Union of the Crowns

The Union of the Crowns (Scottish Gaelic: Aonadh nan Crùintean; Scots: Union o the Crouns) was the accession of James VI of Scotland to the thrones of England and Ireland, and the consequential unification for some purposes (such as overseas diplomacy) of the three realms under a single monarch on 24 March 1603. The Union of Crowns followed the death of Elizabeth I of England, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty,[1] who was James's unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed.

The Union was a personal or dynastic union, with the Crown of Scotland remaining both distinct and separate—despite James's best efforts to create a new "imperial" throne of "Great Britain". England and Scotland continued as autonomous states sharing a monarch with Ireland (with an interregnum in the 1650s during the republican unitary state of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate), until the Acts of Union of 1707 during the reign of the last Stuart monarch, Anne.[2]

Constitutional documents and events relevant to the status of the United Kingdom and its constituent countries
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government)
Treaty of Union1706
Acts of Union1707
Wales and Berwick Act1746
Irish Constitution1782
Acts of Union1800
Parliament Act1911
Government of Ireland Act1920
Anglo-Irish Treaty1921
Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act1927
Statute of Westminster1931
United Nations Act1946
Parliament Act1949
EC Treaty of Accession1972
NI (Temporary Provisions) Act1972
European Communities Act1972
Local Government Act1972
Local Government (Scotland) Act1973
NI Border Poll1973
NI Constitution Act1973
Referendum Act1975
EC Membership Referendum1975
Scotland Act1978
Wales Act1978
Scottish Devolution Referendum1979
Welsh Devolution Referendum1979
Local Government (Wales) Act1994
Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act1994
Referendums (Scotland & Wales) Act1997
Scottish Devolution Referendum1997
Welsh Devolution Referendum1997
Good Friday Agreement1998
Northern Ireland Act1998
Government of Wales Act1998
Human Rights Act1998
Scotland Act1998
Government of Wales Act2006
Northern Ireland Act2009
Welsh Devolution Referendum2011
European Union Act2011
Fixed-term Parliaments Act2011
Scotland Act2012
Edinburgh Agreement2012
Scottish Independence Referendum2014
Wales Act2014
European Union Referendum Act2015
EU Membership Referendum2016
Scotland Act2016
Wales Act2017
EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act2017
Invocation of Article 502017
European Union (Withdrawal) Act2018
EU (Withdrawal) Act2019

Early unification

In August 1503, James IV of Scotland married Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII of England, and the spirit of the new age was celebrated by the poet William Dunbar in The Thrissil and the Rois.[3] The marriage was the outcome of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, concluded the previous year, which, in theory, ended centuries of Anglo-Scottish rivalry. The marriage brought Scotland's Stuarts into England's Tudor line of succession, despite the improbability of a Scottish prince acceding the English throne at the time. However, many on the English side were concerned by the dynastic implications of matrimony, including some Privy Councillors. In countering these fears Henry VII is reputed to have said:

our realme wald receive na damage thair thorow, for in that caise Ingland wald not accress unto Scotland, bot Scotland wald acress unto Ingland, as to the most noble heid of the hole yle...evin as quhan Normandy came in the power of Inglis men our forbearis.

The peace did not last in "perpetuity"; it was disturbed in 1513 when Henry VIII of England, who had succeeded his father four years before, declared war on France. In response France invoked the terms of the Auld Alliance, her ancient bond with Scotland. James duly invaded Northern England leading to the Battle of Flodden.

In the decades that followed, England's relations with Scotland were turbulent. By the middle of Henry's reign, the problems of the royal succession, which seemed so unimportant in 1503, acquired ever bigger dimensions, when the question of Tudor fertility – or the lack thereof – entered directly into the political arena. Margaret's line was excluded from the English succession, though, during the reign of Elizabeth I concerns were once again raised. In the last decade of her reign it was clear to all that James VI of Scotland, great-grandson of James IV and Margaret, was the only generally acceptable heir.

