British Roal famyli
Eleanor of Aquitaine
The Troubadour's Daughter.......................................................................3
Queen of France.................................................................................4
The Second Crusade...........................................................................5
Queen of England...............................................................................6
Eleanor the Eagle................................................................................7
The Middle Tudor Monarchs
Edward VI, the Boy King...........................................................................9
Jane Grey, Queen for Nine Days........................................................10
"Bloody" Queen Mary I......................................................................14
British Royal ceremonies. Introduction.....................................................18
Trooping the color..............................................................................18
Changing the Guard............................................................................20
Mounting the Guard............................................................................21
The Ceremony of the Keys..................................................................21
The Lord Mayor’s show......................................................................22
Remembrance Day. (Poppy Day)........................................................24
Eleanor of Aquitaine
The Troubadour's Daughter
Eleanor of Aquitaine was born around 1122. Her grandfather, William IX, was the wealthy and powerful duke of Aquitaine. He was also a musician and poet, acknowledged as history's first troubadour.
William IX didn't just sing about love. By the time he was twenty he had married and divorced his first wife, Ermengarde. His second wife was Philippa (or Maud) of Toulouse, the widowed queen of Aragon. They had two sons, William and Raymond, and five daughters. When the Troubadour tired of Philippa, she moved to the same nunnery where Ermengard lived. After Philippa's death, Ermengarde tried to force William to take her back, but the duke had other ideas. He had abducted a married woman called Dangereuse ("dangerous" in French), and she was now his mistress.
In time the Troubadour decided that his elder son, William, should marry Dangereuse's daughter Aenor. (Dangereuse's husband was Aenor's father.) The younger William didn't want to marry Aenor, but he had no choice. The marriage took place in 1121, and a year or so later Eleanor of Aquitaine was born. She was followed by a daughter, Aelith (or Petronella) and a son, William Aigret.
When Eleanor was about five years old, William the Troubadour died and her father became Duke William X. A few years later, Eleanor's mother and brother died. Now Eleanor was heir to the vast realm of Aquitaine.
Like his father, William X was a patron of the troubadours and storytellers, and growing up in his court Eleanor developed a lifelong love of music and literature. Proud of his lively, intelligent daughter, William gave her an excellent education. She travelled through Aquitaine with him, preparing for her future role of duchess. Father and daughter were close, and it must have been a harsh blow for Eleanor when William, while making a religious pilgrimage, died suddenly of food poisoning.
Eleanor was just fifteen, and her life was about to change forever. On his deathbed William had asked his men to commend Eleanor to the care of Louis the Fat, king of France. Louis was no fool. He knew just what to do with his young, very beautiful, extremely wealthy ward - marry her off to his own son and heir. And so on August 1, 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine married the future King Louis VII.
Queen of France
Both Eleanor and her husband were in their teens, but they had little else in common. Eleanor was high-spirited and strong-willed; Louis was a quiet, religious young man, regarded by some as a saint. No one ever mistook Eleanor of Aquitaine for a saint.
A few days after the wedding, Eleanor's father-in-law died and her husband became King Louis VII. Eleanor, who was not one to stay at home making tapestries, threw herself enthusiastically into the role of queen. To the dismay of many observers, the new king respected his wife's intelligence and consulted her frequently on matters of state. Queen Eleanor frequently visited Aquitaine, where she was well-regarded by her father's former vassals.
Eleanor's sister, Petronella, was also keeping busy. With Eleanor's encouragement, a nobleman divorced his wife to marry Petronella, which didn't make the family of Wife Number One very happy. War broke out, and Louis led his troops against a town called Vitry, setting it on fire. The townspeople sought refuge in a church, which burned down. More than one thousand people perished. Louis was wracked by guilt.
During the first years of her marriage Eleanor had just one child, who was stillborn. An influential miracle-working abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, told her that she was childless because God disapproved of her wicked ways. Either Eleanor temporarily mended her ways or God relented, because in 1145 she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Marie. But Eleanor wasn't ready to settle down and be a typical medieval mommy.
The Second Crusade
In 1144 the city of Edessa (located in modern-day Turkey), which had been in Christian hands for almost fifty years, was captured by Muslims. Most of its citizens were massacred or sold into slavery. Inspired by this event and the preaching of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Louis VII and German emperor Conrad III organized their own separate military expeditions to the Middle East. The French and Germans had little interest in cooperating with each other; still, their dual effort is known as The Second Crusade.
