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Constitutional historian and radio and television presenter David Starkey explores the misconceptions that our modern Royals are in some way more radical in their actions than their ancestors.

The marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, when the second son of the Prince of Wales married a divorced American actress of mixed race and uncertain religion, was seen as marking a fundamental modernisation of the British monarchy.

Actually, it was only a return to the 14th century when one of the many sons of King Edward III married a twice-divorced merry widow who’d eloped with her first husband at the age of 12; another a part-Moorish Spanish princess who (it is claimed) was a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad; while a third wed the au pair!

This talk traces the radically shifting marriage customs of the British monarchy, from the laxity of the Middle Ages, through the stringencies of the Hanoverians, to the house of Windsor and its sometimes contorted adaptations to the realities of modern family life. Born the only child of Quaker parents, Starkey attended Kendal Grammar School before studying at Cambridge through a scholarship. Starkey is a well-known radio and television personality, first appearing on television in 1977. He is a regular contributor to the BBC Radio 4 debate programme The Moral Maze, where his acerbic tongue earned him the sobriquet of “rudest man in Britain” and his frequent appearances on Question Time have been received with criticism and applause.

Mr Starkey particularly enjoys the Q& A session at the end of his talk so be prepared with questions! He will also be available after the talk to sign copies of his books.


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