Accession of James VI

JamesIofEngland
James VI of Scotland.
0 L'Angleterre et l'Écosse avec Minerve et l'Amour - P.P. Rubens (1)
"England and Scotland with Minerva and Love" Allegorical work of the Union of the Crowns by Peter Paul Rubens.

From 1601, in the last years of Elizabeth I's life, certain English politicians, notably her chief minister Sir Robert Cecil,[4] maintained a secret correspondence with James to prepare in advance for a smooth succession. Cecil advised James not to press the matter of the succession upon the queen but simply to treat her with kindness and respect.[5] The approach proved effective: "I trust that you will not doubt," Elizabeth wrote to James, "but that your last letters are so acceptably taken as my thanks cannot be lacking for the same, but yield them you in grateful sort."[6] In March 1603, with the queen clearly dying, Cecil sent James a draft proclamation of his accession to the English throne. Strategic fortresses were put on alert, and London placed under guard. Elizabeth died in the early hours of 24 March. Within eight hours, James was proclaimed king in London, the news received without protest or disturbance.[7][8]

On 5 April 1603, James left Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years (a promise he failed to keep, returning only once, in 1617, fourteen years after his initial departure),[7] and progressed slowly from town to town, in order to arrive in the capital after Elizabeth's funeral.[7] Local lords received James with lavish hospitality along the route; and James's new subjects flocked to see him, relieved above all that the succession had triggered neither unrest nor invasion.[9] As James entered London, he was mobbed. The crowds of people, one observer reported, were so great that "they covered the beauty of the fields; and so greedy were they to behold the King that they injured and hurt one another."[10] James's English coronation took place on 25 July, with elaborate allegories provided by dramatic poets such as Thomas Dekker and Ben Jonson, though the festivities had to be restricted because of an outbreak of the plague.[11] Nevertheless, all London turned out for the occasion: "The streets seemed paved with men," wrote Dekker. "Stalls instead of rich wares were set out with children, open casements filled up with women".[12]

Whatever residual fears many in England may have felt at the prospect of being ruled by a Scot, James's arrival aroused a mood of high expectation. The twilight years of Elizabeth had been a disappointment; and for a nation troubled for so many years by the question of succession, the new king was a family man who already had male heirs in the wing. But James's honeymoon was of very short duration; and his initial political actions were to do much to create the rather negative tone which was to turn a successful Scottish king into a disappointing English one. The greatest and most obvious of these was the question of his exact status and title. James intended to be King of Great Britain and Ireland. His first obstacle along this imperial road was the attitude of the English Parliament.

In his first speech to his southern assembly on 19 March 1604 James gave a clear statement of the royal manifesto:

What God hath conjoined let no man separate. I am the husband and the whole isle is my lawful wife; I am the head and it is my body; I am the shepherd and it is my flock. I hope therefore that no man will think that I, a Christian King under the Gospel, should be a polygamist and husband to two wives; that I being the head should have a divided or monstrous body or that being the shepherd to so fair a flock should have my flock parted in two.[13]

Parliament may very well have rejected polygamy; but the marriage, if marriage it was, between the realms of England and Scotland was to be at best morganatic. James's ambitions were greeted with very little enthusiasm, as one by one MPs rushed to defend the ancient name and realm of England. All sorts of legal objections were raised: all laws would have to be renewed and all treaties renegotiated. For James, whose experience of parliaments was limited to the stage-managed and semi-feudal Scottish variety, the self-assurance — and obduracy — of the English version, which had long experience of upsetting monarchs, was an obvious shock. He decided to side-step the whole issue by unilaterally assuming the title of King of Great Britain by a Proclamation concerning the Kings Majesties Stile on 20 October 1604 announcing that he did "assume to Our selfe by the cleerenesse of our Right, The Name and Stile of KING OF GREAT BRITTAINE, FRANCE AND IRELAND, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, &c." .[14] This only deepened the offence. Even in Scotland there was little real enthusiasm for the project, though the two parliaments were eventually prodded into taking the whole matter 'under consideration'. Consider it they did for several years, never drawing the desired conclusion.

