In 1630, the ascension of King James IV of Scotland to the English throne, whereupon he became known as James I, finally united Britain under one rule. If that was not enough, his legacy in Western tradition was secured when he commission the standardized translation of the Holy Bible that still bears his names. his descendants, the Stuart dynasty, ruled into the next century, and their family tree includes today's British monarchy. But these accomplishment offer only half the story of King James I, who frequently indulged in same-sex liaisons. As John Macleod chronicles in Dynasty, his new account of the Stuarts, the debauchery of James and his court set an example that would color virtually every Stuart monarch to come.
Stuart Kings were stabbed in cellars, hacked to death in barns, repeatedly deposed. A common molehill spelled the end for the bold "King Billy." James II of Scotland was killed by his own cannon. Charles I enjoys the dubious distinction of being the only English monarch ever executed. The sexual voracity of Charles II brought the throne scores of illegitimate children. From the serial husbands of Mary Queen of Scots (herself beheaded on the order of her cousin, Elizabeth I) to the eccentric Stuart Cardinal with a taste for young men, Macleod takes the reader on an irreverent journey through one of the most calamitous dynasties in the history of the English throne.
But despite the farce and tumult of the Stuarts, there emerged in the United Kingdom during their reign new thoughts and institutions, including the foundations of a modern democracy. Macleod does not simply revel in the tabloid exploits of a few English kings, he weaves a tale of fascinating and flawed rulers within the context of their own politically charged times. Dynasty charts the delicate and sometimes disastrous, often hilarious, interplay between the fate of nations and that of the personalities who rule them.
About John Macleod
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Published January 1, 1999
by Sceptre Books.
History, Travel, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference.