The dread and envy of them all

In the wake of the British “Brexit” vote that not only begins the process of withdrawing from the European Union, but also potentially triggers the break-up of the United Kingdom, the libretto to a piece of eighteenth-century theatre illustrates the tangled history of Britain and Europe. In 1700, England faced a succession crisis: twelve years previously, the Roman Catholic king James II had been ousted by his daughter, Mary Stuart and her husband, the Dutch Protestant William of Orange. They … Continued