Opposition to the union

In Scotland there were early signs that many saw the risk of the "lesser being drawn by the greater", as Henry VII once predicted. An example before Scottish eyes was the case of Ireland, a kingdom in name, but – since 1601 – a subject nation in practice. John Russell, lawyer and writer, an initial enthusiast for "the happie and blissed Unioun betuixt the tua ancienne realmes of Scotland and Ingland" was later to warn James:

Lett it not begyne vith ane comedie, and end in ane tragedie; to be ane verball unioun in disparitie nor reall in conformity…thairby, to advance the ane kingdome, to great honor and beccome forȝetfull of the uther, sua to mak the samyn altogidder solitat and desoltat qhilk cannot stand vith your Majestie's honor. As god hes heichlie advanceit your Majestie lett Scotland qhilk is ȝour auldest impyir be partakeris of ȝour blissings.

These fears were echoed by the Scottish Parliament. Its members were telling the king that they were "confident" that his plans for an incorporating union would not prejudice the ancient laws and liberties of Scotland; for any such hurt would mean that "it culd no more be a frie monarchie". James attempted to reassure his new English subjects that the new union would be much like that between England and Wales, and that if Scotland should refuse "he would compel their assents, having a stronger party there than the opposite party of the mutineers". In June 1604 the two national parliaments passed acts appointing commissioners to explore the possibility of "a more perfect union". James closed the final session of his first parliament with a rebuke to his opponents in the House of Commons — "Here all things suspected...He merits to be buried in the bottom of the sea that shall but think of separation, where God had made such a Union".

The Union Commission made some limited progress, on discrete issues such as hostile border laws, trade and citizenship: the borders were to become the "middle shires". Free trade proved contentious, as did the issue of equal rights before the law. Fears were openly expressed in the Westminster Parliament that English jobs would be threatened by all the poor people of the realm of Scotland, who will "draw near to the Sonn, and flocking hither in such Multitudes, that death and dearth is very probable to ensue". The exact status of the post nati, those born after the Union of March 1603, was not decided by Parliament, but in the courts by Calvin's Case (1608), which extended property rights to all the King's subjects in English common law.

National animosity

Scottish aristocrats and other place seekers made their way to London, to compete for high positions in government. Several years later Sir Anthony Weldon was to write that

Scotland was too guid for those that inhabit it, and too bad for others to be at the charge of conquering it. The ayre might be wholesome, but for the stinking people that inhabit it...Thair beastis be generallie small (women excepted) of which sort there are no greater in the world.

A wounding observation came in the comedy Eastward Ho, a collaboration between Ben Jonson, George Chapman and John Marston. In enthusing over the good life to be had in the colony of Virginia it is observed:

And then you shal live freely there, without Sergeants, or Courtiers, or Lawyers, or Intelligencers – onely a few industrious Scots perhaps, who indeed are disperst over the face of the whole earth. But as for them, there are no greater friends of Englishmen and England, when they are out an't, in the world, then they are. And for my part, I would a hundred thousand of them were there, for wee are all one Countrymen now, yee know; and wee shoulde finde ten times more comfort of them there, then wee do here.

Anti-English satires proliferated, and in 1609 the king had an act passed, promising the direst penalties against the writers of "pasquillis, libellis, rymis, cockalanis, comedies and sicklyk occasiones whereby they slander and maligne and revile the estait and countrey of England..."

In October 1605 the Venetian ambassador in London noted "the question of the Union will, I am assured, be dropped; for His Majesty is now well aware that nothing can be effected, both sides displaying such obstinacy that an accommodation is impossible; and so his Majesty is resolved to abandon the question for the present, in hope that time may consume the ill-humours."

Symbols of the union

King James devised new coats of arms and a uniform coinage. The creation of a national flag proved contentious, designs acceptable to one side typically offending the other. James finally proclaimed the new Union Flag on 12 April 1606: Scots who saw in it a St. George's Cross superimposed upon a St. Andrew's Saltire sought to create their own 'Scotch' design which saw the reverse superimposition take place. (This design was used in Scotland until 1707.) For years afterwards vessels of the two nations continued to fly their respective "flags", the royal proclamation notwithstanding. The Union Flag only entered into common use under Cromwell's Protectorate.

Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland

Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland, 1565–1603.

Royal Arms of England (1399-1603)

Arms of the Kingdom of England, 1558–1603.

Arms of Ireland (historical)

Arms of the Kingdom of Ireland, 1541–1603.

Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland (1603-1707)

Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland, 1603–1707.

Royal Arms of England (1603-1707)

Arms of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland, 1603–1707.

Flag of Scotland

The flag of the Kingdom of Scotland.

Flag of England

The flag of the Kingdom of England.

Union Jack 1606 Scotland

Union Flag used in the Kingdom of Scotland from the early 17th century to 1707.

Flag of Great Britain (1707–1800)

Union Flag used in the Kingdom of England, 1606–1707.

Union of the Crowns Royal Badge

The Tudor rose dimidiated with the Scottish thistle, James used this device as a royal heraldic badge.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ John Daniel McVey. "The Union of The Crowns 1603 - 2003". Uotc.scran.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  2. ^ David Lawrence Smith, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1603–1707: The Double Crown (1998), Chapter 2
  3. ^ Conlee, John (ed.) (2004). William Dunbar: The Complete Works. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2007.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ James described Cecil as "king there in effect". Croft, p 48.
  5. ^ Cecil wrote that James should "secure the heart of the highest, to whose sex and quality nothing is so improper as either needless expostulations or over much curiosity in her own actions, the first showing unquietness in yourself, the second challenging some untimely interest in hers; both which are best forborne." Willson, pp 154–155.
  6. ^ Willson, p 155.
  7. ^ a b c Croft, p 49
  8. ^ Willson, p 158
  9. ^ Croft, p 50.
  10. ^ Stewart, p 169.
  11. ^ Stewart, p 172.
  12. ^ Stewart, p 173.
  13. ^ James I, speech to the Westminster parliament, 19 March 1603, e.g. in King James VI and I: Political Writings, ed. Johann Sommerville, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995, 132–46, here 136.
  14. ^ Francois Velde. "Royal Arms, Styles and Titles of Great Britain". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 25 October 2013.

References and further reading

Brown, Keith M. (1994). "The vanishing emperor: British kingship and its decline, 1603–1707". In Roger A. Mason (ed.) (ed.). Scots and Britons: Scottish Political Thought and the Union of 1603. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-42034-1.CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
Croft, Pauline (2003). King James. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-61395-3.
Ferguson, William (1977). Scotland's Relations with England: A Survey to 1707. Edinburgh: J. Donald. ISBN 978-0-85976-022-5.
Galloway, Bruce (1986). The Union of England and Scotland, 1603–1608. Edinburgh: J. Donald. ISBN 978-0-85976-143-7.
Galloway, Bruce, & Levack, Brian, ed., (1985) The Jacobean Union, Six tracts of 1604, Edinburgh, Scottish History Society. ISBN 0-906245-06-0
Lee, Maurice, Jr. (2003). The "Inevitable" Union and Other Essays on Early Modern Scotland. East Linton, East Lothian: Tuckwell Press. ISBN 978-1-86232-107-6.
Marshall, T. (July 2005). "United We Stand?". BBC History Magazine.
Mason, Roger A. (ed.) (1987). Scotland and England, 1286–1815. Edinburgh: J. Donald. ISBN 978-0-85976-177-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Stewart, Alan (2003). The Cradle King: A Life of James VI and I. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-6984-8.
Willson, David Harris ([1956] 1963 ed). King James VI & 1. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd. ISBN 0-224-60572-0.
Wormald, Jenny (1994). "The Union of 1603", in Scots and Britons, op cit.

