Monday, 28 June 2010

He Was Not Amused

Today in 1838, Queen Victoria enjoyed her coronation. The Orcadian papers were not established by this date, but we do hold copies of an earlier paper, The John O'Groat Journal, which contained a full very full and frankly put description of events.

I have learned that the Queen's train bearers had fabulous names like  Lady Mary Augusta Frederica Grimston, Lady Caroline Amelia Gordon Lennox and Lady Mary Althea Beatrix Talbot and that two Dukes kissed Victoria's left  cheek at some point in the ceremony. Everyone then sang 'This is the day that the Lord has made.'

Whoever was the royal correspondent for the paper was very sniffy about both the coronation and the royal family in general.He did find Victoria "Liberal minded and amiable" but said of the festivities, "Nothing could have been more amusing and less instructive than the entire ceremony. It bore about it evident marks of belonging to a rude and untutored age, when  might was right and a sperstitutious but imposing religion was in the ascendant. Instead of such ceremonies being got up in that solemn and striking manner which such occasions demanded, they consisted merely of glitter, pomp and mummery - they were looked upon in no other light than an idle piece of pageantry, which, while it afforded amusement, deceived people at the same time."

The author of the article then goes on criticize the reign of George III, "The national purse was drained to the dregs to minister the wants of a youthful Sovereign, and a young and inexperienced Monarch, never blessed with any great share of brains, was transformed into a demi-god by the hollow flattery of his councillors and the silly adulation of his people."

And his successor George IV? 

 "A Monarch in whom the prominent vices of a Sardanapulus Henry the Eight and Charles the Second were distinctly marked had also his coronation. His babyish mind clung to this raree show as if it were to gain him the lost affections of his people...ceremony was heaped on ceremony, mummery on mummery." He then goes on to call the recent King depraved, a dupe and a tool (yes!). By the way, I just looked up 'Sardanapulus' and it means 'luxuriously effeminate'.

The tabloids of today are pussy cats compared to this!

This issue of John O'Groat Journal also contains a description of a duel between Lord Castlereagh and "a Foreign Nobleman" which came about after the lord had "been taking some unpardonable liberties" with the nobleman's wife. He was shot through the wrist for his trouble.

We hold issues of The John O'Groat Journal from 1836 - 1855.

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