A little above four and a half inches by three, all this little book reveals on its spine is COMMON PRAYER Hymns A & M OXFORD.
But inside the cover, there is a picture of a corpulent gentleman labelled "His Majesty King Edward VII", covered by tissue. Peering at him hopefully through the tissue is "Her Majesty Queen Alexandra". Interestingly, the curiously pedantic "Queen Consort", so de rigeur in our own happy days, does not appear.
On the next page, "The Royal Commemoration Prayer Book" frames an Art Nouveau design showing a Knight in Armour clutching a helmet, flanking a person of indeterminate gender holding in its right hand a crown or coronet, and, in its left, a Church, which I suppose might be the original Westminster Abbey. Under the Shield (Quarterly England Scotland Ireland England badly executed) a scroll advises us FEAR GOD, HONOUR THE KING. And, at the bottom "OXFORD 1902".
But bound in between the Book of Common Prayer and Hymns Ancient and Modern, is "The Form and Order of the SERVICE that is to be performed and of the Ceremonies that are to be observed in The Coronation of Their Majesties King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in the Abbey Church of S. Peter, Westminster On Thursday, the 26th day of June, 1902 Oxford: Printed at the University Press ..."
I wnder why it is still called an 'Abbey' Church after Bloody Bess supressed the Abbey in 1559. Wouldn't "Collegiate" be more appropriate?
And then XIX "Sections" follow.
Several thoughts occur to me. The portly representation of 'Edward VII' reminds me of the curious piece of furniture created for his, er, greater ease and more commodious use in some establishment in France. This leads me on to the question of whether the Keeper of the Royal Conscience, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of All England and Primate, ever took it upon himself to address the King pastorally on the subject of giving up Fornication and Adultery. At the Coronation, however, the Litany was shortened and, doubtless to save time, "fornication, and all other deadly sin" have done a runner.
All over England, there are deluded people who possess a mug produced to commemorate the Coronation of the next Edward. These folk assume that, since this personage never was crowned, the curiosity factor must have greatly enhanced the monetary value of their mugs.
But, I gather, so many zillions of these potatory goodies were produced that their value is practically nil.
I wonder what memorabilia the 2023 event will throw up. Mrs Parker Bowles, perhaps, wearing a crown?