External links

Anglo-Scottish Wars

The Anglo-Scottish Wars comprise the various battles which continued to be fought between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland from the time of the Wars of Independence in the early 14th century through to the latter years of the 16th century.

Although the Wars of Independence, in which Scotland twice resisted attempted conquest by Plantagenet kings of England, formally ended in the treaties of 1328 and 1357 respectively, relations between the two countries remained uneasy. Incursions by English kings into Scotland continued under Richard II and Henry IV and informal cross-border conflict remained endemic. Formal flashpoints on the border included places remaining under English occupation, such as Roxburgh Castle or the port of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Roxburgh was recaptured by the Scots in 1460 under Mary of Guelders after the death of James II in the same campaign. Similarly, possession of Berwick changed hands a number of times, as one country attempted to take advantage of weakness or instability in the other, culminating in final capture for the English of the Scottish port by Richard, Duke of Gloucester in 1482.

England's preoccupation with civil war during the Wars of the Roses may have been a component in the period of relative recovery for her northern neighbour during the course of the 15th century, and by the first decade of the 16th century James IV of Scotland and Henry VII of England were making overtures for lasting peace. This broke down after the accession of the more overtly bellicose Henry VIII to the English throne and James IV's catastrophically misjudged incursion into Northumbria in 1513 ending in the Battle of Flodden. Three decades later, after the death of James V in 1542, the so-called 'rough wooing' at the hands of invading English armies under the Earl of Hertford brought manifest depredations to Scotland. The last pitched battle between Scotland and England as independent states was the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in September 1547. Periods of fighting and conflict nevertheless continued.

France also played a key role throughout the period of the Anglo-Scottish Wars. Scots and English soldiers on French soil during the Hundred Years War (1337–1453) generally fought on opposing sides, with the Scots standing for the French against the English under the Auld Alliance. France in later periods, in turn, often intervened on Scottish soil for the Scots. This French involvement had increasingly complex political consequences for all sides by the later 16th century.

The Anglo-Scottish Wars can formally be said to have ended with the Union of the Crowns in 1603, wherein England and Scotland entered a personal union under James VI and I, who inherited both crowns. Bloody conflict between the two states nevertheless continued to arise in different and more complex guise throughout the course of the 17th century.

Baron of Renfrew (title)

Baron of Renfrew is a dignity held by the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. It was held by the Scottish heir apparent beginning in 1404. It is closely associated with the title Duke of Rothesay. An act of the Scottish Parliament passed in 1469 confirmed the pattern of succession. Renfrew, a town near Glasgow, is sometimes called the "cradle of the royal Stewarts."

In Scotland, barons hold feudal titles, not peerages: a Scottish lord of Parliament equates to an English or British baron. Some, however, claim that the Act of 1469 effectively elevated the Barony of Renfrew to the dignity of a peerage. Others suggest that the barony became a peerage upon the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Finally, some scholars argue that the uncertainty surrounding the text of the 1469 Act leaves the barony as only a feudal dignity, not a peerage dignity. The title of Lord Renfrew was used by the traveling Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII and Prince Edward, Duke of Rothesay, later King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor, when he traveled in a private capacity or when he wished to pay visits 'incognito'.

Crown Court Church

A Scottish Presbyterian congregation was first established in London during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scots, following the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Some of his Scottish courtiers worshipped in a chapel near the old Whitehall Palace at the diplomatic site as “Scotland Yard” and later provided the original headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police.

More tangible records date from 1711, when Crown Court Church was established near Covent Garden. The church was extensively rebuilt in 1909, but remained on the same site. The exterior of the church is scarcely visible as it shares walls with neighbouring buildings, whilst the interior retains a 17th-century feel (despite the early 20th-century rebuilding work.) The church is named after a small courtyard adjacent to its location, but is also known as the "Kirk of the Crown of Scotland".

Crown Court Church is the older of the two Church of Scotland congregations in London, the other being St Columba's in Pont Street, Knightsbridge. The church entrance is difficult to find, but is located in Russell Street, off Covent Garden, next to the Fortune Theatre and opposite the Theatre Royal.

