". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The House of Stuart -- Europe's Most Hapless Monarchs

A new history of England has been published by Allan Lane -- England, as opposed to Britain -- The English and Their History, by the Professor of French

history at Cambridge, Robert Tombs.  It's reviewed in the Guardian - Observer.

From the review, this was particularly striking, studying as we do, so much about the House of Stuart, because of the colonial history section of The American Slave Coast. I must agree with Tombs's assessment of the Stuarts, from Mary Stuart through to

the last Stuart, the popular Queen Anne, who dies from to the complications of bearing 17 pregnancies, without issue, after a short reign (1702 - 1707):
In Tombs’s depiction, the succession of King James VI of Scotland as England’s monarch after Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603 proved “disastrous” for the English, for in the House of Stuart “the country acquired Europe’s most hapless dynasty”.
My positive introduction to Queen Anne, as with so many probably, was as royal patron to Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, in The First Churchills (1969),

played to such enchanting effect by the enchanting Susan Hampshire.

Queen Anne was played by Margaret Tyzack in The First Churchills.
though, perhaps some put up the Spanish Hapsburgs in competition with that rank, because they fell from the greatest glory, wealth and empire into madness, poverty and backwater isolation.

However, the Stuarts never had any glory, they never had an empire, or even any wealth.  Indeed, they weren't able to even keep their own thrones and countries, most of them. Most of them lived as pensioners upon the largesse of French monarchs, as they begged, gambled and borrowed their way around Europe.

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