Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Marchioness Was There: King George V's Coronation 1911

There is a reference in the London Gazette to the attendance of Caroline Anne nee Caithness, 4th Marchioness of Ely,  as one of the Dowagers at the Coronation of King George V on 11 June 1911. She would have been part of the magnificent scene in Westminster Abbey pictured above in the painting by John Henry Frederick Bacon.

June 22 1911: King George V and Queen Mary's coronation day dawned, according to the King's diary, 'overcast and cloudy with some showers and a strongish cold breeze.' London newspapers reported concerns that the cool damp weather might mean smaller crowds at the event, but the weather made no apparent difference. By 8 a.m. thousands, carrying umbrellas, packed the stands erected along the procession route.

'During the hours of waiting before the Royal arrivals, the Peers and Peeresses had passed in twos and threes to their allotted seats in the transepts, bearing their coronets in their hands. In the north transept, where the Peeresses were seated, the miniver of their furred capes only partly concealing the crimson of their robes, while diamonds and jewels sparkled on head and bosom, the effect was one of splendid grace and beauty. The Peers faced them in the south transept in the order of their degrees of nobility, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Barons. Above the Peers and Peeresses were the Commons and members of their families. The Bishops who were not taking part in the ceremonial were seated in a double row on the north of the Sacrarium, in their Convocation robes, while the Judges, in their vestments of state, sat in a gallery at the north-east angle; in all a great gathering of eight thousand people, drawn together to do homage to their King. 

Then, amid dead silence, the Royal Processions advanced through the western door of the Abbey. First came the Prince of Wales, a charming figure of boyish stateliness, followed by the little Princess Mary and the other Royal children. Then the Queen, preceded by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his rich cope, and surrounded by her lovely maids of honour, entered the nave. Her gorgeous train, glowing with burnished gold, was borne by the Duchess of Devonshire and her six ladies-in-waiting, a collar of sparkling jewels at her throat. Thousands of eager eyes followed her stately progress. The King's Regalia were now seen ...  His Majesty advanced up the nave with slow and kingly step. In his crimson robe of State and wearing the Collar of the Garter and the Cap of Maintenance he passed through the upstanding people to his Chair of Estate on the south side of the high altar. The Queen had preceded him to her Chair of Estate near the dais. They were supported by their Bishops, the Bishops of Durham and of Bath and Wells on either side of the King, and the Bishops of Oxford and of Peterborough of the Queen. At the altar stood the Archbishop of Canterbury.' 

Later the King wrote in his diary: 'The Service in the Abbey was most beautiful but it was a terrible ordeal. We left Westminster Abbey at 2:15 (having arrived there before 11).'

Coronation Medals of

King George V and Queen Mary

No comments: