8 March 2023

A Sweet Little Book

 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?



Joshua said...

I await with interest the release of the order of service for Their Majesties' Coronation. Given that we are informed that the service is to take an hour, rather than three, since who (watching it on telly) could bear a rite so lengthy, I wonder if the precedent set by James II will be expanded upon, and no Eucharistic service performed – will it be a Coronation Ante-Communion, in other words?

Percy said...

The rite of coronation of a queen (consort) can be found in the 1937 ritual. It's certainly optional, as England has had several queen consorts who were never crowned.

Given that attendance is being limited to the normal seating without extra galleries that historically took months to erect (though one assumes some boxes will be built in the transepts), it would seem one dramatic shortening of the service will likely come from the elimination of individual homages by all the peers. Perhaps the premier peers of each rank will do it individually?

OreamnosAmericanus said...

You have a Hindu PM, a Muslim Mayor of London, now a White minority city, you had an African Archbishop of York, Manchester is minority White, and BICOP are now the privileged class, with Whites cowering about being called "racist".

England is no longer England, so what does it matter?

motuproprio said...

Given that her first 'marriage' was to a baptised Catholic without dispensation for mixed marriage or lack of form, I wonder why you use the sobriquet Mrs Parker Bowles

PM said...

A friend who grew up in a Cambridgeshire village told me that as late as the 1960s there were elderly ladies who kept to themselves in nicely appointed cottages and were former mistresses of Edward VII on civil list pensions.

Grant Milburn said...

I see that YouTube offers a video of the BBC TV broadcast of Elizabeth's coronation which is just under three hours long. There is also a colour film, narrated by Olivier, which is one hour 19 minutes long.

 I'm guessing that this time around we will be able to enjoy full-colour, high-definition live- streaming with outstanding audio quality, but may be somewhat short-changed when it comes to lengthy and impressive ceremony. 

For what it's worth: the 1 h 18 m colour movie has been on YT for nine years and has 684,00 views. The three-hour black-and-white TV broadcast has been on YT for four years and has 3.1 million views.

I note that the '53 TV broadcast did not show the prayer of consecration,  Maybe this time there will be no Communion Service at all. 

Moritz Gruber said...

One hour? Seriously? For goodness' sake, our Sunday Mass takes longer than that! In the less holy realm, you know, a football match takes longer than that! An author's-reading takes longer than that! A play, in the theatre, takes longer than that! The Jungle Book, which is just about the shortest classical movie I can think of, takes longer than that!

A coronation of the King of England at the length of a Downton Abbey episode, episode!, which is not even a Christmas special.


E sapelion said...

Richard the third is said to have been so keen to display his status as an anointed King that at his coronation he had a procession at their joint coronation in which he and Anne his wife paraded stripped to the waist so that the chrism could be seen running down their torsos.

Grant Milburn said...

Yes, why Westminster "Abbey"? And why Downton "Abbey"? I only watched one episode of DA. Plenty of toffs, but no nuns. Very misleading title. Now the Abbey in The Sound of Music, the Abbey to which Maria was not an asset- that had plenty of nuns. Praying, singing, sabotaging Nazi cars…