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I see the birds have flown…

January 5, 2015



Today in 1642 (or as people immediately concerned still on the Julian calendar with its New Year’s Day in late March called it) 1641, a critical showdown occurred between a hereditary monarch and an elected legislature.

The symbolism of this day’s drama was powerful.  A legislature declared its autonomy and its refusal to defer to the authority of a monarch. The occasion is re-enacted every year when “Black Rod” knocks on the door of the House of Commons to request the presence of MPs in the House of Lords to hear the Queen’s Speech.  The door is initially slammed in his face in recognition of this anniversary.  Indeed, the reason why the monarch’s speech is always given from the House of Lords is because traditionally, the monarch isn’t really allowed in the Commons.  It’s a rare bit of pageantry that actually celebrates resistance rather than deference.

Charles I was finding…

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