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OCTOBER 2017

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Ever since medieval times, the Knights Templar have been associated with all manner of mysteries and legends, o en involving the Holy Grail, the Turin Shroud or the Ark of the Covenant. This view of the Templars persists strongly in our own times, given added impetus by the Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code. Yet as Dan Jones’s cover feature this month reveals, the Templars’ story is fascinating enough without having to delve into pseudohistory. Starting on page 22, he shows how this Christian military order went on to become the medieval world’s ultimate warriors, and played a crucial role in the development of the crusades.

A warrior of even more elevated status is also under the spotlight this month: Prince Edward, the future Edward VIII. While he is now best known for his abdication, two decades earlier the prince won popular acclaim for his brave deeds in the First World War. Yet Edward’s time in the trenches le him scarred and may shed light on his decision to give up the throne. Heather Jones explains all on page 28. Meanwhile, this month sees the release of the lm Victoria and Abdul, which charts the unlikely friendship between the British queen and her Indian attendant. This though is only part of a far wider tale of Indian in uence in 19th-century Britain, as our piece by Shompa Lahiri on page 36 highlights. From curry to cricket, politics to pots of tea, the culture of the subcontinent made a very strong impression on our Victorian forebears.

Rob Attar Editor BSME Editor of the Year 2015, Special Interest Brand

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS

Michael Wood Æthelstan’s reign was a turning point in British history, which has always fascinated me. But mystery still surrounds the location of the climactic battle of Brunanburh in 937, in which he emerged triumphant. So what are the key clues? P Michael attempts to solve the riddle of the battle of Brunanburh on page 62

Shompa Lahiri The Victorian era was the high tide of British imperialism, when India was Britain’s most valuable colony. Indian in uences pervaded Victorian society and culture – from parliamentary politics to sport, popular culture, fashion and diet. P Shompa explores the British passion for India in the 19th century on page 36

Dan Jones I’ve been working on a book about the Templars for the last three years – unpeeling the layers of legend that have built up around them. And I’m pleased to say that the real history is even more extraordinary than all the hocus pocus you’ll nd on the internet. P Dan traces the rise and fall of the Knights Templar on page 22

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