Lead:  The running marital troubles of the British royal family in the last decade of the twentieth century recall another era in which a King of England provoked a constitutional crisis because of the woman he loved.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Progress toward constitutional government in England was not seamless. At times the contending forces of Parliament and monarchy would prevail over the other. After a decade of ignoring Parliament, King Charles I, embroiled in a losing struggle with the Scots, called the Houses into session in the fall of 1640. Within two years Parliament and the King were at war, each having a different vision of the future. Charles was last English King to press the claim that he could rule alone as a divine right. The Army of Oliver Cromwell and an intimidated and shrunken Parliament put an end to that notion as the executioner's ax severed Charles' head from his body, but by 1660 Englishmen had grown weary of having their lives micro-managed by puritan enthusiasm and were thoroughly repulsed by religious military dictators. They brought the King back but never again could a monarch deal with Parliament free of the memory of that gleaming ax and the lesson of its deadly work. Over the years, gradually, power shifted away from the Crown in favor of elected officials. In the mid-1700s the King was last able to successfully veto a bill passed by Parliament and Queen Victoria in here early years was the last monarch to choose her advisors without reference to the House of Commons.

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