Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Ο Βασιλικός Οίκος των Stewarts

Τα βρετανικά γραμματόσημα που κυκλοφόρησαν χθες είναι αφιερωμένα στον Βασιλικό Οίκο των Stewarts.

Στα γραμματόσημα αυτά παρουσιάζονται οι 7 Βασιλιάδες που βασίλεψαν στη Σκωτία από το 1406 μέχρι την Ένωση των Στεμμάτων με την Αγγλία το 1603.

Εκτός από τα γραμματόσημα με τους Βασιλιάδες κυκλοφόρησαν και άλλα 4 γραμματόσημα, αφιερωμένα στην εποχή της βασιλείας τους, σύμφωνα με τα παρακάτω:

1st Class - James I (1406-1437): James I (1394 - 21 February 1437) was nominal King of Scotland from 4 April 1406 until his death, although his effective reign only began in May 1424. He spent the earlier part of his reign as a prisoner in England. On his release he made moves to create a strong centralised monarchy in Scotland, and was assassinated by dissident nobles.

1st Class - James II (1437-1460): James II of Scotland (16 October 1430 - 3 August 1460) was the son of James I of Scotland and of Joan Beaufort (daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and of Margaret Holland). He gained the nickname "Fiery face" because of a conspicuous vermilion birthmark on his face. He was killed by the accidental explosion of one of his own cannon at the siege of Roxburgh Castle in 1460.

1st Class - James III (1460-1488): James III was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family. By 1479 this alliance was collapsing. In 1482 leading his subjects against an English invasion, James was arrested at Lauder Bridge. He was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, and a new regime, led by 'lieutenant-general' Albany, became established. James regained power, by December 1482 but he became estranged from his wife, Margaret of Denmark, and increasingly his eldest son, favouring his second son. Matters came to a head in 1488 when he faced an army raised by the disaffected nobles at the Battle of Sauchieburn, where he was defeated and killed. His heir, the future James IV, took arms against his father, provoked by the favouritism given to his younger brother.

62p - James IV (1488-1513): James IV (17 March 1473 - 9 September 1513) was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from Great Britain to be killed in battle.

62p - James V (1513-1542): James V (c. 10 April 1512 - 14 December 1542) was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 being just 17 months old when James IV died at Flodden Field, until his premature death at the age of thirty, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss.

81p - Mary (1542-1567): Mary (popularly known as Mary, Queen of Scots) (8 December 1542 - 8 February 1587) was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V. She was six days old when her father died and made her Queen of Scots. In 1558, she married Francis, Dauphin of France, who ascended the French throne as Francis II in 1559. However, Mary was not Queen of France for long; she was widowed on 5 December 1560. After her husband's death, Mary returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith in 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Their union was unhappy and in 1567, Darnley was found dead in the garden at Kirk o'Field, after a huge explosion in the house. She then married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, who was generally believed to be Darnley's murderer. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle on 15 June and forced to abdicate the throne in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, Mary fled to England seeking protection from her father's first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, whose kingdom she hoped to inherit. Elizabeth, however, ordered her arrest, because of the threat presented by Mary, who was considered the rightful ruler of England by many English Catholics. After a long period of custody, she was tried and executed for treason following her involvement in three plots to assassinate Elizabeth.

81p - James VI (1567-1625): James VI (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI from 1567 to 1625, and King of England and Ireland as James I from 1603 to 1625. He became King of Scotland as James VI on 24 July 1567, when he was just thirteen months old, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots. Regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1581. On 24 March 1603, as James I, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue. He then ruled the kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland for 22 years, often using the title King of Great Britain, until his death at the age of 58.

1st Class - St Andrews: Until the 15th century, the people of Scotland went to England or the Continent for a university education. Wishing to improve training of priests in his diocese, in 1410 the Bishop of St Andrews allowed teaching to start in his city. Papal approval of new universities was difficult to obtain, but the Scots used the split in the Church between supporters of rival popes to obtain a formal charter in 1413.

1st Class - College of Surgeons: In 1505, the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh were given the Seal of Cause and incorporated as a Craft Guild to promote and maintain the high standards of their trade. King James IV’s personal interest in the new science of medicine guaranteed his support, and in October 1506 a Royal Charter confirmed its formal establishment. Today it remains one of the world’s oldest surgical associations.

81p - Court of Session: The supreme civil court of Scotland originated during the reign of James I in ‘sessions’ of parliamentary committees for civil justice. By the reign of James IV a permanent panel of judges had emerged, but it was only in 1532 that the body was formalised, when James V created the College of Justice with 15 professional ‘Lords of Session’ funded by a tax on the Church.

81p - John Knox: After time as a galley slave, John Knox became a preacher in England. In 1553 he fled to Geneva, but six years later he returned to Scotland and had a key role in the revolution against French influence and Catholicism. As minister of Edinburgh, he helped to devise the framework of Scotland’s Protestant Church, but died in 1572 with his plans unrealised.

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