British royal history as told by its music
How England’s royals have shaped the nation’s music
From Henry V through Elizabeth II, Britain’s monarchs have molded the story of British music as patrons, tastemakers, and even composers. Hosted by eminent historian David Starkey (Monarchy
, The Six Wives of Henry VIII
), this series explores British music through the lens of its most prominent and powerful supporters.
Each episode is lavishly scored, from famous melodies to forgotten treasures and works of public pageantry to songs composed for private enjoyment. Over 40 live recordings include music by William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, George Frideric Handel, Edward Elgar, and William Walton. All are performed in the spectacular locations where the monarchs first heard them: Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the chapel of King’s College at Cambridge, and more. Starkey puts each into historical and political context, telling their stories and revealing how the royal passion for music created a soundtrack for a nation.
An honorary fellow at Cambridge University and a member of London’s Society of Royal Antiquaries, David Starkey (CBE) has taught history at the London School of Economics, written more than a dozen books, and presented many acclaimed television documentaries.