Eleanor had no intention of sitting quietly at home while her husband went off on his adventure. The king's advisors may have been opposed to taking Eleanor and her company of 300 women along on the Crusade, but Eleanor was also offering the services of a thousand men from Aquitaine, and the king accepted. When they reached Antioch they were greeted by Eleanor's uncle, Raymond of Poitiers, who had become ruler of the city by marrying its young princess. Raymond entertained the crusaders in grand style, paying special attention to his flirtatious niece.
Although Raymond had a reputation for being a faithful husband, Eleanor's reputation was less spotless, and gossip about their relationship soon began to fly. The rumors followed Eleanor for the rest of her life. Many years later an English chronicler wrote sneeringly, "How Eleanor, queen of France, behaved when she was across the sea in Palestine... all these things are well enough known."
Whether or not Eleanor had an affair with her uncle, she was certainly influenced by him. When Raymond pleaded for Louis's help in defending Antioch, Eleanor took his side. When Louis refused to assist Raymond, Eleanor declared that she wanted a divorce. Louis, who adored his wife, was angry and hurt. He left Antioch and forced Eleanor to go with him. She never saw Raymond again. In 1149 he was killed in a battle against the Muslims. His severed head was sent to the caliph in Baghdad.
The Second Crusade was a failure, partly because of the quarreling among its leaders. Eventually Louis abandoned the cause and returned to France. Eleanor went with him -- on a separate ship. On their way home they stopped in Rome, where the pope persuaded them to go to bed together. The result of this papal intercession was a second daughter, Alix, born in 1150.
But the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII never truly recovered from Eleanor's scandalous behavior in Antioch, and in 1152 Louis granted Eleanor the divorce she desired. Eleanor was not destined to remain single for long.
Queen of England
In 1152, less than two months after her divorce from King Louis VII of France, Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet, the grandson of England's King Henry I. He was eighteen, eleven years younger than Eleanor. Their marriage scandalized observers. Eleanor, it was rumored, had previously had an affair with Henry's father.
In the words of a contemporary writer, Gerald of Wales, "Count Geoffrey of Anjou when he was seneschal of France took advantage of Queen Eleanor; for which reason he often warned his son Henry, telling him above all not to touch her, they say, both because she was his lord's wife, and because he had known her himself." But, ignoring his father's advice, Henry "presumed to sleep adulterously with the said queen of France, taking her from his own lord and marrying her himself. How could anything fortunate, I ask, emerge from these copulations?"
The first thing to emerge -- just five months after Eleanor and Henry's hasty marriage -- was a son, William. The child died a few years later. By then Henry had claimed the English throne. Eleanor, formerly queen of France, was now the queen of England.
Eleanor and Henry had seven surviving children: Henry, Matilda, Richard, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joan, and John. As the children grew up, Eleanor and her husband grew apart. At first Henry conducted secret love affairs. Then he began a public relationship with a knight's daughter, Rosamond Clifford, "the Fair Rosamond." Legend has it that the jealous Queen Eleanor confronted Rosamond with a dagger in one hand and a cup of poison in the other and forced her to choose which way she would die. (Rosamond did die in 1177, but probably of natural causes.)
King Henry later became involved with his son Richard's fiancee, a French princess who also happened to be the daughter of Eleanor's first husband, Louis VII. Not surprisingly, Richard never married the girl.
In 1168 Eleanor returned to France to rule her restless subjects. Her court quickly became a center of culture. She was reunited with her eldest daughter from her first marriage, Marie, who shared her interests. But Eleanor wasn't content to spend the rest of her life patronizing troubadours and presiding over courts of love. She wanted more power than Henry was willing to give her, and she began plotting against him. Henry summoned her back to England, where she continued to scheme.
Eleanor the Eagle
In 1173, Eleanor's three eldest sons - Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey - rebelled against their father, Henry II, with Eleanor's support. They were forced to flee to France. Eleanor tried to follow, disguised as a man, but she was captured by Henry's forces.
King Henry kept Eleanor more or less imprisoned for sixteen long years. His sons continued to war against him; in the end even his favorite son, John, turned against him. Finally, in 1189, Henry II died. Eleanor and Henry's eldest son, Henry, was already dead, so Eleanor's favorite, Richard the Lionheart, became king. Richard soon went away on a crusade, leaving his mother as regent. "He issued instructions to the princes of the realm, almost in the style of a general edict, that the queen's word should be law in all matters," wrote a contemporary chronicler, Ralph of Diceto.
She proved to be a shrewd ruler. When Richard was taken hostage, Eleanor helped to raise his ransom money. She also stood up to Richard's brother John, who plotted to seize the throne. She even managed to get Richard and John to reconcile after Richard's return to England.
Eventually Richard died and John became king. Like Richard, King John respected his mother and heeded her advice. She, in return, supported him against his enemies. Eleanor was now quite elderly by the standards of her time, but she continued to lead an active life, travelling through Europe and arranging marriages for her grandchildren. In 1202 the ailing Eleanor was trapped in a castle by the army of the French king, with whom John was at war, but John freed her.
Eleanor of Aquitaine died in 1204 at the abbey of Fontevrault, which she had long patronized. She is buried there, as are Henry II and Richard the Lionheart.
According to Ralph of Diceto, Eleanor's life "revealed the truth of a prophecy which had puzzled all by its obscurity: 'The eagle of the broken bond shall rejoice in the third nestling.' They called the queen the eagle because she stretched out her wings, as it were, over two kingdoms - France and England. She had been separated from her French relatives through divorce, while the English had separated her from her marriage bed by confining her to prison . . . Richard, her third son - and thus the third nestling - was the one who would raise his mother's name to great glory."
The Middle Tudor Monarchs
Edward VI, the Boy King
Edward VI was born on October 12, 1537. His parents were England's King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife. For more than a quarter century Henry had desperately wanted a son, and Edward's birth caused great rejoicing. But Queen Jane soon fell ill with childbed fever, and on October 24 she died.
Until the age of six Edward was raised by his nurse, Mother Jack, and other servants. During that time Henry took two wives in quick succession, but both marriages ended badly; Anne of Cleves was discarded because the king found her ugly, and Katherine Howard was executed for adultery. In 1543 Henry married Katherine Parr, who became a loving stepmother to Edward and his older half sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. She was a highly learned woman who personally oversaw Prince Edward's education.
Edward's tutors taught him geography, government, history, French, German, Greek, and Latin. He was also given lessons in etiquette, fencing, horseback riding, music and other gentlemanly pursuits. Perhaps most important to Edward was his study of the Scriptures. He became a devout Protestant even though his father, who had severed England's connection to the Roman Catholic Church, remained conservative and mostly Catholic in his beliefs.
Although Edward was serious and studious, at times he displayed a savage temper. According to one account, he once tore a living falcon into four pieces.
Henry VIII died in 1547 and his nine-year-old son became King Edward VI. A council was appointed to rule during Edward's minority, with Edward's uncle, the duke of Somerset (Jane Seymour's brother), as Protector of the country and the king.
Somerset's brother, Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour, was jealous of Somerset and schemed to put himself in power. The admiral was arrested and charged with treason. Somerset hesitated to sign his brother's death warrant, so Edward gave the council permission to have his uncle beheaded. Somerset himself later fell from the king's favor and lost his role as Protector. The duke of Northumberland took control of the king and council, and eventually Somerset, like his brother, was arrested and charged with treason. Under pressure from Northumberland, fourteen-year-old Edward signed Somerset's death warrant. Somerset was executed in 1552.
By this time Edward had completed his education and was participating in council meetings. It was decided that the king would take charge of the country at age sixteen. This was bad news for his sister Mary, an ardent Catholic who refused to cooperate with Edward's religious reforms. However, Edward got along well with his other sister, Elizabeth, a moderate Protestant.
Edward suffered a bout of smallpox in April 1552, and from that time his health declined. By the next spring it was obvious that the king was dying of consumption (tuberculosis). His father's will had specified that Mary should become queen if Edward died without children, but Northumberland had different ideas. He persuaded Edward to name the Protestant Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Lady Jane was the granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary; she was also Northumberland's daughter-in-law, and through her Northumberland hoped to rule England.
On July 6, 1553 Edward whispered his last prayer and died. He was fifteen years old.
Jane Grey, Queen for Nine Days
Lady Jane Grey was born just two days before Edward VI, and may have been his friend in childhood. Her father was Henry Grey, the marquis of Dorset (later the duke of Suffolk). Her mother was Frances Brandon, a niece of Henry VIII who was third in the royal line of succession. Jane had two younger sisters, Katherine and Mary.
Jane's parents were, in her words, "sharp and severe" to her. She once told a visitor to her family home, Bradgate Manor, that her mother and father expected to do everything "as perfectly as God made the world, or else I am sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened . . . that I think myself in hell." She said that her parents pinched her and abused her in other ways she would not name out of respect for them.
