Monarchy and the End of Empire

Monarchy and the End of Empire : The House of Windsor, the British Government, and the Postwar Commonwealth

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By the early twentieth century it was becoming clear that the Empire was falling apart. The British government promoted the Crown as a counterbalance to the forces drawing the Empire apart, but when India declared their intent to become a republic in the late 1940s, Britain had to accept that allegiance to the Crown could no longer be the common factor binding the Commonwealth together. They devised the notion of the Headship of the Commonwealth, enabling India to
remain in the Commonwealth while continuing to give the monarchy a pivotal symbolic role. Monarchy and the End of Empire provides a unique insight on the triangular relationship between the British government, the Palace, and the modern Commonwealth since 1945.

In the years of rapid decolonization which followed 1945 it became clear that this elaborate constitutional infrastructure posed significant problems for British foreign policy. Not only did it offer opportunities for the monarch to act without ministerial advice, it also tied the British government to what many within the UK had begun to regard as a largely redundant institution. Philip Murphy employs a large amount of previously-unpublished documentary evidence to argue that the monarchy's
relationship with the Commonwealth, initially promoted by the UK as a means of strengthening Imperial ties, had increasingly become an impediment to British foreign policy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 162 x 237 x 22mm | 560g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 maps, 16-page plate section
  • 0199214239
  • 9780199214235
  • 692,900

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements ; 1. The Holy Family: an introduction ; 2. 'The Pivot of Empire': Monarchy and the Commonwealth, 1918-1945 ; 3. 'A Common Act of Will': The Making of the New Commonwealth, 1945-1952 ; 4. 'A Personal and Living Bond': Accession, Coronation, and Commonwealth Tour, 1952-1954 ; 5. Winds of Change and the Royal Family ; 6. 'A poor sort of courtesy to Her Majesty': Republics, Realms and Rebels, 1960-1970 ; 7. 'A Fragile Flower': Britain and the Headship of the Commonwealth ; 8. 'A Royal Duty': Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings in the 1970s ; 9. 'De-Dominionisation' in the 1970s ; 10. 'On Her Own': The Queen and the Commonwealth in the 1980s ; 11. The Fall and Rise of the Royal Commonwealth ; Bibliography
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Review quote

Monarchy and the End of Empire is a traditional political study that examines in detail the dynamic relationships between and among the palace, Whitehall, and Commonwealth governments. This political focus is its greatest strength, as Murphy researches and writes this kind of history exceedingly well ... Murphy has thus provided not only a monograph that enriches and gives texture to our understanding of monarchy and Commonwealth but also one that
demonstrates a need for more work on these topics, if we are to ever fully understand the process and results of decolonization. * Charles V. Reed, H-Albion * This is a solidly researched and well-argued book on a neglected subject that has the additional virtue of being entertaining. It deserves a wide readership. * Wm. Roger Louis, English Historical Review * splendid * Peter Boyce, American Historical Review * Philip Murphy's book makes a strong case for the importance of analysing the role, self-image, and global perception of the monarchy in any book about British politics or foreign policy in the twentieth century ... an interesting, well-written, and extremely important contribution to the fields of British royal, political, imperial, and commonwealth history. * Charlotte Lydia Riley, 20th Century British History * Professor Murphy's book by a country mile the most important and well-informed to have been written about the contemporary British monarchy * Peter Oborne, The Telegraph * a carefully researched and beautifully presented book that chronicles the relationship between the monarchy, the UK government, and the decolonisation of the British Empire * Ruth Craggs, Reviews in History *
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About Philip Murphy

Philip Murphy is Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Professor of British and Commonwealth History at the University of London. He graduated with a doctorate from the University of Oxford and taught at the Universities of Keele and Reading before taking up his current post. He has published extensively on twentieth century British and imperial history and the history of the British intelligence community. He is the author of Party Politics and
Decolonization: The Conservative Party and British Colonial Policy in Tropical Africa 1951-1964 (1995) and Alan Lennox-Boyd: A Biography (1999), and the editor of British Documents on the End of Empire: Central Africa (2005). He is also co-editor of The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth
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