Friday 6 December 2013

Learning about the English monarchy

A friend recently asked about resources for learning about the English monarchy. I've pulled together a few that we enjoy. They are aimed at younger children up to about eleven. Please add your own favourites in the comments.

Ladybird books did a two volume series on the monarchy by L du Garde Peach and Brenda Lewis. The volumes that we have are out of print but available cheaply second hand. 

There also appears to be a new one volume Ladybird book, by a different author, which I haven't seen.
The older Ladybird books are appealing to children as they have a picture on one side of the page and text on the other.

Our Island Story is an older book by H.E. Marshall. It tells the story of Great Britain up to the reign of Queen Victoria and is suitable for reading aloud to children probably from about six to ten or independent reading by competent readers. This has several chapters covering the complex Middle Ages. It is also available on CD although I haven't listened to this so can't comment on accent and speed.

Usborne have produced a sticker book about the monarchy. My daughter loved this during Diamond Jubilee year, when she was six. It has paragraphs of information about the monarchs and of course, stickers.

The out of print, People in History by R.J. Unstead tells the stories of people in Britain in a way accessible to primary aged children.

There is a plethora of historical fiction for children about English history and the monarchy. The My Story series feature characters at many major events. In addition to these,  authors to look for include Rosemary Sutcliffe especially for her Eagle of the Ninth trilogy, Cynthia Harnett and Barbara Willard. These books are suitable for the older end of the age range.

Woodlands resources has a section on British history and another on the monarchy. The latter page is a must and filled with fascinating facts about the Queen, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as about Royal homes, why the Queen has two birthdays and lengths of reigns of various monarchs.

The Queen's official website is here. This website has recent pictures of the Royal family, information about how to greet the Queen, the Court Circular which has details of the official engagements of the Royal Family, details about the Honours system and much more.

Other resources
There are various posters showing English monarchs. We have one which has pillars for the lengths of reign of monarchs. We refer to this often. On looking this up, it is published in 1969 and is, of course, out of print. This would explain the comparatively short pillar for our current monarch, Elizabeth II who has actually been on the throne for 61 years.
This is a more modern poster in timeline format.

Usborne produce cards of monarchs.

I haven't played the Monarchy game available from Ichthus Resources but another home educating mother has recommended it to me.

Places to visit
This has to be incomplete as there are so many places associated with the Monarchy. These are particularly recommended:

  • Buckingham Palace. The Royal Standard flying indicates the Queen is in residence whereas the Union flag means that she is out. It is possible to visit the State Rooms although this is quite expensive. I haven't visited so can't comment on this as a trip.
  • The Tower of London is definitely worth visiting for its rich history and the Crown Jewels,
  • Hampton Court was one of Henry VIII's palaces and has frequent interactive events with actors dressed as Henry and his court.
  • National Portrait Gallery is only a few minutes walk from Buckingham Palace and has portraits of many of the monarchs. The Tudor gallery is especially stunning. Entrance is free.
Please add to these resources in the comments. 


  1. Thanks for the list. We have the Ladybird books -- I bought them in the US at a thrift store. I love the Project Britain website.

    1. Beth, the whole of the Woodlands website is worth exploring. It has some really useful information and links.

  2. Thanks for the Woodlands link. I have read through An Island Story twice with different kids, but sometimes when we go to recall a certain king or queen we end up getting confused. The Woodlands link to the timeline will be handy when we need information fast.