A messenger has arrived with news about the line of succession of England. Their queen is dead. But England is yours by bloodline, by right. You must claim it immediately, or your cousin Elizabeth will seize it from your grasp. You risk everything if you don’t act now.
King James II before the gates of Londonderry, 1689. James’s Jacobite army besieged the Protestant-held town in April, when the king rode up to Bishop’s Gate and demanded its surrender. He received a volley of musket fire, accompanied by shouts of “no surrender,” an act which outraged the king. The ensuing siege lasted 105 days and cost the lives of 8,000 of the town’s defenders and inhabitants, but was ultimately broken by the arrival of three supply ships sent by King William III, Prince of Orange.
Woven throughout is a story of love : a love that fuelled the couple’s desperate attempts to win back the idyllic life they had forged together; a love that drove the King to precipitate civil war to save his wife; a love that motivates them in their labours through many vicissitudes of fortune, yet brought them in the end to isolation, downfall and destruction. It was a love that shaped the course of British and work history, a love that was, as one observer of the time put it “b e y o n d e x p r e s s i o n”