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Friday, March 2

Royalty at Close Quarters

King George IV in his coronation robes.

If one of the key pleasures of metropolitan public life was the witnessing of royalty, nobility and greater gentry at close quarters, then the ultimate spectacle was obviously the royal court. After Whitehall burned down in 1697 the focus of court display was St. James’s Palace. Great ‘public’ festivities were held at court on the monarch’s birthday, and on the anniversary of the accession and coronation, while smaller drawing room assemblies were held every week in the Season…The royal family was also to be seen at prayer in the Chapel Royal - a conventional stop on tourist itineraries for over a century. Indeed, for all that the vigour and prestige of court society was in relative decline, and the fact that the pageantry of royal ceremonial varied from monarch to monarch, the ‘splendid appearance’ of royalty and nobility, was still greedily beheld by the genteel at every opportunity.

The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England, Amanda Vickery, P 228

St. James's Palace

Coronation Procession of King George IV, 1821

For more about the Coronation of George IV, Georgian Index click on the underlined words.

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