Coronation Anecdotes Part 13

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Gentleman Harbinger of the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners.

Clerk of the Cheque Clerk of the Cheque to to the Yeomen of the Guard. the Gentlemen Pensioners.

Yeomen of the Guard, to close the Procession.

On the arrival of the procession at the Abbey, the Herb-woman and her Maids, and the Serjeant-Porter, remained at the entrance within the great west door.


The King entered the west door of the Abbey church at eleven o'clock, and was received with the undermentioned anthem, which was sung by the choir of Westminster, who, with the dean and prebendaries, quitted the procession a little before, and went to the left side of the middle aisle, and remained there till his Majesty arrived, and then followed in the procession next to the regalia.


Psalm cxxii. verses 1, 5, 6, 7. "I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the House of the Lord. For there is the seat of judgment, even the seat of the House of David. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces."

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

During the above his Majesty pa.s.sed through the body of the church, and through the choir up the stairs to the theatre. He then pa.s.sed his throne and made his humble adoration, and afterwards knelt at the faldstool set for him before his chair; at the same time his Majesty used some short private prayer: he then sat down (not on his throne, but in his chair before and below his throne) and reposed himself.


When the King was thus placed, the archbishop turned to the east part of the theatre; then, together with the lord chancellor, lord great chamberlain, lord high constable, and earl marshal (Garter king at arms preceding them), went to the other three sides of the theatre, in the order, south, west, and north, and at each side addressed the people in a loud voice; the King at the same time standing up by his chair, turned and showed himself to the people at each of the four sides of the theatre, while the archbishop spoke as follows:--


"I here present unto you King George the Fourth, the undoubted king of this realm: wherefore all you that come this day to do your homage, are ye willing to do the same?"

This was answered by the loud and repeated acclamations of the persons present, expressive of their willingness and joy, at the same time they cried out--

"G.o.d save King George the Fourth!"

Then the trumpets sounded.


The archbishop in the meantime went to the altar and put on his cope, and placed himself at the north side of the altar; as did also the bishops who took part in the office.

The officers of the wardrobe, &c. here spread carpets and cushions on the floor and steps of the altar.

And here, first the Bible, paten, and cup, were brought and placed upon the altar. The King then, supported by the two bishops of Durham and Bath, and attended by the dean of Westminster, the lords carrying the regalia before him, went down to the altar, and knelt upon the steps of it, and made his first oblation, uncovered.

Here the pall, or altar-cloth of gold, was delivered by the master of the great wardrobe to the lord great chamberlain, and by him, kneeling, it was presented to his Majesty. The treasurer of the household then delivered a wedge of gold of a pound weight to the lord great chamberlain, which he, kneeling, delivered to his Majesty. The King then (uncovered) delivered them to the archbishop.

The archbishop received them one after another (standing) from his Majesty, and laid the pall reverently upon the altar. The gold was received into the basin; and, with like reverence, was placed upon the altar.

Then the archbishop said the following prayer, the King still kneeling:--

O G.o.d, who dwellest in the high and holy place, with them also who are of an humble spirit; mercifully look down upon this thy humble servant, GEORGE our King, here humbling himself before thee at thy footstool, and graciously receive these oblations which, in humble acknowledgment of thy sovereignty over all, and of thy great bounty to him in particular, he hath now offered up unto thee, through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

When the King had thus offered his oblation, he went to his chair set for him on the south side of the altar, and knelt at his faldstool, and the Litany commenced, which was read by two bishops, vested in copes, and kneeling at a faldstool above the steps of the theatre, on the middle of the east side; the choir read the responses.

In the meantime the lords who carried the regalia, except those who bore the swords, approached the altar, and each presented what he carried to the archbishop, who delivered them to the dean of Westminster, who placed them on the altar. They then retired to the places and seats appointed for them.

The bishops, and the people with them, then said the Lord's Prayer.

The Communion service was read; the people, kneeling, made the responses to the ten commandments, which were delivered by the archbishop.

Then the archbishop, standing as before, said the following Collect for the King:--

_Let us pray._

Almighty G.o.d, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite: have mercy upon the whole church, and so rule the heart of thy chosen servant George our king and governor, that he (knowing whose minister he is) may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all his subjects (duly considering whose authority he hath) may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey him, in thee and for thee, according to thy blessed word and ordinance, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth ever one G.o.d, world without end. Amen.

The following epistle was then read by one of the bishops:--

1 Pet. ii. 13.

Submit yourselves to man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of G.o.d, that with well doing, ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of G.o.d. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear G.o.d.

