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David Starkey to speak in King's Lynn on royal marriages and misfits

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If you thought the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the start of a bright new era for the Royal Family, it might be time to think again.

That’s according to the well-known historian David Starkey, who brings his latest one-man show to Lynn’s Corn Exchange on Friday evening.

And, with the Sandringham estate just around the corner, he said the town was a natural venue for him to return to.

He said: “I’ve had very agreeable events in the Corn Exchange and the St George’s Guildhall. They’re both extraordinary buildings.”

A Cambridge graduate who taught at the London School of Economics for 30 years, David is perhaps best known now for a string of television documentaries, which reportedly made him the highest-paid presenter on British television in the early 2000s.

David Starkey
David Starkey

His new show, A Monarchy of Misfits, starts with the marriage of Harry and Meghan last year and suggests that, far from being the dawning of a new era, it’s actually a throwback to the Middle Ages.

Back then, Edward the Black Prince, the successful military commander son of Edward III, married a twice-divorced woman who had eloped with her first husband at the age of 12.

As if that wasn’t enough, another of the king’s sons, Edmund, Duke of York, married a Spanish princess who may have been a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad, while a third son, John of Gaunt, wed the au pair.

David says: “I think it makes Meghan look very respectable.”

The show discusses the radical shifts in attitudes towards royal marriage over the centuries, including the period when princes could only marry Protestants and women of the same social class as them.

David says that meant many simply didn’t marry, adding: “The problem is that if you have these two rules together, every time a royal prince is due to marry, there’s only about two-and-a-half women he can marry, and they’re both ugly.”

Tickets are still available for Friday evening
Tickets are still available for Friday evening

But David sees historic parallels between the current political situation and Henry VIII’s decision to cut ties with the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.

“Henry does pretty much what Boris Johnson does and exaggerates the amount of money that goes to Rome, but in those days nobody prosecutes him.”

David Starkey: A Monarchy of Misfits is on at the Corn Exchange on Friday at 7.30pm.

Tickets are priced £18.50 and £16.50.

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