Exploring Formation of Britain, British Identity

Q: Your new radio series aims to bust some myths about British history. Which of these stood out for you?
A: The most important is to do with England's relationship with the other parts of the British Isles. So for example, when I was at school, more than 40 years ago now, I was taught about the ‘English Civil War', which was essentially presented as a dispute between royalists, who tended towards the divine right of kings, and the more earthy parliamentarians trying to assert the constitutional rights of Englishmen. Since then, most serious historians have revised the title to be the ‘Wars of the Three Kingdoms'. Charles I was king of England, Ireland and the Scots, and you cannot understand what was happening in England in the 1640s without linking it intimately with what was going on in Ireland and Scotland, which was equally violent and equally profound. For me, this was a central myth that has been busted. The anglocentric view we have of British history is unsustainable and wrong.


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