The Life & Times of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 1 – Rebellious Britons.

Protest & Planning, 1963-68 – Youth, Vietnam & Grosvenor Square: The 1960s were dramatic years in Britain. Demographic trends, especially the increase in the proportion of teenagers in the population, coincided with economic affluence and ideological experimentation to reconfigure social mores to a revolutionary extent. In 1964, under Harold Wilson, the Labour Party came into power,Continue reading “The Life & Times of Elizabeth Windsor, 1963-78: Part 1 – Rebellious Britons.”

Majesty & Grace VIII: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – Epilogue (ii) – The New Elizabethan Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.

The long and broad view of the British Economy: The economic historian, P. Calvocoressi, writing in 1978, provided a long view of the British economy from 1945 to 1975. He saw the failure of successive governments to manage it successfully as the result of their unwillingness to dismantle the ‘mixed’ economy model of private andContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VIII: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – Epilogue (ii) – The New Elizabethan Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.”

Majesty & Grace VII: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – Epilogue (i) – The Coronation of Elizabeth II; Dawn of a New Era & Dusk of Empire, 1953-58.

Map of the Coronation Procession, 2nd June 1953: The Map below commemorates a day which brought a sense of relief to the people of the United Kingdom after the trials and tribulations of the Second World War and the years of austerity which had followed it. The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd JuneContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VII: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – Epilogue (i) – The Coronation of Elizabeth II; Dawn of a New Era & Dusk of Empire, 1953-58.”

Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.

Above: British propaganda poster, ‘On to Japan!’, 1945 (The Bridgeman Art Library). Fighting Back in Malaya & Singapore: The State Opening of Parliament, which took place on 15th August 1945, saw a return to the pomp of pre-war years, with thousands of people lining the streets of London as the King and Queen travelled toContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.”

Majesty & Grace IV: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – The Reign of ‘Albert the Good’ – George VI, 1936-39.

The Deep Despair of the Duke & Duchess: The Duke of York, Albert, and his family had been in Scotland during the days preceding the Abdication Crisis. When the British press broke their self-imposed silence about King Edward’s affair with Mrs Simpson on 3rd December 1936, the Yorks were on their way back to LondonContinue reading “Majesty & Grace IV: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – The Reign of ‘Albert the Good’ – George VI, 1936-39.”

Personal Recollections of Prince Charles as Chancellor of the University of Wales, 1979-80 & Reflections on his Elevation to King Charles III.

The Troubles & the Tragedy, 1966-79: On August 27, 1979, in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, on the western coast of the Republic of Ireland, a massive 50lb remote-controlled bomb exploded on board the fishing boat Shadow V, killing Lord Louis Mountbatten, his grandson and two others while they were boating on holiday off the coast. Lord Mountbatten wasContinue reading “Personal Recollections of Prince Charles as Chancellor of the University of Wales, 1979-80 & Reflections on his Elevation to King Charles III.”

An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).

The Road Goes Ever on – Headington to Bournemouth: Although life retirement sometimes seemed ‘grey and grim’ to Tolkien, it also had many elements that suited him. For one thing, he and Edith, at last, had enough money. However, the tax authorities took a large proportion of his earnings, and on one occasion, Tolkien wroteContinue reading “An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).”

Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part Two – ‘Shadowy Abstractions’

There was a good stretch of time between Jack Lewis’s conversion on the way to Whipsnade and his writing of the Tales of Narnia. Throughout this time, while Tolkien was writing his Hobbit stories, Lewis was musing on the physical similarities that men and beasts have in common. This is why he felt that Kenneth Grahame, in The Wind in the Willows, made exactly the right choice in giving his principal character the form of a toad

The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.

Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:

“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”

This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:

“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “

J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham; the Formative Years, 1896-1916: Part Two (1908-16) – ‘Lang.’, Lore & Love.

Inventing Language: As a result of his insatiable love of words, Ronald started to invent his own languages. Some children have rudimentary private languages that they like to share together. This was what Ronald’s cousins Mary and Marjorie Incledon had done. They now lived outside Birmingham at Barnt Green, the neighbouring village to Rednal, andContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham; the Formative Years, 1896-1916: Part Two (1908-16) – ‘Lang.’, Lore & Love.”