Saturday, 16 June 2007

Ceremonial City

What a great day to be in central London, as it was Her Majesty the Queen's official birthday and (even more importantly) the Feast of the Immaculate Heart. I celebrated the latter by attending a twin Ordination at Westminster Cathedral. There must have been 100 priests there to welcome into our ranks Fr Richard Nesbitt and Fr John Elliott - ad multos annos!

As I made my way to the Cathedral, I stopped off on The Mall, that great ceremonial road leading to Buckingham Palace. The Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) was finishing at Horse Guards and the crowds were expectantly waiting to see the stately procession return to the Palace.

The procession came in stages - first a small detachment of Foot Guards (above) and then The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. Then it was the turn of two barouche carriages containing members of the Royal Family. Here is a picture of the Duchess of Cornwall and (partly obscured by her large hat) Prince William, wearing his Blues and Royal uniform.

Eventually the Household Cavalry appeared, with their magnificent mounted band. Centre of everybody's attention were the two Drum Horses, such as this one:

Then it was the turn of the Foot Guards, with their equally magnificent Massed Band - led by the splendid Drum Majors.

Her Majesty The Queen whizzed into view, accompanied by Prince Philip, dressed as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. Since the crowd - including (mea culpa) myself - was so pre-occupied with taking photos on their cameras and mobiles, there was very little applause. I hope the Queen didn't think we were rampantly republican. It is perhaps unfortunate that we live in such a technological age.

The Princess Royal (Colonel of the Blues and Royals), the Duke of Kent (Colonel of the Scots Guards), and the Prince of Wales (Colonel of the Welsh Guards) were mounted on horses behind Her Majesty. You can the latter two in this picture (on black horses):

Behind came the Foot Guards, headed by their colour:

Various important-looking dignitaries closed the procession, looking forward, no doubt, to a festive luncheon:

Her Majesty's last duty was taking the salute for the last time at Buckingham Palace and then watching a fly past. Here you can just see the Royal Family assembling on the Palace balcony.

There's nothing like a bit of pomp and circumstance on a Saturday in June. Happy Birthday, Ma'am!

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Blogger Samuel J. Howard said...

"Since the crowd - including (mea culpa) myself - was so pre-occupied with taking photos on their cameras and mobiles, there was very little applause."

You should get everyone to yell "Huzzah!" They can do that and snap pictures at the same time.

7:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing pictures..thankyou!

9:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame a priest is wasting on the monarchy. They're a notoriously anti-Catholic rabble.

9:40 am  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks for your rather bitter comment, Anonymous! Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this subject - and the British Monarchy certainly has an anti-Catholic past. However, I'd much rather have Queen Elizabeth than President Blair/Brown as our Head of State.

11:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The monarchy is a corrupt, decadent institution which effectively perpetuates the British disease of anti-Catholicism. Our Catholic brothers and sisters in Ireland don't seem to miss them. If you're not keen on politicians at least you can vote them out of office. Sadly we're stuck with the monarchy and of course stuck with funding their decadent lifestyles.

12:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful posting, Father Nicholas. I was personally present at the parade. You might enjoy my own blog: You might provide a link!

Martin Shaw

11:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed London on Trooping of the Colour Day must be an amazing sight for supporters of the current dynasty.
But surely the chaplain of the Royal Stuart Society, which is legitimist society, finds it difficult to muster such a degree of enthusiasm for the current incumbents. Some people would see it as hypocrisy.

11:37 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

My interest in the Stuarts is chiefly a historical one (a major dimension of the Society's work, since it organises lectures from leading historians, visits, etc). Though I regret 1688 and all that, I would much rather have the House of Windsor than no monarchy at all.

9:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im in exactly the same position as you are, though my fellow Stuarts react somewhat differently to me. I am interested in Jacobite history, particuarly as it pertains to Ireland.
Its always good that people take a lesson from history rather than merely knowing facts. The lesson you have learned as an English Catholic being necessarily different from the lesson I have learned as an Irish one.
Im glad you clarified the historical context as I think Jacobitism should be a broad church (if you will pardon the pun).
Sadly within Jacobite circles .some hold that my Jaobitism and nationalism/republicanism is inconsistent (indeed one "Jacobite" has suggested that republicanism is a form of satanism......a view that Im not sure has much theological basis.
As my October confessional has come and gone and the next is November, I dont think I have much time to find a priest in Armagh or Belfast to whom I should seruously confess. At moments like this I miss the laughter of my old mentor (in history and other senses) "Father Tom" O'Fiach

4:22 pm  

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