Seven Kings of England Critical Context - Essay

Geoffrey Trease

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Before writing Seven Kings of England, Trease was already a well-known writer of biographies and histories for young people. Seven Kings of England was first published as a companion volume to his The Seven Queens of England. Trease’s two studies of English royalty are invaluable, not only to facilitate the study of English history in the classroom but also to stimulate a desire for more information about historical personages. Even outside the classroom, Trease’s collective biography is exciting and timeless reading for the young reader interested in the drama of battles, revolutions, or political scheming.

One of the more important aspects of Trease’s book for the modern age is the way in which the book reflects changes in the attitude of the people toward the monarchy. The earlier kings either seized power or ruled by divine right. By the time of William III, however, the people were demanding more voice in the selection of the monarch, and the power of the king was decreasing. Comparing the reign of the last king in the book, George VI, a constitutional monarch, with any of the earlier rulers allows the reader to observe sweeping changes in politics and in society’s attitudes toward government.