Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge and HRH Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge: The Dress and The Literary References


Blessedly, THE DRESS, designed by Sarah Burton, was elegant, relatively simple, with just enough lace detail, and a well proportioned train. Not a meringue in sight! Even the bouquet was suitably prominent without overwhelming. The tiara was the 1936 Cartier halo, her "something borrowed" on loan from the Queen.




The ceremony included 3 literary references by 3 of Britain's internationally renowned poets; Geoffrey Chaucer (14th century), John Milton (17th century), and William Blake (18th century). They are reproduced below. Notably missing are all of the quotations from arguably the greatest work of English literature, 400 years old on May 2, 2011--The King James Version of The Holy Bible. The full program including the Biblical references is here.

Love will not be constrained by mastery;
When mastery 'comes, the god of love anon
Beats his fair wings, and farewell! He is gone!

The Franklin's Tale, The Canterbury Tales  Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400) "The Poet of London"

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

Excerpt quoted in the original Middle English by the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dr. Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of London and Dean of Her Majesty's Chapels Royal, in his address to the married couple. Full text of his sermon here.

"Jerusalem" (1804) by William Blake (1757-1857)
Short poem from the Preface to his epic Milton a Poem
Music, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1916)
Arranged by Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
The Third Congregational Hymn of the Ceremony

BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heav'ns joy,
Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Vers,
Wed your divine sounds, and mixt power employ
Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce,
And to our high-rais'd phantasie present, 5
That undisturbèd Song of pure content,
Ay sung before the saphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits theron
With Saintly shout, and solemn Jubily,
Where the bright Seraphim in burning row 10
Their loud up-lifted Angel trumpets blow,
And the Cherubick host in thousand quires
Touch their immortal Harps of golden wires,
With those just Spirits that wear victorious Palms,
Hymns devout and holy Psalms
Singing everlastingly;
That we on Earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against natures chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair musick that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
In perfect Diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
O may we soon again renew that Song,
And keep in tune with Heav'n, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endles morn of light.

"At a solemn Musick", an ode
John Milton (1608-74)
Music, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1887)
During the signing of the Registry, and the Clergy procession to the Great West Door,
one of the choir hymns of the ceremony.


Related Posts:
Political Aspects of the Prince William-Kate Royal Wedding: From the Dress to the Syrian Ambassador
Saudi Royals' Gifts of Jewellery to British Royals

Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

8 comments:

oby said...

I loved every minute of it. Such a bright spot in what seems like a tumultuous world! I didn't sleep at all last night and waited until 4am and relished every minute. I liked her dress much more than Diana's, but I actually liked Diana's tiara more. The two of them have had ten years to work out all the kinks...a lot longer than some marriages last! I hope so much that they have a lifetime of happiness together.

Chiara said...

I have woken at 3am everyday the past week (migraine) so I thought I would be totally ready for a 4am start, but I "slept in" and woke just as Kate was about to enter the Abbey. I enjoyed it all too. It was both formal and natural in that there were genuine emotions and more relaxed moments. I especially liked the address to the couple, and the emphasis on marriage as transformative but failing when there is an attempt to re-form a person.

There are some good fashion pictures of prominent guests on the BBC here. The differences in appearance of the Windsor cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, from the Spencer cousins, Ladies Amelia, Eliza, and Kitty (the daughters of Diana's brother), are remarkable. Zara Phillips looked great. Princess Anne not so much. I liked the Queen's yellow.

As I wrote in the previous post, the marriage of Diana and Charles was a marriage of convenience. It was also doomed by his ongoing relationship with Camilla. He should have had the guts to push to marry a woman of his choice, any non-Catholic would have been legal.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I noticed there were few visible minorities in the crowd. My sister who went to London for the occasion will confirm my observation. I particularly looked for Muslim women in on a range of "modest" dress. Are immigrants not interested in the Royal family.

Chiara said...

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream-from the reporting I saw, different immigrant communities were interested, and there was a Punjabi community which held their own wedding-style celebration for the day.

The owners of the grocery store in Kate's home town of Bucklebury were invited, and planned to attend.

As you say the crowd was very white. Perhaps the high South Asian population of London were not willing to camp out over it, or perhaps those of lower socio-economic status were less happy with Prince Charles and his blocking housing developments.

An interesting point, thanks for raising it.

oby said...

Funny mentioning about the minorities...I too was looking for a hijab or kurta pyjama in the crowd. Of course with a million people it might have gotten overlooked but I tried hard to see even one. I have to admit I felt sad when I saw none as it made me feel that indeed maybe there really is a sectarian divide going on...it was one of those moments that any Brit could be proud of despite religion unless you were staunchly against the royal family.

Wendy said...

I think it would be hard to really scan the crowd with all that was going on and remember that the hijab wearing Muslims might be in the minority. I did see at least one in the cathedral. I did see different colours in the crowd but some who were at the front of the lines had been camping out so would have been off work or whatever and I'm sure many moms with large families and job responsibilities would have been watching on TV anyway.
It was all lovely and the pomp and circumstance certainly takes us away from our troubles for a time. People complain about the cost of the royal family but they certainly bring in tourism dollars for the UK. Canadians complain that they cost us around 40 million a year. Well, for me the cost of a little over a dollar per person is not that heavy for us to bear. I love the monarchy if only for the voyeurism it allows me into another lifestyle!

Abu Abdullah said...

We were stuck to the TV and Youtube simultaeneoulsy and didn't cook the whole day.

The wedding was nice, and as a guy i loved the military parades and the military stuff more, i was more in awe with the military uniforms and the RAF Central Band.

Also i am pretty impressed that Prince William is gonna get back to duty as a Search and Rescue Pilot within a week.

I did see a African Hijabi there, and muslims don't really have a look unless they are wearing hijab or thobes.

I just wish the Duchess of Cambridge the very best, and i am sure she was being groomed for this eventuality for over a decade am sure she would do well.

BTW i am trying to get my hands on some of those commerative coins issued by the Royal Mint, i guess it would be a good investment.

Susanne said...

Nice post! I was curious where they ended up honeymooning. I heard Katic Couric talking about it with some people and Jordan was mentioned as a possibility!

I saw a few people I would have considered Pakistani in the crowd near Buckingham Palace.

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