The Reverend Philip Majcher (formerly a chaplain in the British Army) was inducted as the new minister on 18 December 2007. The previous minister, the Reverend Sigrid Marten, moved to London Road Church, Edinburgh.

Flag of Nova Scotia

Created in 1858, the flag of Nova Scotia is a banner of the coat of arms of Nova Scotia, which were granted to the Scottish colony by King Charles I in 1625.

The flag of the modern Canadian province, a blue saltire on a white field (background), is a simple figure-ground reversal of the flag of Scotland (a white saltire, Saint Andrew's cross, on a blue field), charged with an inescutcheon bearing the royal arms of Scotland, a gold shield with a red lion rampant surrounded by a loyal double tressure (a double border decorated with fleurs de lis).

The similarity to the Scottish flag reflects the province's name, which is Latin for "New Scotland". Nova Scotia was one of the few British colonies to be granted its own coat of arms, and the flag is the only one of the original Canadian provinces dating back to before confederation.

Despite continuous usage of the flag to represent Nova Scotia since 1858, the flag was only recognized by the provincial government of Nova Scotia as the official provincial flag in May 2013, through the Provincial Flag Act, after an eleven-year-old girl researching a project realized that no one had recognized the flag officially in 155 years of usage.The flag is ranked #12 in the North American Vexillological Association's survey of North American state and provincial flags.

Great Seal of the Realm

The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (known prior to the Treaty of Union of 1707 as the Great Seal of Great Britain and the Great Seal of Ireland; and from then until the Union of 1801 as the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents.

Scotland has had her own great seal since the 14th century. The Acts of Union 1707, joining the kingdoms of Scotland and England, provide for the use of a single Great Seal for the united kingdoms. However, it also provides for the continued use of a separate Scottish seal to be used there (this seal continues to be called the "Great Seal of Scotland" though it is not technically one). The Welsh Seal was introduced in 2011.

Sealing wax is melted in a metal mould or matrix and impressed into a wax figure that is attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the Monarch wishes to make official.

The formal keeper of the seal is the Lord High Chancellor.

History of the formation of the United Kingdom

The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have been established in Great Britain at different periods in history, in different combinations and under a variety of polities. Norman Davies has counted sixteen different states over the past 2,000 years.By the start of the 16th century, the number of states in Great Britain had been reduced to two: the Kingdom of England (which included Wales and controlled Ireland) and the Kingdom of Scotland. The once independent Principality of Wales fell under the control of English monarchs from the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284. The Union of Crowns in 1603, the accidental consequence of a royal marriage one hundred years earlier, united the kingdoms in a personal union, though full political union in the form of the Kingdom of Great Britain required a Treaty of Union in 1706 and Acts of Union in 1707 (to ratify the Treaty).

The Act of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland, which had been gradually brought under English control between 1541 and 1691, to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. Independence for the Irish Free State in 1922 followed the partition of the island of Ireland two years previously, with six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster remaining within the UK, which then changed to the current name in 1927 of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In the 20th century, the rise of Welsh and Scottish nationalism and resolution of the Troubles in Ireland resulted in the establishment of devolved parliaments or assemblies for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

House of Stuart

The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a European royal house of Scotland with Breton origin. They had held the office of High Steward of Scotland since Walter FitzAlan in around 1150. The royal Stewart line was founded by Robert II whose descendants were kings and queens of Scotland from 1371 until the union with England in 1707. Mary, Queen of Scots was brought up in France where she adopted the French spelling of the name Stuart.

