This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: May 5, 2005

Royal history online

The controversy surrounding the recent marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles calls to mind the rich and captivating history of the British monarchy. One doesn't have to take a trip to Britain to explore the fascinating world of the royal families. There is a plethora of Web sites and online resources that lead to historical, literary and entertaining facts about British kings, queens and their heirs from the Dark Ages to modern times.

Begin your research at the official Web site of the British monarchy, http://www.royal This site provides information on the work of the queen in modern society, biographies of the royal family, a history of kings and queens throughout the ages, background on royal residences and art collections, and coverage of recent regal events. The site includes photographs of elaborate celebrations and even a streamline video of Prince Charles' wedding. The section on the history of the monarchy includes detailed information about Scottish and English dynasties.

Review how the British Empire assumed such global predominance at On this site, you'll find in-depth articles and multimedia (games, virtual tours and animations), as well as bite-sized material like timelines and short biographies of historic figures. The site is divided into a broad range of topics, from ancient history to wars and conflict.

Our Monarchy: The Next Fifty Years ( is an interactive Web site that includes background information, a quiz, articles and an audio of a debate on the future of the monarchy.

For firsthand accounts of the reigns of some of the most infamous kings and queens in history, use the database Early English Books Online, available through the UB Libraries at This resource provides digital facsimile-page images of every English-language work printed in Britain and its colonies from 1473 to 1700. You can access such primary documents as the original, printed version of royal statutes and proclamations.

For a bit of drama, delve into the world of Shakespeare, whose many plays chronicled the lives of English kings. Read his historical plays at the Electronic Literature Foundation ( Then explore World Shakespeare Bibliography Online ( -resources/world-shakespeare.html), which leads to annotated entries for important books, articles, book chapters, review and dissertations related to the study of Shakespeare.

All this research on nobility might peak your interest in your own family lineage. Research your family name at Burke's Peerage & Gentry (http://www.burkes-peerage. net). While you have to be a paid subscriber for complete access, they have expanded their free content on the royal lineages of Britain to cover the period 827-1837 in England and 844-1837 in Scotland. And you don't have to have nobles and gentry in your family tree to enjoy the free articles on Scottish castles, notable Americans of Scottish ancestry, the London waterfront, and articles about actors and other interesting people who, by accident of birth, are part of Great Britain's nobility.

Founded nearly a millennium ago and expanded upon over the centuries since, the Tower of London has been the living quarters of monarchs, the site of renown political intrigue and the repository of the Crown Jewels. The Tower of London (http://www.tower-of-london .com) provides historical and anecdotal information about its notorious past, including tales of Anne Boleyn's haunting of the tower.

Whether you're interested in catching a glimpse of the Crown Jewels or want to know more about the doomed wives of Henry VIII, these online tools will take you on a royal adventure.

—Laura Taddeo and Cindi Tysick, University Libraries