She found refuge in her studies, which she enjoyed so much that she cried when her lessons were over for the day. "Whatsoever I do else, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking," she said.
Jane's parents had big dreams for their intellectual eldest daughter. They hoped she would marry her cousin Edward and thus become queen of England. When Jane was nine, her parents sent her to live with Henry VIII's widow, Katherine Parr, and Katherine's new husband, Thomas Seymour. Jane was happy with the Seymours, but Katherine soon died died and Thomas Seymour was arrested, forcing Jane to return to her parents.
Once, on a visit to Henry VIII's daughter Mary, Jane openly disparaged Mary's Catholic beliefs. Although Mary was hurt, she later sent Jane a pretty velvet dress to wear to court. Jane, who thought fine clothes were sinful, tried to refuse the gift, saying it would be "a shame to follow my Lady Mary against God's word," but her parents insisted she wear it in the hope that it would impress the king. Many people expected Edward to marry Jane, but he wanted to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, or some other foreign princess.
By the time Jane was fifteen, her parents had abandoned their dream of marrying her to King Edward. Jane now believed that she was betrothed to the duke of Somerset's son, Lord Hertford. She was stunned when her parents informed her that she was instead to marry Guildford Dudley, the youngest son of the duke of Northumberland. Guildford was a handsome young man, one year Jane's senior, but it seems Jane didn't like him very much. She refused to marry him, and went on refusing until her mother literally beat her into submission.
Jane married Guildford Dudley in May of 1553. The marriage was consummated the following month at Northumberland's command, but the couple continued to live apart. Jane's new mother-in-law visited her on July 3 and told her, "His Majesty hath made you heir to his realm." Jane said later that this unexpected news "greatly disturbed" her.
Three days later the king died. Northumberland kept the death secret for several days to prevent Edward's sister Mary from claiming the crown. But on July 9 Mary, who was in Norfolk, heard the news and proclaimed herself queen. On the same day Jane was taken to Northumberland's house and led to a throne. Everyone bowed or curtsied to her. Realizing what was happening, Jane began to shake. Northumberland made a speech announcing that Jane was the new queen, at which Jane fell on the floor in a brief faint. No one came to her assistance and she remained on the floor, sobbing.
Finally she got to her feet and announced, "The crown is not my right, and pleaseth me not. The Lady Mary is the rightful heir."
When her parents, husband, and father-in-law remonstrated with her, Jane dropped to her knees and prayed for guidance. She asked God to give her "such spirit and grace that I may govern to Thy glory and service, and to the advantage of the realm." Then she took her seat on the throne and allowed those present to kiss her hand and swear their allegiance to her.
The next day Jane made her state entry into London. Most people felt that Mary was the rightful heir to the throne, and very few cheers greeted Jane. She was taken to the Tower of London, as was traditional. She protested when the Lord High Treasurer brought her the crown, but after a while she agreed to wear it. When the treasurer said that another crown would be made for her husband, Jane was displeased. Despite Guildford's rage and tears, she insisted that she would not permit him to be king.
For a few days Northumberland stayed close to Jane, bringing her documents to sign and generally telling her what to do. Despite Jane's objection to making Guildford king, Northumberland announced that both she and her husband would be crowned in two weeks. Then Northumberland left with an army to capture Mary, who was marching toward London with an army of her own. While he was gone the nervous royal council decided to proclaim Mary the rightful queen. The proclamation was made on July 19. The people of London were jubilant. Determined to save himself, Jane's father signed the proclamation making Mary queen, then went to his daughter's apartments and tore down her canopy of estate, telling her she was no longer queen.
"Out of obedience to you and my mother I have grievously sinned," Jane said quietly. "Now I willingly relinquish the crown. May I not go home?"
Her father left without answering her. Jane remained in the Tower, where she and Guildford soon became prisoners. Her father and Northumberland were also arrested and brought back to the tower. Henry Grey was released after a few days. He and Frances did not write to Jane or try to save her life. Although Northumberland hastily converted to Catholicism and spoke of his desire to live and kiss Mary's feet, he was executed in August.
On November 13 Jane and Guildford were tried and sentenced to death. Jane wasn't worried, however, because she had been told that the queen would pardon her. Then, in February of 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt raised a revolt against Mary. He was quickly arrested, but his rebellion hardened Mary's heart against her enemies. She signed Jane and Guildford's death warrants. When Jane heard the news she said, "I am ready and glad to end my woeful days." The queen offered to reprieve Jane if she would convert to the Catholic faith, but Jane refused.
