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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
royal house

The beginnings of a royal house in Great Britain can be traced back to the *Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the 8C, followed by the emergence in the 9C of *Alfred the Great as the first man who could lay claim to be king of the English. The entire English kingdom fell for a while to the *Danes (1016–42) and was conquered from 1066 by the *Normans.

The present royal house descends in an unbroken line from the house of *Normandy. The marriage of the Norman princess *Matilda led to the rule of the house of *Plantagenet. *Wales was incorporated within this royal house once *Edward I had conquered the principality in the late 13C and established his son as the *Prince of Wales. By the 15C rival Plantagenet branches, the houses of *Lancaster and *York, were fighting the internecine *Wars of the Roses. But at the end of that century the house of *Tudor healed the breach and introduced a period of strong centralized control.

By now *Ireland too was a possession of the English crown. Irish chieftains had first done homage to *Henry II in the 12C; but it was not until the 16C that England was strong enough to dominate her smaller neighbour. And in 1603 Scotland became linked through the *union of the crowns, when the house of *Stuart (see the *royal house of Scotland) inherited the English throne. For the first time all parts of the British Isles were ruled by a single monarch, though in the form of three separate kingdoms – England (including the principality of Wales), Scotland and Ireland. They were eventually merged into a single country through the Acts of *Union.

Fears of a return to Roman Catholicism caused the *Revolution of 1688 and subsequently the change to the house of *Hanover; Queen Victoria's marriage introduced the brief house of *Saxe-Coburg & Gotha; and that in turn was transformed in the face of anti-German sentiment into the present house of *Windsor. Since the independence of the republic of Ireland in 1921, the realm has been the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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