|Treaty of Union||1706|
|Acts of Union||1707|
|Wales and Berwick Act||1746|
|Acts of Union||1800|
|Government of Ireland Act||1920|
|Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act||1927|
|Statute of Westminster||1931|
|United Nations Act||1946|
|EC Treaty of Accession||1972|
|NI (Temporary Provisions) Act||1972|
|European Communities Act||1972|
|Local Government Act||1972|
|Local Government (Scotland) Act||1973|
|NI Border Poll||1973|
|NI Constitution Act||1973|
|EC Membership Referendum||1975|
|Scottish Devolution Referendum||1979|
|Welsh Devolution Referendum||1979|
|Local Government (Wales) Act||1994|
|Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act||1994|
|Referendums (Scotland & Wales) Act||1997|
|Scottish Devolution Referendum||1997|
|Welsh Devolution Referendum||1997|
|Good Friday Agreement||1998|
|Northern Ireland Act||1998|
|Government of Wales Act||1998|
|Human Rights Act||1998|
|Government of Wales Act||2006|
|Northern Ireland Act||2009|
|Welsh Devolution Referendum||2011|
|European Union Act||2011|
|Fixed-term Parliaments Act||2011|
|Scottish Independence Referendum||2014|
|European Union Referendum Act||2015|
|EU Membership Referendum||2016|
|EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act||2017|
|Invocation of Article 50||2017|
|European Union (Withdrawal) Act||2018|
The Union of the Crowns (Scottish Gaelic : Aonadh nan Crùintean; Scots : Union o the Crouns) was the accession of James VI of Scotland to the thrones of England and Ireland, and the consequential unification for some purposes (such as overseas diplomacy) of the three realms under a single monarch on 24 March 1603. The Union of Crowns followed the death of Elizabeth I of England, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, who was James's unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed.
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language which was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century. The Scots language developed during the Middle English period as a distinct entity.
A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown upon a monarch's head. The term generally also refers not only to the physical crowning but to the whole ceremony wherein the act of crowning occurs, along with the presentation of other items of regalia, marking the formal investiture of a monarch with regal power. Aside from the crowning, a coronation ceremony may comprise many other rituals such as the taking of special vows by the monarch, the investing and presentation of regalia to the monarch, and acts of homage by the new ruler's subjects and the performance of other ritual deeds of special significance to the particular nation. Western-style coronations have often included anointing the monarch with holy oil, or chrism as it is often called; the anointing ritual's religious significance follows examples found in the Bible. The monarch's consort may also be crowned, either simultaneously with the monarch or as a separate event.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The Union was a personal or dynastic union, with the Crown of Scotland remaining both distinct and separate—despite James's best efforts to create a new "imperial" throne of "Great Britain". England and Scotland continued as autonomous states sharing a monarch with Ireland (with an interregnum in the 1650s during the republican unitary state of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate), until the Acts of Union of 1707 during the reign of the last Stuart monarch, Anne.
A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.
A dynastic union is a kind of federation with only two different states that are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It differs from a personal union in that a personal union is under a monarch, but not under a dynasty, although it depends on the country.
The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can also refer to the rule of law; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of government and the civil service.
In August 1503, James IV of Scotland married Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII of England, and the spirit of the new age was celebrated by the poet William Dunbar in The Thrissil and the Rois .The marriage was the outcome of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, concluded the previous year, which, in theory, ended centuries of Anglo-Scottish rivalry. The marriage brought Scotland's Stuarts into England's Tudor line of succession, despite the improbability of a Scottish prince acceding the English throne at the time. However, many on the English side were concerned by the dynastic implications of matrimony, including some Privy Councillors. In countering these fears Henry VII is reputed to have said:
James IV was the King of Scotland from 11 June 1488 to his death. He assumed the throne following the death of his father, King James III, at the Battle of Sauchieburn, a rebellion in which the younger James played an indirect role. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended in a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden. He was the last monarch not only from Scotland, but from all of Great Britain, to be killed in battle.
Margaret Tudor was Queen of Scots from 1503 until 1513 by marriage to James IV of Scotland and then, after her husband died fighting the English, she became regent for their son James V of Scotland from 1513 until 1515. She was born at Westminster Palace as the eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and granddaughter of Margaret Beaufort, Edward IV of England and Queen Elizabeth Woodville. Margaret Tudor had several pregnancies, but most of her children died young or were stillborn. As queen dowager she married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. Through her first and second marriages, respectively, Margaret was the grandmother of both Mary, Queen of Scots, and Mary's second husband, Lord Darnley. Margaret's marriage in 1503 to James IV linked the royal houses of England and Scotland, which a century later resulted in the Union of the Crowns. Upon his ascent to the English throne, Margaret's great-grandson, James VI and I, was the first person to be monarch of both Scotland and England.
Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death on 21 April 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.
our realme wald receive na damage thair thorow, for in that caise Ingland wald not accress unto Scotland, bot Scotland wald acress unto Ingland, as to the most noble heid of the hole yle...evin as quhan Normandy came in the power of Inglis men our forbearis.
The peace did not last in "perpetuity"; it was disturbed in 1513 when Henry VIII of England, who had succeeded his father four years before, declared war on France. In response France invoked the terms of the Auld Alliance, her ancient bond with Scotland. James duly invaded Northern England leading to the Battle of Flodden.
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.
The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.
The Auld Alliance was an alliance made in 1295 between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. The alliance was formed for the purpose of controlling England's numerous invasions. The Scots word auld, meaning old, has become a partly affectionate term for the long-lasting alliance between the two countries. It remained until the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560.
In the decades that followed, England's relations with Scotland were turbulent. By the middle of Henry's reign, the problems of the royal succession, which seemed so unimportant in 1503, acquired ever bigger dimensions, when the question of Tudor fertility – or the lack thereof – entered directly into the political arena. Margaret's line was excluded from the English succession, though, during the reign of Elizabeth I concerns were once again raised. In the last decade of her reign it was clear to all that James VI of Scotland, great-grandson of James IV and Margaret, was the only generally acceptable heir.
From 1601, in the last years of Elizabeth I's life, certain English politicians, notably her chief minister Sir Robert Cecil,maintained a secret correspondence with James to prepare in advance for a smooth succession. Cecil advised James not to press the matter of the succession upon the queen but simply to treat her with kindness and respect. The approach proved effective: "I trust that you will not doubt," Elizabeth wrote to James, "but that your last letters are so acceptably taken as my thanks cannot be lacking for the same, but yield them you in grateful sort." In March 1603, with the queen clearly dying, Cecil sent James a draft proclamation of his accession to the English throne. Strategic fortresses were put on alert, and London placed under guard. Elizabeth died in the early hours of 24 March. Within eight hours, James was proclaimed king in London, the news received without protest or disturbance.
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was an English statesman noted for his skillful direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule (1603). Salisbury served as the Secretary of State of England (1596–1612) and Lord High Treasurer (1608–1612), succeeding his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal and remaining in power during the first nine years of King James I's reign until his death.
The secret correspondence of James VI of Scotland was communication between the Scottish king and administrators of Elizabeth I of England between May 1601 and the Queen's death in March 1603. In this period it was settled that James would succeed Elizabeth, but the diplomatic result was kept secret. James's accession to the thrones of England and Ireland is known as the Union of the Crowns.
On 5 April 1603, James left Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years (a promise he failed to keep, returning only once, in 1617, fourteen years after his initial departure),and progressed slowly from town to town, in order to arrive in the capital after Elizabeth's funeral. Local lords received James with lavish hospitality along the route; and James's new subjects flocked to see him, relieved above all that the succession had triggered neither unrest nor invasion. As James entered London, he was mobbed. The crowds of people, one observer reported, were so great that "they covered the beauty of the fields; and so greedy were they to behold the King that they injured and hurt one another." James's English coronation took place on 25 July, with elaborate allegories provided by dramatic poets such as Thomas Dekker and Ben Jonson, though the festivities had to be restricted because of an outbreak of the plague. Nevertheless, all London turned out for the occasion: "The streets seemed paved with men," wrote Dekker. "Stalls instead of rich wares were set out with children, open casements filled up with women".
Whatever residual fears many in England may have felt at the prospect of being ruled by a Scot, James's arrival aroused a mood of high expectation. The twilight years of Elizabeth had been a disappointment; and for a nation troubled for so many years by the question of succession, the new king was a family man who already had male heirs in the wing. But James's honeymoon was of very short duration; and his initial political actions were to do much to create the rather negative tone which was to turn a successful Scottish king into a disappointing English one. The greatest and most obvious of these was the question of his exact status and title. James intended to be King of Great Britain and Ireland. His first obstacle along this imperial road was the attitude of the English Parliament.
In his first speech to his southern assembly on 19 March 1604 James gave a clear statement of the royal manifesto:
What God hath conjoined let no man separate. I am the husband and the whole isle is my lawful wife; I am the head and it is my body; I am the shepherd and it is my flock. I hope therefore that no man will think that I, a Christian King under the Gospel, should be a polygamist and husband to two wives; that I being the head should have a divided or monstrous body or that being the shepherd to so fair a flock should have my flock parted in two.
