Hatfield House closes for the winter today but a couple of weeks ago Tory Historian went to visit that very fine home of generations of English, later British politicians, Conservative ever since that became possible. This blog will consist largely of pictures taken inside and outside the house, starting with the grand statue of the 3rd Marquess that greets visitors outside the main entrance to the estate.

Tory Historian is aware of some controversy about the latest addition, the fountain in front of the House itself but comes down on the side of those who like it. The title Renaissance recalls past glories and the golden globe that rises and falls in the water is a reminder of those elaborate renaissance structures as well as a play on the original meaning of the word, rebirth. Yes, it is very modern but that adds to the attraction. Hatfield House is still the home of the Marquess of Salisbury and his family; even the stately rooms are used for such events as Christmas dinner and the present holder of the title takes his duties to the name, the estate and the house seriously. That means adding new furniture, new structures, new decorations - Hatfield is part of English history and that goes on.

What of the pictures and furniture inside? Readers must forgive TH's particular interest but this Primrose League cover caused much delight.

A more recent involvement in British political and literary life by members of the Cecil family was illustrated in one of the drawing rooms by a display of copies of the Salisbury Review.

A lion that guards the entrance:

And a lion that makes music on the stairs:

For the moment we shall stop here. Another posting will have portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and of members of the Cecil family. 

Today Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes this country's longest serving monarch and she is celebrating that day in Scotland, in many ways a very appropriate thing to do. She is, as all but her most venomous opponents know, half Scottish. Recently I watched another production of Macbeth (a Chinese one by a theatrical company from Hong Kong, since you ask) and was once again amused by the witches' prediction that Banquo's descendants will rule the Kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland. Well, maybe they did for a while. But the Queen Mother was, before she became the Duchess of York, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the daughter of Lord Glamis (later the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the Peerage of Scotland). Elizabeth of Glamis, in other words. And who was the Thane of Glamis before he went on to bigger things and eventually his downfall? Macbeth.

I have selected some random pictures of Her Majesty, some better known than others:

There are many more that other people might prefer. The Conservative History Blog wishes Her Majesty a very happy day and many more to come.

The most appropriate reading matter at the moment is The Tory World, edited by Professor Jeremy Black and published earlier this year. The book's subtitle is Deep History and the Tory Theme in British Foreign Policy, 1679-2014, which speaks for itself. It is a collection of essays by various luminaries (some more than others and none of them female) about Tory and Conservative ideas about foreign policy, not as simple a subject as it might appear to those who think only in terms of Disraeli or Churchill.

In fact, on reading the Introduction by Professor Black himself, I recalled a conversation I had with Professor John Charmley, who has made a few appearances on this blog already, in which he argued forcibly that we  misunderstand Conservative thinking about foreign policy because we concentrate on the adventurous, often imperialist and always pro-active ideas of such people as Benjamin Disraeli and Winston Churchill. In the light of that, I am looking forward to reading Richard Toye's chapter in this collection, entitled Winston Churchill - Conservative or Liberal Imperialist?.

Here is Professor Black's definition of 'deep history' or, at least, an attempt at a definition. Thus, the extent to which there is 'deep history' in Conservative views on the outside world and to which views on this subject provide a 'deep history' and continuity for Conservatism, are central issues. 'Deep history' is the long-term, seemingly inherent assumptions, the emotions of policy that help create teh context for the politics of the shorter term.
As they used to say, discuss. That is precisely what I intend to do as I continue reading the book.

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