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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Restoration of the Monarchy

On this day in 1660 Cromwell's "Commonwealth" officially ended with the Restoration of the Monarchy by Parliament. Charles II Stuart became the King of England and Wales and of Scotland. For his corontaion, the Scottish "Honours" had to be used as Cromwell had broken up the English Crown jewels and given some of the precious stones - like the Black Prince's 'Ruby' - to cronies. The ancient crown of Edward the Confessor (St Edward's Crown) was melted down at his command and the money went to pay for his military campaigns against the Scots and the Irish Catholics.

It took some time to restore the Crown Jewels, starting with the recreation of the Confessor's Crown in1661, and still used today for the coronation of the Monarch, though it was often carried rather than worn. The original was believed to contain parts of Alfred the Great's crown and it was worn at the coronation of every King or Queen until Cromwell. The famous 'Ruby" (it isn't actually a ruby, but a spinel weighing 170 carats) is now restored to the Crown Jewels, and can be seen at the front of the Imperial State Crown worn for the State Opening of Parliament and other "State" occassions. St Edward's Crown weighs a whopping 4 lbs 12 ounces (2.2 kg) largely because it is solid gold and set with 444 precious stones.

It is perhaps ironic that on this day in 1453, the last Byzantine Emperor died at the hands of the Turkish invaders, bringing to an end the Eastern Roman Empire. This event did trigger the exodus - begun in in 1326 - of the philosopher's, artists and thinkers who would bring the flowering of science and art to the west.  It brought the Renaissance into fruition, and the refugees brought with them copies of all the ancient texts from Greece, Egypt and the East long available only to a restricted few from the west.

I will tonight raise a toast. To my Queen and Sovereign and her heirs and successors. Long may they continue, and may their enemies reap only frustration and defeat.

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.


Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen.

2 comments:

  1. Slim McJim says:
    I'm glad you missed out the bit about rebellious Scots...

    The main reason I support the monarchy is that the alternative doesn't bear thinking about. I mean, can you imagine President Blair, and his fragrant First Lady? Or even worse, President Brown...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Quite. Imagine a President Prescot in Buckingham Palace ...

    ReplyDelete