Parliament may very well have rejected polygamy; but the marriage, if marriage it was, between the realms of England and Scotland was to be at best morganatic. James's ambitions were greeted with very little enthusiasm, as one by one MPs rushed to defend the ancient name and realm of England. All sorts of legal objections were raised: all laws would have to be renewed and all treaties renegotiated. For James, whose experience of parliaments was limited to the stage-managed and semi-feudal Scottish variety, the self-assurance — and obduracy — of the English version, which had long experience of upsetting monarchs, was an obvious shock. He decided to side-step the whole issue by unilaterally assuming the title of King of Great Britain by a Proclamation concerning the Kings Majesties Stile on 20 October 1604 announcing that he did "assume to Our selfe by the cleerenesse of our Right, The Name and Stile of KING OF GREAT BRITTAINE, FRANCE AND IRELAND, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, &c." .This only deepened the offence. Even in Scotland there was little real enthusiasm for the project, though the two parliaments were eventually prodded into taking the whole matter 'under consideration'. Consider it they did for several years, never drawing the desired conclusion.
In Scotland there were early signs that many saw the risk of the "lesser being drawn by the greater", as Henry VII once predicted. An example before Scottish eyes was the case of Ireland, a kingdom in name, but – since 1601 – a subject nation in practice. John Russell, lawyer and writer, an initial enthusiast for "the happie and blissed Unioun betuixt the tua ancienne realmes of Scotland and Ingland" was later to warn James:
Lett it not begyne vith ane comedie, and end in ane tragedie; to be ane verball unioun in disparitie nor reall in conformity…thairby, to advance the ane kingdome, to great honor and beccome forȝetfull of the uther, sua to mak the samyn altogidder solitat and desoltat qhilk cannot stand vith your Majestie's honor. As god hes heichlie advanceit your Majestie lett Scotland qhilk is ȝour auldest impyir be partakeris of ȝour blissings.
These fears were echoed by the Scottish Parliament. Its members were telling the king that they were "confident" that his plans for an incorporating union would not prejudice the ancient laws and liberties of Scotland; for any such hurt would mean that "it culd no more be a frie monarchie". James attempted to reassure his new English subjects that the new union would be much like that between England and Wales, and that if Scotland should refuse "he would compel their assents, having a stronger party there than the opposite party of the mutineers". In June 1604 the two national parliaments passed acts appointing commissioners to explore the possibility of "a more perfect union". James closed the final session of his first parliament with a rebuke to his opponents in the House of Commons — "Here all things suspected...He merits to be buried in the bottom of the sea that shall but think of separation, where God had made such a Union".
The Union Commission made some limited progress, on discrete issues such as hostile border laws, trade and citizenship: the borders were to become the "middle shires". Free trade proved contentious, as did the issue of equal rights before the law. Fears were openly expressed in the Westminster Parliament that English jobs would be threatened by all the poor people of the realm of Scotland, who will "draw near to the Sonn, and flocking hither in such Multitudes, that death and dearth is very probable to ensue". The exact status of the post nati, those born after the Union of March 1603, was not decided by Parliament, but in the courts by Calvin's Case (1608), which extended property rights to all the King's subjects in English common law.
Scottish aristocrats and other place seekers made their way to London, to compete for high positions in government. Several years later Sir Anthony Weldon was to write that
Scotland was too guid for those that inhabit it, and too bad for others to be at the charge of conquering it. The ayre might be wholesome, but for the stinking people that inhabit it...Thair beastis be generallie small (women excepted) of which sort there are no greater in the world.
A wounding observation came in the comedy Eastward Ho, a collaboration between Ben Jonson, George Chapman and John Marston. In enthusing over the good life to be had in the colony of Virginia it is observed:
And then you shal live freely there, without Sergeants, or Courtiers, or Lawyers, or Intelligencers – onely a few industrious Scots perhaps, who indeed are disperst over the face of the whole earth. But as for them, there are no greater friends of Englishmen and England, when they are out an't, in the world, then they are. And for my part, I would a hundred thousand of them were there, for wee are all one Countrymen now, yee know; and wee shoulde finde ten times more comfort of them there, then wee do here.
Anti-English satires proliferated, and in 1609 the king had an act passed, promising the direst penalties against the writers of "pasquillis, libellis, rymis, cockalanis, comedies and sicklyk occasiones whereby they slander and maligne and revile the estait and countrey of England..."
In October 1605 the Venetian ambassador in London noted "the question of the Union will, I am assured, be dropped; for His Majesty is now well aware that nothing can be effected, both sides displaying such obstinacy that an accommodation is impossible; and so his Majesty is resolved to abandon the question for the present, in hope that time may consume the ill-humours."
