In 1337 King Edward III laid claim to the French crown, which was rejected, ultimately leading up to the Hundred Years' War between England and France. King Edward had also built the Jewel Tower next to Parliament, where he stored his treasures. In 1387 the first English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales.
In 1399 Duke of Lancaster Henry Bolingbroke, a distant relative of Plantagenets, was crowned King of England. During the Lancasters' reign Lincoln's Inn, had been open, of which the Old Hall, built in 1490, is well-preserved. The Lancasters lost the war against France, and this is why the dukes of York, also relatives of Plantagenets, unleashed the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England. The Tower of London, where young princes had been brutally killed, stood silent witness to this carnage. The wars ended in an impasse, a situation used to his advantage by Henry Tudor, whose mother belonged to the house of Lancaster and whose father to the house of York. In 1485 Henry declared himself King Henry VII, establishing the Tudor reign in England for the subsequent century. Most of the aristocracy belonging to either house were dead, and Henry's power quickly became absolute. The king formed a special guard, known today as the Beefeaters (the Yeomen Warders), whose uniform is still worn by ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London.
The time of Tudors in England is often referred to as the Golden Age. Henry VIII held the richest and most spectacular court in all of Europe, and he was also the one to separate the Catholic church from the Anglican church. His reign was marked by opening of green parks and magnificent palaces in London: one of them, St. JamesвЂ™s Palace, is famous for being decorated with the initials of the king and his second wife Anne Boleyn, to marry whom Henry VIII had to annul his first marriage and break the relationship with Pope Clement VII. The palace is surrounded by the luxuriant Saint James Park, along which the King's Guard marches every morning. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens had also been laid out around that time.
Henry VIII's daughter Elisabeth I ruled over England for 45 years and managed to turn it into the most powerful empires in the world. During her reign literary arts bloomed in London, giving the world Francis Bacon and the great William Shakespeare. In 1601, "The Twelfth Night" was first performed in Lincoln's Inn on Fleet Street, a street that connects The City and Westminster.
The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad