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PROCESSIONS AND CEREMONIES
OBSERVED IN THE
KINGS AND QUEENS OF ENGLAND:
EXEMPLIFIED IN THAT OF
MOST SACRED MAJESTIES
WITH ALL THE other
EDITED BY RICHARD THOMSON.
First Gent. God save yon, Sir! where have you been broiling?
Could not be wedg'd in more.
That I did.
How was it?
Good Sir, speak it to us.
Shakspeare's Henry VIII, Act iv. Sc. 1.
Events which are rare in their occurrence, impressive in themselves, and magnificent in their auxiliaries, will always excite a great degree of interest, of expectation, and even of anxiety, to witness them. Such were the Jubilees of the ancient Hebrews, the Festivals of the Sun in Peru, the grand Druidical Assemblies of the early Britons, the Inauguration of a Cardinal to the Pontificate; and to bring the resemblance home to our own knowledge, such is the splendid Ceremonial of a Royal Coronation. Then the mind turns as it were dissatisfied with the every-day actions of life, to the records of former proceedings, or to anticipations of the future; while the eye is no longer delighted with its common objects of interest, but would gladly exchange them for
the heraldic magnificence and pageantry of a Regal Court. It is, therefore, with a view to gratify this natural desire, that the following account of the last Coronation, in 1761, has been compiled from the best authorities of the time, in order that correct ideas may be formed of the nature of such a national Ceremony: and this will serve a double purpose, namely, to describe and explain the scene to those who may have an opportunity of viewing it, and to convey a tolerable conception of it to those who will not.
It should be observed, that Coronation Ceremonials have differed but little for several Centuries; for, with the exception of some parts having become obsolete, and others being changed to agree with the present reformed Church Service, they remain nearly the same as they were when heraldic splendours were first introduced into England. But the Coronation Ritual which is now most commonly followed, is that which was observed at the Crowning of King James the Second and
Queen Mary; which was performed on so extensive a plan, that, says a writer upon this subject in the year 1761, “it was, questionless, designed for the model of all future Coronations, and accordingly, by the King's express command, was recorded in the most pompous manner, which has been followed, with little variation, in the several Coronations since.” It is therefore evident, that originality cannot be pretended to in a work of this nature, but correctness is indispensable, and the Editor's researches to this end have been somewhat laborious. This, he hopes, will appear from the list of authorities, which is honestly placed at the end, in order to display at one view the various sources from whence his materials have been drawn: at the same time, the care which has been taken to explain the technical terms which frequently and unavoidably occur, he believes, may be claimed as a merit almost exclusively his own.
The principal aim of this publication having been detailed above: it is hoped that