Prof Colley explores the patchwork of different kingdoms that existed throughout the British Isles from the early middle ages to explain why monarchy has mattered here.
On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.
In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.
Programme 5: Monarchy:
"To understand how and why monarchy has mattered here, we need to look not just at tradition and custom, but also at disjunctions and at change over time. A patchwork of different kingdoms existed throughout these islands from the early middle ages. England finally became a single kingdom in the 10th century; while a single king controlled most of Scotland by the 12th century. Early medieval Wales and Ireland, however, experienced multiple and competing rulers..."
Producer: Simon Elmes.