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Woodhenge, Coneybury Henge, West Amesbury Henge

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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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RULES OF SUCCESSION
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RULES OF SUCCESSION The power and functions of the monarch have never ceased to evolve, and rules of succession have been flexed to suit the needs of the time or the demands of the ruler. The area, people and customs of the kingdom have also changed. So we cannot picture William the Conqueror wrangling with Parliament any more than we can imagine George IV leading his troops into battle.

Just as the monarch’s power and duties have changed, so have ideas about conti¬nuity. In ancient times, military leader¬ship was a vital part of kingship, so it was thought best for the Crown to pass through the male line from father to son, or from brother to brother, or (as in Scotland in the early Middle Ages) to a king’s most respected kinsman.

As the rules now stand, when a monarch has sons and daughters, the sons are first in line to inherit. The children (sons or daughters) of a monarch’s eldest son take precedence over the second son, and he and his children take precedence over a third son, and so on. Only if a monarch has no living son - and no grandchildren through a son - will that monarch be succeeded by a daughter

Queen Elizabeth II is descended from the native kings of Ireland as well as many generations of Scottish nobles. She also has links with the royal houses of France, Germany, Denmark and Spain, and - tracing that ancestry back into the mists of time - numbers among her remote forebears such historical notables as Attila the Hun, Alaric the Visigoth, crusader kings of Jerusalem and emper¬ors of Byzantium, as well as several saints, alleged witches, poets and composers!

Many of us might claim similar ancestry, if we could delve far enough into the past. The descendants of Queen Victoria already number in the hundreds, and thousands of people could trace their ancestry back to a medieval king such as Edward III. Ancestry alone does not ensure the survival of a monarchy. It must adapt to change and earn respect through staying functional, while carrying on traditions that served previous generations well.

Where reigns begin

Christians have worshipped on the site of Westminster Abbey in London since at least ad 960, when a monastic community was set up beside the River Thames. In 1065, Edward the Confessor built a large church here, intending it to be his burial-place. Most of the abbey that we see today was built for Henry III between 1220 and 1272 (column- bases from Edward’s church remain, below the west nave). Monarchs since William I in 1066 have been crowned in the abbey. Several - among them Henry V, Henry VII and Elizabeth I - are buried here.

Westminster Abbey
Most of the abbey was built for Henry III between 1220 and 1272. The two west towers were the last major features - designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1745.

RULES OF SUCCESSION


Coronation Chair
The chair made on the orders of Edward I once enclosed the Scottish Stone of Scone. Since 1308 all English kings and queens have been crowned in this chair.

RULES OF SUCCESSION


Crowning king George
The coronation of George IV in 1821, the most sumptuous crowning ceremony ever experienced by a British monarch. His estranged queen was denied access to Westminster Abbey.

RULES OF SUCCESSION


St Edward’s crown
Made for Charles II, this crown is used only at the coronation. It replaced the crown said to have been worn by Edward the Confessor.

RULES OF SUCCESSION




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