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Despite its longevity, the English crown has had few enduring dynasties. Even Britain’s most famous royal family, the Tudors, stayed on the throne for just over a century. But the Plantagenets -- who directly preceded the Tudors –- reigned longer than any family before or since. From 1154 to 1399, eight generations of Plantagenet kings and queens ruled England in unbroken succession. Their names are legendary: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart and King John. They transformed a broken kingdom inherited from the Normans into the powerful realm we know today. And they created institutions we regard as essentially British, from parliament to Magna Carta. Diane and her guest, British historian Dan Jones, talk about a new history of the Plantagenet dynasty.
Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from "The Plantagenets" by Dan Jones. Copyright © 2012 by Daniel Jones.