UK Telegraph runs series on the history of the Union

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They were the original neighbours from hell. England and Scotland, for centuries, were implacable foes, their mutual military incursions ranging from constant border raids to full-blooded invasion.

The Scottish kings pursued a policy of alliance with France, England's traditional enemy.

Then, by an accident of dynastic succession, James VI, King of Scots, inherited the English throne as James I, at the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

James inherited as the great-grandson of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII.

What had actually been, for most of Shakespeare's lifetime, a peninsula became in geopolitical reality "this sceptr'd isle". ...

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