Jane's father had supported the rebels, and he too was sentenced to death. Now he wrote to Jane and asked for her forgiveness. She wrote back, "Although it hath pleased God to hasten my death by you, by whom my life should rather have been lengthened, yet can I patiently take it, that I yield God more hearty thanks for shortening my woeful days."
Queen Mary granted Guildford permission to meet with Jane one last time, but Jane refused to see her husband, saying that they would meet in a better place, where friendships were happy.
On February 11 Jane watched from a window as her husband walked to Tower Hill to be executed; later she saw his headless body being brought back to the Tower, at which she cried, "Oh Guildford! Guildford! Oh, the bitterness of death!"
About an hour later, Jane too made the walk to Tower Hill. On the scaffold she knelt and recited the 51st Psalm, then blinded herself and asked the executioner to kill her quickly. Unable to find the block, she exclaimed "What shall I do? Where is it?" A bystander helped her to the block. She put her head on it and said, "Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." The executioner killer her with one blow and held up her head, saying, "So perish all the queen's enemies! Behold the head of a traitor!"
"Bloody" Queen Mary I
Mary was born on February 18, 1516. She was the only surviving child of Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry doted on Mary when she was little, calling her "the greatest pearl in the kingdom." The princess received an excellent education, and was carefully sheltered.
In 1522 Henry arranged Mary's betrothal to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Charles was an adult, and Mary was just six years old; the marriage would take place when she was twelve. Mary had met Charles and liked the idea of marrying him. But in 1525 Charles broke off the engagement so that he could marry Princess Isabella of Portugal. That same year Henry sent Princess Mary to live in Wales, as was traditional for the king's heir.
The year 1527 started off well for Princess Mary. She returned to live at her father's court and celebrated her engagement to a son of the king of France. But Henry VIII's attitude toward Mary and her mother had started to change. He had decided that God disapproved of his marriage to Catherine; why else had the queen failed to produce healthy male children? And he was in love with the woman who was to become his second wife: Anne Boleyn.
Soon Mary learned that Henry wanted to annul his marriage to her mother. For this, the king needed the pope's permission. While he waited, he continued to treat Catherine as his queen and Mary as his heir. But Mary's legitimacy was now in doubt, making her less valuable on the marriage market. The French engagement was broken off and no other match was arranged for her, although her father's advisors considered marrying her to King Henry's illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy. (Fitzroy married someone else. He died young and without heirs.)
Henry grew increasingly angry at Catherine for resisting his attempt to end their marriage. Finally, in 1531, he sent Catherine away from court. After being shuffled between various castles and palaces, the queen ended up a prisoner at Kimbolton Castle, near Huntingdon. Realizing that the pope would never grant his divorce, Henry split from the Catholic church, established the Church of England, had his marriage declared invalid, and married Anne Boleyn. Anne gave birth to a daughter, Princess Elizabeth, in 1533.
Mary was now officially a bastard, called "the lady Mary," but, like her mother, she refused to accept her change in status. Henry was infuriated by his daughter's defiance and threatened to have her executed if she did not stop referring to herself as a princess. When Mary was eighteen, her household was disbanded and she was sent to live in Princess Elizabeth's household, where she was treated badly. Henry refused to see her, but he was not completely indifferent to Mary. Once, glimpsing her at a window, he nodded and touched his hat politely.
Catherine and Mary were not permitted to visit each other, and Catherine died in 1536 without seeing her daughter again. Now Mary was alone. Four months after Catherine's death, however, Mary's greatest enemy toppled from power when Anne Boleyn was arrested on false charges of adultery and executed. Anne had hated Mary and stated that she wanted her dead. With Anne gone, Henry treated his eldest daughter somewhat more kindly. His third, fourth, and sixth wives were all well-disposed toward Mary. (She got along less well with his teenaged fifth wife, Katherine Howard.) Although she never regained her former status or her father's affection, she was once again part of the royal family.
At first she got along well with the king's other children. As Elizabeth and Edward grew up, however, up their Protestant views put them at odds with Mary, who never swayed from her devout Catholicism. As king, Edward scolded and bullied Mary about her beliefs, and finally disinherited her in favor of Jane Grey. But in 1553, at the age of thirty-seven, Mary at last became queen.
