The Shortest History of the Crown

Stephen Bates

02 June 2023
288 pages


1,800 years of power plays, ritual, tradition and intrigue. What’s next for the world’s most enduring monarchy?

Amidst the turbulence and invasions, upheaval and dissent that characterise British history, one thing has remained remarkably stable – Britain’s Crown. Of all the world’s forty-two monarchies, the British monarchy remains the most famous, perhaps even in countries with kings and queens of their own. Is this legacy a result of the continuity of traditions or the Crown’s ability to adapt?

In this sprightly account of the Crown and its remarkable, enduring power, former royal correspondent Stephen Bates provides dazzling insights into royal custom and ritual, whilst depicting with compassion and wit the individuals behind the myth. Delving equally into personality and policy, this book reveals the historical power struggles and concessions that have shaped the monarchy of today.

As Britain mourns the end of the seventy-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II and welcomes Charles III as its new king, questions about the Crown, its character and survival inevitably recur: What might the future hold for the world’s most popular monarchy?