What are "Royal Houses"?--

Among the noble families of Europe, intermarriage to build great fortunes produced many conflicting claims to territory. For peoples seeking the stability we now identify as nation-building, a clear dynastic line of inheritance sometimes worked effectively to prevent quarrels among powerful barons from leading to civil war. Thus, monarchs who ruled long and left an uncontested heir might set in motion a dynasty which could provide hereditary rulers for many generations. These gene lines often were known by the places from which their founding ancestors derived their political and military power or the family name of the founding ancestor. For the poets covered in English 211, the most important royal houses were Plantagenet, Lancaster, York, Tudor, and Stuart. By the time English 212 begins, royal power has waned so much that the nation was far less affected by the nature of the houses of Hanover and Saxe-Coburg ("Windsor" after World War I) than it was by the forces operating within Parliament, especially the House of Commons. An exception, of course, might be World War I, which has been described as the result of a quarrel among aristocratic cousins.