In 1503, James IV married Margaret Tudor, thus linking the royal houses of Scotland and England. Elizabeth I of England died without issue in 1603, and James IV's great grandson James VI of Scotland succeed the thrones of England and Ireland as James I in the Union of the Crowns. The Stuarts were monarchs of the British Isles and its growing empire until the death of Queen Anne in 1714, except for the period of the Commonwealth between 1649 and 1660.In total, nine Stewart/Stuart monarchs ruled Scotland alone from 1371 until 1603. The last ruler of Scotland alone was James VI, who became the first dual monarch of England and Scotland in 1603. Two Stuart queens ruled the isles following the Glorious Revolution in 1688: Mary II and Anne. Both were the Protestant daughters of James VII and II by his first wife Anne Hyde and the great-grandchildren of James VI and I. Their father had converted to Catholicism and his new wife gave birth to a son in 1688, who was brought up a Roman Catholic and preceded his half-sisters; so James was deposed by Parliament in 1689, in favour of his daughters. But neither had any children who survived to adulthood, so the crown passed to the House of Hanover on the death of Queen Anne in 1714 under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Act of Security 1704.

Kingdom of Aragon

The Kingdom of Aragon (Aragonese: Reino d'Aragón, Catalan: Regne d'Aragó, Latin: Regnum Aragonum, Spanish: Reino de Aragón) was a medieval and early modern kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain. It should not be confused with the larger Crown of Aragon, that also included other territories — the Principality of Catalonia (which included the County of Barcelona and the other Catalan Counties), the Kingdom of Valencia, the Kingdom of Majorca, and other possessions that are now part of France, Italy, and Greece — that were also under the rule of the King of Aragon, but were administered separately from the Kingdom of Aragon.

In 1479, upon John II of Aragon’s death, the crowns of Aragon and Castile were united to form the nucleus of modern Spain. The Aragonese lands, however, retained autonomous parliamentary and administrative institutions, such as the Corts, until the Nueva Planta decrees, promulgated between 1707 and 1715 by Philip V of Spain in the aftermath of the War of the Spanish Succession, finally put an end to it.

Kingdom of Castile

The Kingdom of Castile (; Spanish: Reino de Castilla, Latin: Regnum Castellae) was a large and powerful state located on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It began in the 9th century as the County of Castile (Condado de Castilla), an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. During the 10th century its counts increased their autonomy, but it was not until 1065 that it was separated from León and became a kingdom in its own right. Between 1072 and 1157 it was again united with León, and after 1230 this union became permanent. Throughout this period the Castilian kings made extensive conquests in southern Iberia at the expense of the Islamic principalities. Castile and León, with their southern acquisitions, came to be known collectively as the Crown of Castile, a term that also came to encompass overseas expansion.

List of British monarchs by longevity

This is a list of British monarchs by longevity since the Union of the Crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1603. To maintain consistency within the table, the dates of birth and death for each monarch are given in New Style. Two measures of the longevity are given—this is to allow for the differing number of leap days occurring within the life of each monarch. The first column is the number of days between date of birth and date of death, allowing for leap days; the second column breaks this number down into years, and days, with the years being the number of whole years the monarch lived, and then days after his or her last birthday. Elizabeth II (queen since 6 February 1952), is the longest lived British sovereign.

*Updated daily according to UTC. While Queen Victoria lived for only 4 days more than George III in terms of years and days format, she actually lived for five days more because there were 20 leap days during Victoria's life and only 19 leap days during the life of George III.

If Charles, Prince of Wales, were to accede to the throne, he would immediately be ranked 8th with an age of 70 years, 152 days. If instead his son, William, Duke of Cambridge, were to accede any time before September 2030, he would be ranked 18th.

Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland

The Lord High Commissioners to the Parliament of Scotland, sometimes referred to as the fifth estate of the Estates of Scotland, were the Scottish Sovereign's personal representative to the Parliament of Scotland following James VI of Scotland's accession to the throne of England and his becoming, in personal union, James I, the first Stuart king of England (see Union of the Crowns).

The Lord High Commissioners were appointed from 1603 until 1707. The Act of Union 1707, which merged the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England to create the Parliament of Great Britain, rendered the post redundant.

They were effectively the heads of government in Scotland during this period, exercising de facto control over the Estates and the Privy Council, although nominally this role was still held by the Lord Chancellor.