Honour the king.

The Gospel was then read by another bishop, the King and the people standing.

St. Matth. xxii. 15.

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of G.o.d in truth, neither carest thou for any man, for thou regardest not the person of men: tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar, the things which are Caesar's: and unto G.o.d, the things that are G.o.d's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Then the Archbishop read the Nicene Creed; the King and the people standing as before.

I believe in one G.o.d the Father, &c. &c.

At the end of the Creed, the archbishop of York preached the sermon in the pulpit placed against the pillar at the north-east corner of the theatre. The King listened to the same sitting in his chair on the south side of the altar, over against the pulpit.

The Sermon.

His text was the 23d chapter of the Second Book of Samuel, and the 3d and 4th verses.

"He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of G.o.d.

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds."

Such, observed his Grace, were the words of a pious Prince, whose opinions had been matured by experience. A steady adherence to the maxims there laid down could scarcely fail to preserve from error, and would at once inspire the subject with a reverence for the sovereign, and impress the sovereign with a sense of those obligations which bound him to render justice to the people. The duties of kings were of a particular nature, and the subject was one of more than common importance upon a day like the present, which was to be marked by the solemnization of that contract by which the king bound himself to rule with justice and equity. The highest station, and the most exalted rank, were not free from the infirmities of nature; and it therefore behoved the sovereign not to forget that he was himself but the minister of a higher authority, and that it was his duty so to exert the power which resided in him, as to secure the love and attachment of his people. The history of all nations would show that the people were not ungrateful under the administration of good kings. It was true, that it was the disposition of human nature to imagine grievances where in reality none existed; but still there were many real grievances which a king had the power and ought to have the disposition to relieve. The text which he had just read naturally led to the consideration of what were the principles which const.i.tuted a good government. In a moral point of view, no distinction could be drawn between the duties due from one individual to another, and those due from a monarch to his people. It ought not to be forgotten that natural equity demanded the same degree of observance with regard to the contract entered into with a whole people, as it did to those obligations into which individuals entered with regard to each other. There was no higher duty inc.u.mbent upon kings than that of selecting proper persons to represent them in the different departments of state. Upon that step how much of the happiness of the people would depend! It was a proud reflection, that no nation stood more high in the estimation of surrounding nations, or was more admired for its morality, its attention to religious duties, the justice of its measures, or the soundness of its general policy, than our own. He insisted that it was necessary to preserve and to encourage that feeling by a reciprocal attention, on the parts both of the monarch and of the people, to those duties which were due from each. If such an attention was not given, it would be in vain to expect national happiness; and however successful we might be in our dealings with foreign nations, still it ought not to be forgotten that the apparent prosperity of a nation ought not to be regarded as an evidence of the happiness of its people. But, above all, it was necessary that the king should seek to secure respect to himself and obedience to the laws, by displaying in his own person an example of good conduct. It was the province of the monarch to reflect that he was responsible not only for his own actions, but also for that evil which the direct influence of his own example might accomplish. Well, therefore, had it been said in the words of his text, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of G.o.d." A good government would secure to itself a due observance of its own rights, and would also afford to the people the protection of its wisdom and power. His Grace, after some general remarks on the duties of kings, proceeded to observe, that the House of Hanover had always been distinguished by its devotion to the interests of true religion. Our late venerable sovereign had presented a striking example of royal goodness by the attention which had always marked both his public and private conduct; and we were bound to hope (upon looking to the past) that the sovereign who was now about to receive the imperial crown of his ancestors would be equally remarkable for the exemplary discharge of the duties of royalty. Nor ought it to be forgotten that the ill.u.s.trious individual, to whom he had alluded, had not been unused to the functions of government; and that he had given proofs of such capacity and disposition as enabled us to form good hopes of the future. At the time when he had first been called to the exercise of the supreme power, he had found the country involved in a war which threatened its existence--a war which had not been engaged in on our part for the purposes of aggrandis.e.m.e.nt, but for the defence and preservation of our rights. Under his superintendence that war had been concluded, and its conclusion had been marked by exertions unparalleled in the history of any nation. Under such auspices, therefore, it was right to antic.i.p.ate all those blessings which could arise on one hand from the protection of a just and wise monarch, and on the other from the affections of a loyal and happy people. "Let us then adore that Almighty Providence which has conferred upon us such a sovereign; let us implore that blessings may be multiplied on his head, and that his reign may be prosperous and happy."

His Grace commenced the Sermon at a quarter past twelve, and ended it at about a quarter to one.

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Coronation Anecdotes Part 13 summary

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