Democratic Royalism: The Transformation of the British Monarchy, 1861-1914

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In the decades before the First World War no British institution epitomised national identity more forcefully than the monarchy, and no other institution inspired such a universal feeling of loyalty and attachment. The crown reached this position in the half-century after 1861 by giving up its residual political power to a more powerful and more representative House of Commons and transforming itself into a powerfully symbolic institution, by concentrating its efforts on ceremony. The politicians who transformed the monarchy in an era of mass politics, mass movements and massive ceremonial displays constituted a cross-section of the political world. What were these men doing? What was in their minds as they planned enormous royal spectacles in London? This book focuses on the action of five different individuals who created the modern monarchy: Walter Bagehot, W.E. Gladstone, Lord Esher, Randall Davidson and the Duke of Norfolk.