This is a fascinating series with 16 episodes that are new to the North American Market. Royal history seems to come alive in Monarchy: The Complete Series, a DVD a 5 volume DVD set that hits the stores on August 3, 2010.

Best selling author and the foremost authority on the British Crown, we welcome Dr. David Starkey as he presents the epic history of the British monarchy.

For more than a millennium, The British monarchy has successfully survived brutality, betrayal and bloodshed to emerge as the oldest functioning political institution in Europe. Starkey probes through the personalities of the men and women who wore the crown such as Anglo-Saxon king Offa, who ruled more like a Mafioso than a monarch, Henry VIII, who cultivated celebrity like a modern rock star, and Victoria who made the monarchy into the model of the middle-class morality. Starkey leads us to the very sites where history actually happened, like Hastings, Bosworth, the Tower of London and more.

On Disc 1 we have 4 episodes. Episode 1 is Nation State we learn that the unique idea of a monarch is answerable to the people has its roots in early Anglo-Saxon kings such as Alfred the Great, the intellectual warrior who united England. On this same disc we have three other episodes called, AEngla Land, Conquest and Dynasty.

Disc 2 there is A United Kingdom. This one is during the century of Edwards where we find the Hammer of the Scots boldly extending his rule over the neighboring kingdoms, Edward II loses his crown as a captive of his passions and Edward III declares himself as the new King Arthur. Two other episodes on Disc 2 are Death of a Dynasty and The Crown Imperial.

There are three episodes on Disc 3. Episode 8 is called King and Emperor. We have Henry VIII with his desire for celebrity and his tortuous quest for a male heir. He takes the monarchy to it new heights as he asserts power over the souls of his subjects as well as their bodies.  With Episode 9 we have The Shadow of the King and episode 10 is the Stuart Succession.

Disc 4 brings us three more episodes. In episode 11 there is Cromwell- The King Killer. In this one Parliament commits a previously unthinkable act by executing a reigning king after the persuasion of Oliver Cromwell. Soon the fledgling republic realizes that it does need a monarch after all. The other two episodes on this disc are Return of the King and The Glorious Revolution.

Disc 5 has the remaining episodes starting with #14, Rule Britannia. While under William and Mary and their successor Anne, the nation turns into Europe’s greatest power and along with that comes the unprecedented financial prosperity that they enjoy. The nation also receives a new name. It is now called Great Britain. Episode 15 is titled Empire and 16 is Survival.

Included in this DVD set is a bonus 16 page booklet that includes a time line, the Powers Behind the Throne, background on Westminster Abbey who is the shrine of British monarchy, and Royal Trivia. Also as a bonus feature it has Biographies of 20th-century monarchs, David Starkey biography and a gallery of royal palaces

The total run time for this DVD Set is approximately 776 minutes. So if you are interested in this acclaimed royal history series just click on the Amazon link above and you can order your copy. Monarchy: The Complete Series features a 1500-year history of power, passion and glory. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the DVD Set “Delightful and informative” So once you receives the set pop you some popcorn and sit back and enjoy each episode. I don’t think you would regret it.

Jan Barrett

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