For hundreds of years, monarchy has reigned as the dominant political model in Europe. But how has this system - where political life was shaped by the births, marriages and deaths of the ruling family - maintained such a strong grip for so long? How did these dynasties cope with female rule, child monarchs, mistresses or pretenders to the throne? How were names, numbering and the visual display of heraldry express an identity and cement loyalty? Robert Bartlett is Professor Emeritus at the University of St Andrews, and her joined see on the pod to untangle this complex web of internal rivalries and loyalties in the politics of the royal and imperial dynasties of Europe.