King James devised new coats of arms and a uniform coinage. The creation of a national flag proved contentious, designs acceptable to one side typically offending the other. James finally proclaimed the new Union Flag on 12 April 1606: Scots who saw in it a St. George's Cross superimposed upon a St. Andrew's Saltire sought to create their own 'Scotch' design which saw the reverse superimposition take place. (This design was used in Scotland until 1707.) For years afterwards vessels of the two nations continued to fly their respective "flags", the royal proclamation notwithstanding. The Union Flag only entered into common use under Cromwell's Protectorate.
The Acts of Union were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. By the two Acts, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland—which at the time were separate states with separate legislatures, but with the same monarch—were, in the words of the Treaty, "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain".
The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.
The history of the English penny from 1603 to 1707 covers the period of the House of Stuart, up to the Acts of Union of 1707 which brought about the Union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland.
Duke of Rothesay is a dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. It was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the title mandated for use by the heir apparent when in Scotland, in preference to the titles Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, which are used in the rest of the United Kingdom and overseas. The Duke of Rothesay also holds other Scottish titles, including those of Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The title is named after Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute, but is not associated with any legal entity or landed property, unlike the Duchy of Cornwall.
James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.
The flag of Great Britain, commonly known as the Union Jack or Union Flag, was a flag of Great Britain that was used from 1606 to 1801.
Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex, legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible.
The concept of "British history" began to emerge in the 1600s, largely thanks to the attempts of King James II to assert that the Union of the Crowns of 1603 had created a Kingdom of Great Britain, which in fact did not come into existence until a century later. The governance of England and Scotland remained separate until 1707, and until then in most ways the Scots were excluded from sharing in the English overseas possessions.
The Parliament of Scotland was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parliament, like other such institutions, evolved during the Middle Ages from the king's council of bishops and earls. It is first identifiable as a parliament in 1235, during the reign of Alexander II, when it was described as a "colloquium" and already possessed a political and judicial role. By the early fourteenth century, the attendance of knights and freeholders had become important, and from 1326 commissioners from the burghs attended. Consisting of the "three estates" of clergy, nobility and the burghs sitting in a single chamber, the parliament gave consent for the raising of taxation and played an important role in the administration of justice, foreign policy, war, and all manner of other legislation. Parliamentary business was also carried out by "sister" institutions, such as General Councils or Convention of Estates. These could carry out much business also dealt with by parliament – taxation, legislation and policy-making – but lacked the ultimate authority of a full parliament.
The Crown of Scotland is the crown that was used at the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland. Remade in its current form for King James V of Scotland in 1540, the crown is part of the Honours of Scotland, the oldest surviving set of Crown jewels in the United Kingdom. The crown dates from at least 1503 when, in an earlier form, it was depicted in the portrait of James IV of Scotland in the Book of Hours commissioned for his marriage to Margaret Tudor.
The royal arms of Scotland is the official coat of arms of the King of Scots first adopted in the 12th century. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI inherited the thrones of England and Ireland and thus his arms in Scotland were now quartered with the arms of England with an additional quarter for Ireland also added. Though the kingdoms of England and Scotland would share the same monarch, the distinction in heraldry used in both kingdoms was maintained. When the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain, no single arms were created and instead, the royal arms as used in either Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would continue to differ.
The Royal Banner of the Royal Arms of Scotland, also known as the Royal Banner of Scotland, or more commonly the Lion Rampant of Scotland, and historically as the Royal Standard of Scotland, or Banner of the King of Scots, is the Royal Banner of Scotland, and historically, the Royal Standard of the Kingdom of Scotland. Used historically by the Scottish monarchs, the banner differs from Scotland's national flag, the Saltire, in that its correct use is restricted by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland to only a few Great Officers of State who officially represent the Monarchy in Scotland. It is also used in an official capacity at royal residences in Scotland when the Head of State is not present.
The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that England and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain", At the time it was more often referred to as the Articles of Union.
The Union of England and Scotland Act 1603, full title An Act authorizing certain Commissioners of the realm of England, was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of England enacted during the reign of King James I. It appointed a commission led by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Ellesmere, to meet and negotiate with a commission which would be appointed by the Parliament of Scotland. The aim of the discussions was to look into the possibility of arranging a formal political union between England and Scotland, going beyond the existing Union of Crowns, and to report back to Parliament. The commission was not effective, however, and similar subsequent proposals also fell flat. The two kingdoms were eventually united over a century later, by the Acts of Union 1707. The Act was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863, being by this point entirely obsolete.
The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have been established in Great Britain at different periods in history, in different combinations and under a variety of polities. Norman Davies has counted sixteen different states over the past 2,000 years.