Friend or Foe

The Art of Monarchy Episode 2 of 8
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The Royal Collection is one of the most wide-ranging collections of art and artefacts in the world and provides an intriguing insight into the minds of the monarchs who assembled it.

In this series, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz encounters dozens of these unique objects - some priceless, others no more than souvenirs - each shedding light on our relationship with the monarchy and giving a glimpse into the essential ingredients of a successful sovereign.

In today's programme, Will puts the Royal Collection on a war footing as he examines six very different items covering 700 years that show how the monarchy has rallied their subjects for war and endeavoured to keep the peace.

Will's explorations of monarchs at war begins with a photograph of the young Princess Elizabeth training to be an ATS Officer in 1945 shown to the nation to boost morale but then spools back to the Middle Ages with a clear symbol of martial authority - Edward III's six feet, eight inch long bearing sword. Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots and a elaborate object of apology from the city of Exeter all form part of the story of the monarchy in arms.

As well as curators from the Royal Collection, Will meets General Sir Mike Jackson, Dr Duncan Anderson - Head of Academy, Sandhurst and Sir David Cannadine.

Producer: Neil George.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 18 Feb 2012 10:30

The Exeter Salt

The Exeter Salt

Ceremonial table salt, known as The Exeter Salt, by Johann Hass. This ceremonial table salt was paid for by the people of Exeter and presented to Charles II (1630-1685) on his restoration in 1660.

 

From: Made in Hamburg and acquired by the Crown Jeweller, Thomas Vyner, after 1657.

Date: c.1630

Material: Silver-gilt encrusted with jewels

Size: 457 mm  

 

The Royal Collection

 

Princess Elizabeth trains as an A.T.S Officer

Princess Elizabeth trains as an A.T.S Officer

Princess Elizabeth in A.T.S. uniform at the training centre in Camberley. This photograph was taken for the War Office.

 

From: England

Date: 1945

Material: Gelatin silver print

Size: 208 x 259 mm

 

The Royal Collection

 

Sword of Edward III

Sword of Edward III

This giant bearing sword was used as a symbol of Edward III's (1312-77) power and authority.

 

From: England

Date: c.1327-77

Material: Iron and steel, wood leather, and copper alloy

Size: 2050 mm  

 

St George's Windsor

 

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

This painting celebrates the meeting of Henry VIII (1491-1547) and Francis I of France (1494-1547), near Calais in 1520 (British school).

 

From: England

Date: c.1520

Material: Oil on canvas

Size: 1689 x 3473 mm  

 

The Royal Collection

Miniature of Mary Queen of Scots

Miniature of Mary Queen of Scots

Portrait miniature depicting Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587), by François Clouet (c.1520-1572). This miniature possibly belonged to Mary's cousin, Elizabeth I (1533-1603).

 

From: France

Date: c.1558-60

Material: Watercolour on vellum

Size: 83 x 57 mm

 

The Royal Collection

 

Photograph of Queen Victoria with members of her family

Photograph of Queen Victoria with members of her family

Photograph of Queen Victoria and her family, taken at Coburg by E. Uhlenhuth. This photograph was taken in 1894 and shows Queen Victoria as the 'Grandmother of Europe' surrounded by her descendents from royal houses across the Continent.

 

 

From: Coburg. Acquired by Queen Victoria

Date: 1894

Material: Albumen print

Size: 197 x 152 mm  

 

The Royal Collection

 

More from Radio 4: The Wars of the Roses

More from Radio 4: The Wars of the Roses

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Wars of the Roses which have been the scene for many a historical skirmish over the ages.

 

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More from Radio 4: Elizabeth I and the death of Mary Queen of Scots

More from Radio 4: Elizabeth I and the death of Mary Queen of Scots

Sir John Neale describes one of the most difficult dilemmas of Elizabeth I's reign - the decision of whether to sign Mary Queen of Scots' death warrant. An archive clip from 13th January 1957.

 

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More from Radio 4: Agincourt

More from Radio 4: Agincourt

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Battle of Agincourt, when the 'happy few' of the English army of King Henry V vanquished the French forces on St Crispin's Day 1415. It is a battle that has resounded through the centuries and has been used by so many to mean so much. But how important was the battle in the strategic struggles of the time? What were the pressures at home that drove Henry's march through France? And what is the cultural legacy of Agincourt?

 

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More from Radio 4: Henry V

More from Radio 4: Henry V

Matthew Parris presents the biographical series in which his guests choose someone who has inspired their lives. Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes discusses the life of Henry V and tries to separate fact from myth, with the help of historian Juliet Barker.

 

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More from Radio 4: Bosworth Field

More from Radio 4: Bosworth Field

According to 'history', the Battle of Bosworth was thought to have taken place around the site of Ambion Hill near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. Yet for years controversy has raged over the precise location of the battle and recently the search for the exact location culminated in the discovery of 'extraordinary and unexpected' evidence. So where actually was the Battle of Bosworth and what it it mean for the town and region?

 

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