Treason: People, Power and Plot

The history of English monarchs is a tale brimming with assassination attempts. Queen Elizabeth I thwarted many attempts to replace her with a Catholic monarch, following her excommunication by the Pope. Two hundred years later, King George III acted with compassion after two separate assassination attempts.

In this first episode of our three-part treason mini-series, we explore direct attempts to kill the monarch in the 16th and 19th centuries and their long-term impacts on the British legal system.

This is the first instalment of a three-part series exploring treason across the centuries. Episode two will examine the ripple effects of treasonous plots. And finally, in our third episode, we’ll learn how enslaved Africans in the Caribbean revolted in an attempt to overthrow their oppressors and regain their freedom.

Download the full episode transcript here.

This podcast series is part of a season of events and activities accompanying our new exhibition, Treason: People, Power & Plot – free and open to all. Find out more at

Documents from The National Archives used in this episode: SP 53/18, KB 8/54, KB 8/42, KB 33/8/3, TS 11/22/937.

If you’re interested in finding out more about records covered in this episode, take a look at our research guide to criminal court cases in England and Wales. Our guides are presented in a very factual manner and do not address the horrors and violence of some of the topics covered. However, by sharing these resources we hope to support your further study.

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