From the British History podcast: The fall of Mercia
so imagine that: Remove a dictator and you get chaos.
not a lot is known about King Beornwulf. It’s thought that he was a distant relative of the original Royal dynasty of Mercia, but exactly how he was connected to the family isn’t known. What is known is that this was a pretty rough time to be a Mercian. When King Ceolwulf died and Beornwulf took over, it wasn’t like everything immediately stabilized. Chaos during periods of transition seem to be par for the course in the heptarchy. How many times have we seen a kingdom rise to the top of the pile with phenomenal cosmic power concentrating upon a single man… only to see things go completely crazy when that man dies and the power gets redistributed, either to another noble within the kingdom or to other kingdoms vying for control. Even when mighty King Offa took power, you’ll remember that there was a lot of infighting. So a bit of trouble was to be expected. But it looks like the death of Ceolwulf, who only reigned for 2 years, and the subsequent rise of Beornwulf was worse than most… though that /is/ often a consequence when you enact a coup.
Nah, it could never happen in today's civilized world.
Although what we really need to do is thank God that there have been peaceful revolutions in modern times, including our own EDSA revolution which put in Cory...