Oliver Cromwell: King in All But Name

When he died in September 1658, Oliver Cromwell had completed an extraordinary rise to power. From being an army officer in the Civil Wars and defender of the execution of Charles I, Cromwell had, in 1653, become Lord Protector. This title invested in Cromwell supreme political power. Yet many of his enemies, and some of his former allies, saw the Protectorship as little more than a new form of regal authority. In this film Dr John West and Professor Paulina Kewes consider how far it is true to describe Cromwell as a king in all but name.

Key Questions

  • Who was Oliver Cromwell?
  • What power did Cromwell have as Lord Protector?
  • What was the legacy of Oliver Cromwell after his death?

Further Reading

  • Laura Knoppers, Constructing Cromwell: Ceremony, Portrait and Print 1645-1661 (Cambridge, 2000).
  • Kevin Sharpe, Image Wars: Promoting Kings and Commonwealths in England 1603-1660 (New Haven and London, 2010).

Unless otherwise noted, images in this film are reproduced by courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum and the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford.

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