Royal Arms of Scotland

The royal arms of Scotland is the official coat of arms of the King of Scots first adopted in the 12th century. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI inherited the thrones of England and Ireland and thus his arms in Scotland were now quartered with the arms of England (which was itself quartered with France) with an additional quarter for Ireland also added (the arms would continue to alter in later years). Though the kingdoms of England and Scotland would share the same monarch, the distinction in heraldry used in both kingdoms was maintained. When the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain, no single arms were created and instead, the royal arms as used in either Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would continue to differ.

Poetically described as "the ruddy lion ramping in his field of tressured gold", the arms are still widely used today as a symbol of Scotland, and are quartered in the royal arms of Queen Elizabeth II along with the arms of England and Ireland.

The arms in banner form is still used by various officials in Scotland and is called the Royal Banner, or more commonly, the Lion Rampant.

Royal badges of England

In heraldry, the royal badges of England comprise the heraldic badges that were used by the monarchs of the Kingdom of England.

Heraldic badges are distinctive to a person or family, similar to the arms and the crest. But unlike them, the badge is not an integral component of a coat of arms, although they can be displayed alongside them. Badges are in fact complete and independent and can be displayed alone. Furthermore, unlike the arms and crest, which are personal devices that could only be displayed by the owner, the badge could be easily borne by others, in the form of a cognizance or livery badge, to be worn by retainers and adherents. Badges are displayed on standards and personal objects, as well as on private and public buildings to show ownership or patronage.

Royal coat of arms of Great Britain

The Royal coat of arms of Great Britain was the coat of arms representing royal authority in the sovereign state of the Kingdom of Great Britain, in existence from 1707 to 1801. The kingdom came into being on 1 May 1707, with the political union of the kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of England, which included Wales. With the 1706 Treaty of Union (ratified by the Acts of Union 1707), it was agreed to create a single kingdom, encompassing the whole of the island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, but not Ireland, which remained a separate realm under the newly created British crown.

On 1 January 1801, the royal arms of Great Britain were superseded by those of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, when Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland by the Acts of Union of 1800 following the suppression of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Scottish Marches

Scottish Marches was the term used for the Anglo-Scottish border during the late medieval and early modern eras, characterised by violence and cross-border raids. The Scottish Marches era came to an end during the first decade of the 17th century following the union of the crowns of England and Scotland.

Scottish coinage

From c.1124 until 1709 the coinage of Scotland was unique, and minted locally. A wide variety of coins, such as the plack, bodle, bawbee, dollar and ryal were produced over that time. For trading purposes coins of Northumbria and various other places had been used before that time; and since 1709 those of the Kingdom of Great Britain, and then of the UK.

Treaty of Greenwich

The Treaty of Greenwich (also known as the Treaties of Greenwich) contained two agreements both signed on 1 July 1543 in Greenwich between representatives of England and Scotland. The accord, overall, entailed a plan developed by Henry VIII of England to unite both kingdoms (i.e. Union of the Crowns). The first sub-treaty helped to establish peace between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. The second sub-treaty was a marriage proposal between Edward VI of England and Mary, Queen of Scots. In this part of the treaty, it was agreed that Mary would be accompanied by an English nobleman/gentleman (and his wife) until she was ten years old. Afterwards, Mary would reside in England until the time of her marriage. Also, the Treaty of Greenwich permitted the Kingdom of Scotland to maintain its laws. Even though the Earl of Arran signed the accord on 1 July and ratified it on 25 August 1543, the Treaty of Greenwich was ultimately rejected by the Parliament of Scotland on 11 December 1543, leading to eight years of Anglo-Scottish conflict known as the Rough Wooing.

Treaty of Perpetual Peace

The Treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed by James IV of Scotland and Henry VII of England in 1502. It agreed to end the intermittent warfare between Scotland and England which had been waged over the previous two hundred years and although it failed in this respect, as the hostility continued intermittently throughout the 16th century, it led to the Union of the Crowns 101 years later.

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