Soon after her accession, Mary began considering the possibility of marrying Prince Philip of Spain, the son of her former fiance, Emperor Charles V. It worried her that Philip was eleven years her junior because he was "likely to be disposed to be amorous, and such is not my desire, not at my time of life, and never having harbored thoughts of love." With difficulty the emperor's envoy convinced her that Philip was a stable, mature adult who would help protect her kingdom.
Mary's subjects were alarmed to learn of her engagement to the Spanish prince, fearing that England would become part of Spain. The queen, however, had no intention of turning the country over to Philip. He arrived in England on July 20, 1554, and met Mary for the first time on July 23. Mary liked Philip from the start, and he treated her kindly, although he probably found her unattractive. (The men who had accompanied him to England later described Mary as old, badly dressed, and almost toothless.) The wedding took place two days later. Two months later, Mary's doctors told her that she was pregnant.
In December a law was passed that allowed bishops of the Church of England to convict heretics and sentence them to death by burning. Almost 300 people were burned alive during Mary's reign with Mary's full approval, earning her the nickname "Bloody Mary."
By the summer of 1555 it became obvious that Mary was no longer pregnant, if she had ever been. Mary was bitterly disappointed. Philip left England that August, promising Mary that he would soon return. Mary missed him desperately. Philip didn't return to England until March of 1557. After a few months he left to go to war; Mary never saw him again.
After Philip's departure, Mary experienced another humiliating false pregnancy. She became depressed and paranoid. Adding to her misery was the French conquest of the city of Calais, which had been in English hands for over two hundred years. "When I am dead, you will find Calais lying on my heart," she told one of her attendants.
Tortured by loneliness and unhappiness, Queen Mary fell ill. She died on November 17, 1558 and was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth.
British Royal ceremonies. Introduction.
British people are proud of pageants and ceremonies of the national capital – London. Many of them are world famous and attract numerous tourists from all over the world. They include daily ceremonies and annuals. Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace at 11.30 a. m., Ceremony of the Keys at 10 p. m. in the Tower, Mounting the Guard at the Horse Guards square are most popular daily ceremonies. Of those which are held annually the oldest are the most cherished are: the glorious pageantry of Trooping the Color, which marks the official birthday of the Queen (the second Saturday in June); Firing the Royal Salute to mark anniversaries of the Queen’s Accession on February 6 and her birthday on April 21; opening of the Courts marking the start of the Legal Year in October; and Lord Mayor’s Show on the second Saturday in November, when the newly elected Lord Mayor is driven in the beautiful guilded coach pulled by six white horses to take the Royal Court of Justice where he takes his oath of office and becomes second in importance in the City only to the Sovereign (Queen).
Trooping the color.
Trooping the color is one of the most magnificent military ceremonies in Britain and perhaps in the world. It is held annually on the reigning monarch’s “official” birthday, which is the second Saturday in June.
Queen Elizabeth II is Colonel – in – Chief of the Household Division of five regiments of foot Guards and two regiments of Mounted Guards. The Trooping marks the official birthday of the Queen and each year the color (flag) of one of the five regiments of Foot Guards is displayed to the music of massed bands.
The ceremony stemmed from the need of soldiers to recognize the colors of their regiment in battle. The Parade is complex and precise and all seven regiments of the Household division take part, but only one color is trooped each year.
Wearing the uniform of one of these regiments the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace and rides down the Mall to the Horse Guards Parade accompanied by the sovereign’s Mounted Escort from the two Household Cavalry Units – the Life Guards wearing scarlet tunics with white plumes in their helmets and the Blues and Royals in blue tunics with red Plumes.
Precisely as the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes 11, the Queen takes the Royal Salute. After inspecting her troops, the sovereign watches a display of marching to the tune of massed bands before the solemn moment when the Color is trooped by being carried along the motionless ranks of guardsmen lined up to await the Queen. The Color is then “trooped” or displayed before her.
Afterwards, she returns to the Palace at the head of the Guards deputed to mount the Palace Guard. Royal Family appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the fly-past of the Royal Air Forces at 1 p. m. Only one Color is “trooped” annually, that of each regiment in strict rotation. Originally it was called “lodging” the Color: each regiment’s own Color being laid up, to music known as a “Troop”.
The five regiments of Foot Guards can be identified by the plumes in their caps or bearskins, and by the spacing of the buttons on their tunics. The Grenadier Guards have white plumes and evenly spaced buttons: the Coldstreams, red plumes and buttons in pairs: the Scots Guards, no plumes and buttons in threes: the Irish Guards, blue plumes and buttons in fours: the Welsh Guards, white – and – green plumes and buttons in fives. The Guards have been carrying out their duty of guarding the sovereign since 1660 (the time of the restoration of Monarchy).
