King Henry II II

 

Lead: One of England’s most important monarchs, Henry II saw his birthright begin to crumble even before his death in CE 1189.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Despite his undoubted administrative brilliance and successful imperial ambitions, Henry was not a popular leader, not well-liked, and found himself in almost constant conflict with his wife and sons. He married the remarkable Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and together they had eight children. As both were strong unbending personalities, their marriage was hardly a work in connubial harmony, and in Henry’s later years he would come to regret the near-constant friction that from the beginning inhabited his household. Two great crises helped undermine the legacy he had worked so hard to build since becoming King of England in CE ll54.

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King Henry II I

 

Lead: King Henry II of England began his reign with few prospects for a successful rule. He succeeded beyond all expectations.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When Henry was crowned in Westminster Abbey in CE 1154, the kingdom he inherited was a mess. For two decades a civil war between his mother, the Empress Matilda, and a usurper, King Stephen, had rent the unity of the Anglo-Norman lands. The Welsh had made inroads in the West and the Scots in the North, yet Henry was to become one of England’s great monarchs laying the groundwork for the Plantagenet dynasty that would last for 250 years. Through a combination of inheritance, a fortuitous marriage to the extraordinary Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and his own determined exertions, he brought under his control the largest assemblage of lands any English King had ruled to that point, from Dublin to Flanders from Scotland to the Pyrenees.

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Sir Francis Drake III

Lead: His voyage around the world behind him, Sir Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth's Golden Admiral, intensified his campaign to make miserable the life of the King of Spain.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Returning from the East in 1581, Drake made Plymouth his home and was elected mayor of the town. He served with distinction, revamping the municipal water system with such care that his improvements lasted for decades. Ever restless, he returned to the sea which was both the love of his life and source of his fortune. In 1585 Elizabeth sent Drake back to the Caribbean where, over a period of months, he renewed his reputation as the scourge of Spain. His occasionally brutal capture and sacking of Cartagena in Columbia, St. Augustine in Florida, and Santo Domingo, combined with attacks on the Cape Verde Islands, were not as successful or lucrative as previous forays, but caused enormous financial distress to the Spanish and confirmed their hatred for el draque or the dragon, as he was coming to be known. This campaign and other conflicts with England so incensed Spanish King Philip II that he made the fateful decision to assemble a huge naval Armada to invade the island kingdom.

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Sir Francis Drake II

Commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to forage and loot the lands of the Spanish King, Francis Drake embarked on a voyage that took him around the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1572, after a lengthy apprenticeship, Drake took two tiny ships on a cruise into the Caribbean. His vessels may have been small but his ambition was hefty. He attacked the town of Nombre de Dios in Panama and though not completely successful since he was wounded in the attempt, the foray netted substantial plunder and made him a rich man. Ever the adventurer, he and a small group of his men crossed the Isthmus of Panama and from a high western ridge vowed that he would someday explore the vast Pacific Ocean that lay before him. Elizabeth was engaged in one of her occasional diplomatic flirtations with the Spanish government and, while privately pleased at Drake’s success, could not acknowledge him publicly. For several years, he dropped out of the public eye, quietly helping to suppress a rebellion in Ireland.

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Sir Francis Drake I

Lead: Part scoundrel, part tyrant, part patriot, Francis Drake, for generations of his countrymen, was the symbol of England’s greatness.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Drake was born in Devonshire, southwestern England in the early 1540s, the last years of the reign of King Henry VIII. His father was a tenant farmer, but also an ardent Protestant lay preacher. In 1549 the family had to flee to southeast England during one of the Catholic uprisings common to the West Country. In those the years the nation was struggling over whether to stay with Protestantism or return to the Roman Catholic Church. Drake’s lifelong and enthusiastic commitment to the Protestant faith and apparent delight in tweaking the tail of Catholic Spain may be traced to the experiences of his troubled youth.

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Madame Tussaud

Lead: Despite the advent of television and the internet, the biggest tourist attraction in Britain remains a bizarre collection of wax figures imported to England two centuries ago for a temporary stay.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Marie Tussaud (nee Grosholz) did her apprenticeship with Philippe Curtius in the heady revolutionary days of Paris, 1789. Crowds of the curious flocked to their salons to see exhibits featuring among other oddities, King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie-Antoinette eating their inedible dinner in frozen solitude. The most avid interest then and now continues to be the Chamber of Horrors, the waxed collection of notorious murderers caught in the act of taking their victims.

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Arrest of the Five Members

Lead: In early 1641, Parliament and King Charles I of England had reached a dangerous impasse.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Taxation, the war with Scotland, the rights of Parliament, and royal manipulation of the courts were among the subjects of a contentious and sometimes bitter struggle between a majority of the House of Commons and the government of Charles I, but it was religion that generated much of the passion of those years. For nearly a century, the Puritans, a minority in the Church of England, had been agitating for an end to corruption in the clergy, a simpler form of church worship, and greater control of congregations by the local churches.

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