Why Elizabeth II’s message on the 70th anniversary of her accession matters

Elizabeth II’s message to her people, published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of her accession, is remarkable for a number of reasons.  First of all, it bears all of the hallmarks of the royal public language carefully crafted by Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang and Clive Wigram, private secretary to George V, back in the mid-1930s. With its emphasisContinue reading “Why Elizabeth II’s message on the 70th anniversary of her accession matters”

William, Harry and the myth of Princess Diana

The unveiling of the Diana statue was the most recent ceremonial act in the mythologization of the Princess of Wales. Her sons, Princes William and Harry, are the ‘high priests’ who have given power to her myth since her death in 1997. Simply by being her bereaved children, William and Harry, aged 15 and 12 respectively at the timeContinue reading “William, Harry and the myth of Princess Diana”

What next for the monarchy?

A lot of overheated media commentary at the time of Prince Philip’s death insisted that his passing marked the end of an era. Certainly, he was the last British royal to have meaningful connections to a wider network of royal families – a result of a culture of European dynastic intermarriage that persisted through the firstContinue reading “What next for the monarchy?”

A royal love story that might never have happened

As first published by Talking Humanities in April 2021. Prince Philip, who was one of the most popular and long-serving members of the House of Windsor, has died aged 99. Dr Ed Owens, historian, royal commentator, and author of The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53, looks back at a royal love story.Continue reading “A royal love story that might never have happened”

Another annus horribilis? ‘The Family Firm’ one year on…

As first published by Talking Humanities in November 2020. In a speech marking the 40th year since her accession to the throne, Elizabeth II described 1992 as her annus horribilis. In the 12 months prior to this, three of her children’s marriages broke down in full sight of the public and a fire tore through Windsor Castle,Continue reading “Another annus horribilis? ‘The Family Firm’ one year on…”

In profile: Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II

As first published by History Extra in October 2020. The only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne has often been a stalwart face of duty and (relative) normality throughout many of the royal family’s more turbulent periods. Yet the Princess Royal’s own life has not been without its challenges. From an infamous kidnap attemptContinue reading “In profile: Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II”

The monarchy and the next Great Depression

As first published by History Matters in June 2020. It has been an oft-quoted refrain since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Europe: along with much of the rest of the world, Britain and the continent face a looming recession on a scale that hasn’t been witnessed since the 1930s. The first half of this inauspicious decadeContinue reading “The monarchy and the next Great Depression”

The monarchy, mythmaking and VE Day

As first published by On History in May 2020. On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Ed Owens — author of The Family Firm. Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53 — reflects on the royal family’s careful cultivation of a media image in wartime, culminating with the events of 8 May 1945. Given the circumstances,Continue reading “The monarchy, mythmaking and VE Day”

The family firm falters part 3

As first published by Talking Humanities in April 2020. The coronavirus presents the British monarchy with a set of unique short-term and long-term challenges. In this third and final article, written in connection with the release of The Family Firm, Dr Ed Owens reflects on the royal response to the Covid-19 crisis and the consequences ofContinue reading “The family firm falters part 3”

The family firm falters part 1

As first published by Talking Humanities in February 2020. History is not repeating itself. Harry and Meghan are not Edward and Wallis. Prince Andrew’s transgressions are unlike those committed by other members of the royal family in the recent past. The slimmed down monarchy of 2020 looks different to the monarchy of 2010, let aloneContinue reading “The family firm falters part 1”