Why did Royalists lose the Civil War?

This podcast discusses the range of factors which caused the defeat of the royalists in England and Wales during the First Civil War of 1642-1646.

Its themes range from royalist structural weaknesses, their shortages of manpower and resources, to defeat in battle and the withdrawal of civilian support from the royalist cause. The decisive role of the New Model Army and its year of victories after Naseby is also considered. Other less well-known factors such as news management, military intelligence and side changing are also investigated. In particular, the podcast suggests that to some extent the royalists themselves were authors of their own demise, as the cult of honour among their officers worsened a destructive internal conflict within the royalist coalition. This hastened their downfall, especially once the fortunes of war turned against them in 1645.

Listen here

Also available on

The World Turned Upside Down
The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
Why did Royalists lose the Civil War?
bio copy 3


Andrew Hopper

Andrew Hopper

Professor of Local and Social History

Andrew Hopper is Professor of Local and Social History in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College. He…

Read Biography

Learn more

glossary copy 7

Interactive Glossary





maps copy 3


Marmaduke, Lord Langdale

F.H. Sunderland, (London, 1926), p. 66

The King and the Commons: Cavalier and Puritan Song

Alexander Brome (1620-1666) was a Dorset poet and lawyer, who composed 200 poems – satires attacking enemies of Charles I during 1640s and 1650s. His poems praising retired life in the 1650s appealed to Cavaliers during the republic. Source: ODNB; Henry Morley, (1868), pp. 103-4.

The Life of the Thrice Noble, High and Puissant Prince, William Cavendishe, Duke, Marquess and Earl of Newcastle

Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, (1667), pp. 50, 118.