By the early twentieth century it was becoming clear that the Empire was falling apart. The British government promoted the Crown as a counterbalance to the forces drawing the Empire apart, but when India declared their intent to become a republic in the late 1940s, Britain had to accept that allegiance to the Crown could no longer be the common factor binding the Commonwealth together. They devised the notion of the Headship of the Commonwealth, enabling India to remain in the Commonwealth while continuing to give the monarchy a pivotal symbolic role. Monarchy and the End of Empire provides a unique insight on the triangular relationship between the British government, the Palace, and the modern Commonwealth since 1945.
In the years of rapid decolonization which followed 1945 it became clear that this elaborate constitutional infrastructure posed significant problems for British foreign policy. Not only did it offer opportunities for the monarch to act without ministerial advice, it also tied the British government to what many within the UK had begun to regard as a largely redundant institution. Philip Murphy employs a large amount of previously-unpublished documentary evidence to argue that the monarchy's relationship with the Commonwealth, initially promoted by the UK as a means of strengthening Imperial ties, had increasingly become an impediment to British foreign policy.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Weight: 560 g
Dimensions: 237 x 162 x 22 mm
a carefully researched and beautifully presented book that chronicles the relationship between the monarchy, the UK government, and the decolonisation of the British Empire
Professor Murphy's book by a country mile the most important and well-informed to have been written about the contemporary British monarchy
Philip Murphy's book makes a strong case for the importance of analysing the role, self-image, and global perception of the monarchy in any book about British politics or foreign policy in the twentieth century ... an interesting, well-written, and extremely important contribution to the fields of British royal, political, imperial, and commonwealth history.
This is a solidly researched and well-argued book on a neglected subject that has the additional virtue of being entertaining. It deserves a wide readership.
Monarchy and the End of Empire is a traditional political study that examines in detail the dynamic relationships between and among the palace, Whitehall, and Commonwealth governments. This political focus is its greatest strength, as Murphy researches and writes this kind of history exceedingly well ... Murphy has thus provided not only a monograph that enriches and gives texture to our understanding of monarchy and Commonwealth but also one that demonstrates a need for more work on these topics, if we are to ever fully understand the process and results of decolonization.