Cover image for Royal education : past, present, and future
Royal education : past, present, and future
Gordon, Peter, 1927-
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Publication Information:
London ; Portland, OR : Frank Cass, 1999.
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xiii, 286 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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LC4945.G7 G67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Many people assume that kings and queens have generally received a "good education", perhaps the best that money could buy at the time. This book investigates the reality: what is known about the education of British sovereigns from the beginning of the Tudor period to the end of the 20th century.
There have been enormous differences in the seriousness with which education was regarded at different points in history. For example Henry VIII and his children were educated at a high point in the Renaissance, when educational ideas were regarded as important as well as exciting. Queen Elizabeth I was by any standards extremely well educated; by contrast Queen Elizabeth II's education has been described as "undemanding", because her parents wanted her to have a happy childhood.
Peter Gordon and Denis Lawton have traced changes in royal education through the centuries and related them not only to educational ideas and theories, but also to changing political, social and religious contexts.
The monarchy itself has changed as an institution: from the semi-absolute authority of the Tudors to a much more limited kind of monarchy by the end of the Stuart period (after one king had been executed and another exiled) to the constitutional monarchy of the 20th century. To what extent have such changes made any difference to royal education? What is the most appropriate kind of education for future kings and queens in our present day democracy? In this book, the authors confront these and other such questions and explore some of the answers.

Author Notes

Peter Gordon is Professor Emeritus of Education and former Head of Department of History and Humanities at the Institute of Education, University of London
Denis Lawton is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

What's the best education for a future king or queen? Gordon and Lawton, both professors of education at the University of London, attempt to answer that question by surveying the instruction given British royalty from Henry VII in the 15th century to Prince William today. Over the years, ideas on education have changed along with ideas on religion, society, and politics and with the evolution of the monarchy itself. Greek, Latin, and literature were stressed early on, and for many centuries, future sovereigns had private tutors, often clergy. Eventually, "a balanced programme of physical, intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development" became the norm. Special circumstances surrounded the education of some monarchs: Mary I posed the problem of how to educate a female, and James I was more familiar with running Scottish estates than the English Parliament. This entertaining and informative book is perhaps more scholarly than most titles on the royals, but it will still attract attention. Recommended for most public libraries.√ĄTerry A. Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In eight chapters, Gordon and Lawton describe the education given to British royalty from the late-15th century until the end of the 20th century. In their first chapter the authors describe how the line of succession of English monarchs became more hereditary while their role became more symbolic. Ironically, these shifts made education more important because royalty had to learn how to act even as people's expectations changed. The middle chapters describe the education of the Tudors; the Stuarts; the Hanoverian kings; Victoria and her son, Edward VII; the education of the three 20th-century kings; and the two Elizabeths with their heirs of the contemporary period. Readers unfamiliar with British history will understand the changes because the authors provide descriptions of the transitions. The final chapter contains a list of knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of monarchs, such as an understanding of history, a sound moral education, and the ability to make decisions. Several broader descriptions of education in Britain are available. These include Brian Simon's four-volume series Studies in the History of Education (1960, rev. ed. 1981) and his Education and the Social Order, 1940-1990 (CH, Oct'91). Recommended for general readers, researchers, and faculty. J. Watras; University of Dayton

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1. Continuity and Change: The English Notion of Monarchyp. 1
2. Renaissance, Reformation and the Education of the Tudorsp. 18
3. Puritanism, Revolution and the Education of the Stuartsp. 48
4. The Education of the Hanoverian Kings in the Age of Reason: From George I to William IVp. 91
5. Victoria, Edward VII and the Debate on Educationp. 133
6. Three Twentieth-century Kings: Social Change and the Survival of the Monarchyp. 164
7. The Two Elizabeths and the Heirs to the Throne: Continuity and Traditionp. 197
8. Lessons of the Past and the Future of Royal Educationp. 233
Bibliographyp. 257
Geneaologyp. 273
Indexp. 279