The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown

Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace on 24 March 1603 at the age of 69 after a reign of 45 years. Her health had been poor from the early 1590s onwards: arthritis, gastric disorders, chronic insomnia and migraines were just some of the ailments which plagued her. Yet, uniquely among English monarchs, she refused to make provision for the succession. James I made great efforts to ensure that his escape from the Gunpowder Plot would not soon be forgotten From Tudor to Stuart is Susan Doran’s enthralling account of the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres of those who had a viable claim to succeed the Virgin Queen. The group included the Habsburg Isabella

How fears of popery led to a century of turmoil in ‘the land of fallen angels’

Stuart England did not do its anti-Catholicism by halves. In the late 1670s and early 1680s, a popular feature of London’s civic life were the annual Pope-burning pageants which took place every 17 November to commemorate the accession of Elizabeth I and the nation’s historic deliverance from the forces of international Catholicism. In 1679, one contemporary estimated that 200,000 people watched the spectacle, as a series of floats wound through London’s thronged streets bearing oversized effigies of Roman Catholic clergy, nuns, Jesuits and the Pope to be tipped into a bonfire at Temple Bar or Smithfield with lavish firework accompaniment. In some years, the Pope’s effigy would bow to the