Changing the Guard.
The spectacular ceremony of Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace attracts numerous spectators from the country and tourists from different parts of the world. The Guard is changed at 11.30 a.m. daily. It is formed from one of the regiments of Foot Guards. A band leads the new guard from Wellington or Chelsea barracks to the palace forecourt and after the ceremony it leads the old guard back to their barracks.
The history of the Foot Guards goes back to 1656, when Charles II of England, during his exile in Holland, recruited a small body-guard, which was merged in the regiment of guards enrolled at the Restoration in 1660. On St. Valentine’s Day, 1661, on Tower Hill, what had been the Lord General’s Regiment of Foot Guards, formed by Oliver Cromwell in 1650, took its arms as an “extraordinary guard” for the Sovereign. Having marched from Coldstream, near Berwick – upon – Tweed, it acquired the title of the Coldstream Guards. Its motto of nulli secundus sufficiently denoted its denial of precedence to the first Guards. The latter acquired their title of Grenadier Guards and their bearskin headdress – later adopted by the rest of the Guards brigade – by virtue of their defeat of napoleon’s grenadier guards at Waterloo.
In 1661 the Scots Fusilier Guards became known for the first time as the Scots Guards. In 1707 they were put on the same footing as the other two Guards regiments.
In 1900 Queen Victoria, pleased with the fighting quality of the Irish regiments in the South African War, commanded the formation of the Irish Guards. In 1915 the representation nature of the brigade was rounded off by the formation of the Welsh Guards.
The Brigade of Guards serves as a personal bodyguard to the Sovereign. When the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace, there is a guard of four sentries. Only two are on duty when she is away from London. When the Queen is in residence at Windsor Castle, another Changing the Guard ceremony takes place in the Quadrangle there at 10 a. m. daily.
Mounting the Guard.
Mounted Guard takes part in another colorful ceremony which is held at 11 a. m. on weekdays and 10 a. m. on Sundays at the Horse Guards, a square facing Whitehall. The entrance to the Horse Guards is guarded by two mounted troopers who are at their posts daily from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. The guard is formed by units of the Household Cavalry (Mounted Guard) – the Life Guards and the Royals (the Blues and Royals). When the Queen is in London, an officer, a corporal of horse, 16 troopers and a trumpeter on a grey horse take part in the ceremony. The Royals can be identified by the red plumes on their helmets and by their blue uniforms. The Life Guards wear white plumes and red tunics.
The Ceremony of the Keys.
Every night at 9.53 p. m. the Chief Warder of the Yeomen Warders (Beefeaters) of the Tower of London lights a candle lantern and then makes his way towards the Bloody Tower. In the Archway his Escort await his arrival. The Chief Warder, carrying the keys, then moves off with his Escort to the West Gate, which he locks, while the Escort “present arms”. Then the Middle and Byward are locked.
The party then returns to the Bloody Tower Archway, and there they are halted by the challenge of the sentry. “Halt!” he commands. “Who goes there?” The Chief Warder answers, “The keys”. The sentry demands, “Whose keys?” “Queen Elizabeth’s keys”, replies the Chief Warder. “Advance, Queen Elizabeth’s keys; all’s well”, commands the sentry.
Having received permission to proceed through the Archway, the party then form up facing the Main guard of the Tower. The order is given by the officer - in – charge to “Present Arms”. The Chief Warder doffs his Tudor – style bonnet and cries, “God preserve Queen Elizabeth”. “Amen”, answer the Guard and Escort.
At 10 p. m. the bugler sounds the “Last Post” (signal to return). The Chief Warder proceeds to the Queen’s House, where the keys are given into the custody of the Resident Governor and Major.
The Ceremony of the Keys dates back 700 years and has taken place every night during that period, even during the blitz of London in the last war. On one particular night, April 16, 1941, bomb blast disrupted the ceremony, knocking out members of the Escort and Yeomen Warders. Despite this, the duty was completed.
Only a limited number of visitors are admitted to the ceremony each night. Application to see it must be made at least forty – eight hours in advance at the Constable’s office in the Tower. Visitors with the permission are admitted at 9.40 p. m. and leave at 10 p. m.
The Lord Mayor’s show.
The splendid civic event known as the Lord Mayor’s show is watched by many thousands of people, who throng the streets of the City of London to see this interesting procession and admire its glittering pageantry. The ceremony is the gesture of pride in the City’s history and strength as a world commercial centre. The ceremony seems still more bright and colorful because it is always held on the second Saturday in November when the city is often wrapped in mist or rain.
