, came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite, he travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties, represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but despite public approval his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother; as king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War.
He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor; the Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including steam turbine propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis, resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords. Edward was born at 10:48 in the morning on 9 November 1841 in Buckingham Palace, he was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was christened Albert Edward at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 25 January 1842.
He was named Albert after his father and Edward after his maternal grandfather Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. He was known as Bertie to the royal family throughout his life; as the eldest son of the British sovereign, he was automatically Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth. As a son of Prince Albert, he held the titles of Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duke of Saxony, he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 8 December 1841, Earl of Dublin on 10 September 1849 or 17 January 1850, a Knight of the Garter on 9 November 1858, a Knight of the Thistle on 24 May 1867. In 1863, he renounced his succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in favour of his younger brother, Prince Alfred. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined that their eldest son should have an education that would prepare him to be a model constitutional monarch. At age seven, Edward embarked on a rigorous educational programme devised by Prince Albert, supervised by several tutors.
Unlike his elder sister Victoria, Edward did not excel in his studies. He to no avail. Although Edward was not a diligent student—his true talents were those of charm and tact—Benjamin Disraeli described him as informed, intelligent and of sweet manner. After the completion of his secondary-level studies, his tutor was replaced by a personal governor, Robert Bruce. After an educational trip to Rome, undertaken in the first few months of 1859, he spent the summer of that year studying at the University of Edinburgh under, among others, the chemist Lyon Playfair. In October, he matriculated as an undergraduate at Oxford. Now released from the educational strictures imposed by his parents, he enjoyed studying for the first time and performed satisfactorily in examinations. In 1861, he transferred to Trinity College, where he was tutored in history by Charles Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History. Kingsley's efforts brought forth the best academic performances of Edward's life, Edward looked forward to his lectures.
In 1860, Edward undertook the first tour of North America by a Prince of Wales. His genial good humour and confident bonhomie made the tour a great success, he inaugurated the Victoria Bridge, across the St Lawrence River, laid the cornerstone of Parliament Hill, Ottawa. He watched Charles Blondin traverse Niagara Falls by highwire, stayed for three days with President James Buchanan at the White House. Buchanan accompanied the Prince to Mount Vernon, to pay his respects at the tomb of George Washington. Vast crowds greeted him everywhere, he met Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Prayers for the royal family were said in Trinity Church, New York, for the first time since 1776; the four-month tour throughout Canada and the United States boosted Edward's confidence and self-esteem, had many diplomatic benefits for Great Britain. Edward had hoped to pursue a career in the British Army, but his mother vetoed an active military career, he had been gazetted colonel on 9 November 1858—to his disappointment, as he had wanted to earn his commission by examination.
In September 1861, Edward was sent to Germany to watch military manoeuvres, but in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark and his wife Louise. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had decided that Edward and Alexandra should marry, they met at Speyer on 24 September under the auspices of his elder sister, who ha
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t