By Lesley M. Smith
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Extra resources for The Making of Britain: The Age of Expansion
No wonder they disliked the Scots intensely. And now this inferior and profoundly irritating little nation was likely to provide the next king of England, all because their own great queen had resisted their most reasonable and repeated requests that she should marry and produce a Tudor heir. It was a bitter pill for a people famed for pride in their nationality that the succession should be thus diverted to the descendant of Henry VII'S elder daughter Margaret, who had married James IV of Scotland in 1503.
Not even under the Tudors, when Sir Thomas Smith, Queen Elizabeth's secretary of state, could conclude his discussion of the constitutional powers of the monarch with this ringing declaration: To be short, the prince is the life, the head, and the authority of all things that be done in the realm of England. And to no prince is done more honour and reverence than to the king and queen of England: no man speaketh to the prince nor serveth at the table but in adoration and kneeling. 1 'Adoration and kneeling': it is a treatment we reserve for God.
Yet both attitudes presented dangers to the crown. Obviously so, with the steadily advancing tide of corruption which created resentment from those who did not benefit and even from those who did not benefit as much as others. 23 But, ironically, the greater potential danger came from the elevated notion of state service. So long as there was a monarch such as Elizabeth, whose personality made her the fitting embodiment of the state and whose policies did not challenge too strongly the dominant interest groups within it, all was well.
The Making of Britain: The Age of Expansion by Lesley M. Smith