Most of the European Kingdoms used to involve in battles with their neighboring kingdoms to showcase their power and expand it beyond their boundaries.
In their quest for power they annexed many small kingdoms and assured them as equals among the new fraternity, thus winning their loyalty the monarch able to control them. If they resisted harsh punishments were practiced without any mercy.
England has always used the policy of divide and rule and certainly almost all the times it worked. They became the epicenter of the power game and used church to accomplish some of its disputes with other kingdoms.
England was involved in battles and political turmoil all the time, not much time was given to its citizens. Most of the political fraternity was involved in planning to overthrow each other and became greedy for power. One who has money has the power and one who has power has control over his subjects and their lives.