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The University of Southampton
International Summer School

Monarchs: Icons of History Course Information

Henry VIII
Henry VIII

‘Institutions – and monarchy most of all – are built of memory, of heirlooms, historic buildings and rituals that are age-old (or at least pretend to be)’. – David Starkey

Since the Norman Conquest up to the present day, England have been governed by, or in the name of, a long line of monarchs. Today, there are 44 sovereign states in the world with a monarch as the Head of State: of these, the British Monarchy is arguably the most universally recognisable and prominent.

In this course, you will explore the lives and careers of a number of these ‘icons of history’, such as William the Conqueror, Henry V, and Henry VIII. But this course is more than just a series of royal biographies. We will discuss what it meant to be a ‘successful monarch’ and how this has changed (or stayed the same) over the centuries. You will learn about royal ceremonies and rituals: from coronations to royal marriages, from the opening of parliament to the magnificent feasts these kings and queens presided over.

Magnificent historic buildings tell us much about our ancestors, their ways of life and what mattered to them. This course examines and explores some of the buildings that played an important role in Britain’s political, military, social and cultural history. In the Middle Ages, castles were the residencies of the aristocratic elite and focal points of military, social and economic contact. Cathedrals were centres of power that towered above the surrounding towns. Each of these beautiful structures projected the vision of a strong leader.

This course will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of British history and culture and to explore the past and the present.

These sessions will be taught by Dr. Chloe McKenzie, who was supervised by Professor Anne Curry (Dean of Humanities and Professor of Medieval History) and Professor Maria Hayward (Professor of Early Modern History: Deputy Head of Department; Ancient History Coordinator)

For further information on the postgraduate tutors please visit the Meet the tutors pages.

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