Volume 62 Issue 6 June 2012

The She-Wolves of Navarre

In the Middle Ages, with the re-emergence of Salic Law, it became impossible for women to succeed to the throne in most European kingdoms. Yet between 1274 and 1512 five queens ruled the Pyrenean kingdom of Navarre, as Elena Woodacre tells their stories.

London's Olympics: Political Games

As London gears up for the start of the Olympics next month, David Runciman compares the 2012 games with the London Olympics of 1908 and 1948 to see what they reveal about the changing relationship between politics and sport over the last century.

I Was Hitler's Neighbour

As a boy growing up in Munich Edgar Feuchtwanger witnessed the rise of Germany’s dictator at extraordinarily close range.

The Monarchy: More Ancient than Modern

Commentators repeat with regularity the claim that the Queen’s greatest achievement, besides simple longevity, is her modernisation of the monarchy. But, says Dan Jones, she still owes a great deal to her medieval predecessors.

Venus in the Face of the Sun

Nicholas Mee recalls Jeremiah Horrocks, the first astronomer to observe Venus cross in front of the Sun, whose discoveries paved the way for the achievements of Isaac Newton.

Still Sacred? The Coronation Rite

As Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years on the throne, Ian Bradley looks at the fundamentally religious nature of monarchy and the persistence of its spiritual aspects in a secular age.

Taking the Blitz to America

In the summer of 1941 a collection of paintings by serving members of the London Fire Brigade  was exhibited in the United States. Anthony Kelly describes the success of a little-known propaganda campaign celebrating Britain’s ‘spirit of civilian heroism’.

Burma's Road to the Future

Marilyn V. Longmuir asks if Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent election victory completes the political journey begun by her father?

The Opium Wars

The wars of 1839-42 and 1856-60 are a perfect case study of the divergence of opinion that the British Empire continues to generate.