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Claudius is proclaimed emperor, by Charles Lebayle, 1886. École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts / Wiki Commons.

Four historians consider the harm caused by those who should have helped their political masters.

Armoured infantry in Athens, April 1967 © Bettmann/Getty Images.

A British public relations company in cahoots with sympathetic MPs was unable to whitewash the military regime that seized power in Greece in 1967.

Children campaigning in the Bethnal Green by-election, 13 February 1914 © Getty Images.

In the politically chaotic decades before true universal suffrage, some infants found a way to vote in British elections.

Ben Jones

Boris Johnson is facing a national crisis like few other prime ministers. Which of his predecessors will he draw comparisons with?

Jemima Campbell, Marchioness Grey (detail) by Allan Ramsay, 1741 © National Trust Photographic Library/Bridgeman Images.

A lively, privileged group of young intellectuals grew ever more alarmed by the crises that struck Britain in the mid-1740s.

King and counsel: Aristotle and his Pupil Alexander, woodcut, by Otto Spamer, 1876 © akg-images.

The uneasy balance between rulers and counsellors has been a feature of British politics for centuries.

Antisemitic riots in Algiers, 1898-99 © Bridgeman Images.

Since the late 19th century, French politics has provided a testing ground for right-wing populism.

Members of the Liberian Senate, mostly comprising freed African American slaves, 1893 © Corbis/Getty Images.

The creation of an African American colony was supported by slave holders and abolitionists, but founded by a few dozen black families.

miniature showing a battle, from 'The Book of Feats of Arms and of Chivalry', by Christine de Pisan, French, 1434.© Bridgeman Images

To whom should one pledge fealty? Lord, king, brother or nation?

A meeting of the British Communist Party, Earls Court, London, 5 August 1939 © Hulton Getty Images.

It was not the Nazi-Soviet Pact, but the ‘Party line’, which brought an end to the era of ‘fellow travellers’, 80 years ago.