Its origin dates back more than six hundred years, when it began as a waterborne procession with ornate barges sailing down the river Thames. Dressed in his fur – trimmed scarlet gown, a “Cap Dignity”, and wearing the great 5 feet long gold chain of office the newly elected Lord Mayor first watches a cavalcade of decorated floats pass by his stand at his official residence, the Mansion House. Then he steps into his gilded State Coach and takes up his position of honour at the rear of the procession. Accompanied by the Pikemen in their half – armour the Lord Mayor is driven in his Gilded coach from Guildhall, past St. Paul’s Cathedral, down Fleet street to the Royal Court of Justice, where he takes his oath of office before the Lord Chief Justice. The tradition of taking oath (“declaration”) originated in 1230 during the reign of Henry III and the final declaration was made before the Barons of the Exchequer.
The Lord Mayor’s coach, weighing 4 tons and pulled by six horses was built in 1757 and was painted by the famous Florentine painter Giovanni Cipriani. A body guard of Pikemen and Musketeers march beside the coach. Many people in the procession wear traditional historic costumes. Each year a theme relating to London life or history is chosen and floats decorated with tableaux on this theme precede the Lord Mayor’s coach. The Lord Mayor who is also the City’s Chief Magistrate, is selected by the liverymen of the City Companies (guilds). One of the most distinguished of London’s Lord Mayors was Dick Whittington (1423) who held office four times. After the oath has been taken, the entire procession returns via Victoria Embankment to the original point of departure.
On the following Monday evening the Lord Mayer gives a splendid Inaugural banquet at Guildhall. This has two traditions – a first course of turtle soup and speech from the Prime minister.
This glittering occasion is attended by many of the most prominent people in the country and is usually televised. The Prime Minister delivers a major political speech and the toast of the hosts on behalf of the quests is proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Half the cost of the Show and Banquet is paid by the Mayor and the other half is met by the two Sheriffs. One can imagine how high the costs are but a Lord Mayor regards such financial sacrifices as worth while because of the prestige, since in his year of office he is second in importance in the City only to the Sovereign. The official residence of the Lord Mayor in Mansion House, which was designed in Palladian style in the 18th century, but has been altered since. The Guildhall, dating from the 15th century is the place where the Lord Mayor, Alderman and the City fathers conduct the City’s affairs. Important banquets and ceremonial occasions are held there. The City has not only its own Mayor, but also its own government and its own police force. Even the sovereign (Queen) has to stop at the City’s frontiers until the Lord Mayor allows admittance.
Remembrance Day. (Poppy Day)
Remembrance Day is observed throughout Britain in commemoration of the million or more British soldiers and airmen who lost their lives during the two World Wars. On that day, the second Sunday in November, special services are held in the churches and wreaths are laid at war memorials throughout the country and at London’s Cenotaph, where a great number of people gather to observe the two – minute silence and to perform the annual Remembrance Day ceremony. The silence begins at the first stroke of Big Ben 11 o’clock, and is broken only by the crash of distant artillery and perhaps by the murmur of a passing jet. Members of the Royal Family or their representatives and political leaders come forward to lay wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph. Then comes the march past the memorial of ex-servicemen and women, followed by an endless line of ordinary citizens who have come here with their personal wreaths and their sad memories.
On that day artificial poppies, a symbol of mourning, are traditionally sold in the streets everywhere, and people wear them in their buttonholes. The money collected in this way is later used to help the men who had been crippled during the war and their dependants.
In the past the day was known as Armistice Day and was marked on the 11 of November, as that was the day when armistice (agreement to stop military actions) sought by German from Allies, came into force in 1918. Armistice Day was kept since 1919 – 1938. Two minutes silence was observed throughout the British Commonwealth starting at 11 a. m. the ceremony lapsed during the second World War, but was resumed in 1945. The following year it was decided to observe a Remembrance Day for both World Wars. It was to be held annually on Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday in November). The most magnificent ceremony is held at the Cenotaph in London, a memorial to those who died during the two world wars. On Remembrance Day the ceremony is attended by the Queen and royal family, statesmen and politicians, representatives of the armed forces and Commonwealth.
1. N. M. Nesterova “Regional Geography orarea studies”
2. T. Khimunina, N. Konon, L. Walshe “Customs, Traditions and Festivals of Great Britain”