12 July 2021


Tomorrow is the Year's Mind, as we say in the Patrimony, of our late Sovereign Liege Lord, Henry IX, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Cardinal Bishop of Frascati and later Dean of the College of Cardinals. He took part in several conclaves, most notably the conclave in Venice which followed the death in prison of Pius VI during the darkest period of the Enlightenment.

I seem to remember that, after his election, the next pope, Pius VII, wore a papier mache tiara, to which some Venetian noblewomen had attached precious stones. Now that would be a real sign of a really humble pope, to be crowned with such a tiara.

I wonder if readers can suggest ways of celebrating the reign of Henry IX, our most endearing sovereign. I suppose the obvious thing would be to consume a bottle of Frascati.

I believe my late friend, Fr Michael Melrose, pp of S Giles' Reading, once told me that His Majestic Eminence died of an excess of Melons. It is an enormous shame that Father Melrose didn't live long enough to join the Ordinariate; the items in his capacious and idiosyncratic memory were just the sort of riches that make our Patrimonial community so exuberant and vibrant.

So ... a Canteloupe with crudo, and a toast to His Most Eminent Majesty, drunk in Frascati?

1 comment:

Grant Milburn said...

Poor Henry! He must have had a lonely reign. By the time he died, even the Papacy was recognizing the Hanoverians and not the Stuarts as the rightful monarchs of Britain, and the Scottish Episcopalians were praying for George rather than for Henry.

Still, it's pleasant to think that the last King Henry was the Cardinal, and not the monstrous number eight.

Talking of deposed royalty, this Saturday sees the 103rd anniversary of the murder of the Romanov family. For what it is worth, the Russian Orthodox Church has canonized them. I am not opposed to all forms of ecumenical dialogue, so this evening I asked Maria Nikolaevna for her prayers.