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This is a major study of Charles I's relationship with the English aristocracy. Rejecting the traditional emphasis on the 'Crisis of the Aristocracy', Professor Richard Cust highlights instead the effectiveness of the King and the Earl of Arundel's policies to promote and strengthen the nobility. He reveals how the peers reasserted themselves as the natural leaders of the political nation during the Great Council of Peers in 1640 and the Long Parliament. He also demonstrates how Charles deliberately set out to cultivate his aristocracy as the main bulwark of royal authority, enabling him to go to war against the Scots in 1639 and then build the royalist party which provided the means to fight parliament in 1642. The analysis is framed throughout within a broader study of aristocratic honour and the efforts of the heralds to stabilise the social order.