Of Feasts, Celebrations and Things Pertinent Thereto

Hamlet: More relative than this—the play's the thing — like Clarrisa, the last paragraph explains it all. It is a darling tale. We begin with the set-up.

Fête - le 7 février: Dans la Basilica Saint-Fridien de Lucques (Italie) où se trouve son tombeau, on célèbre la fête du saint roi Richard en raison des nombreux miracles qui y furent accordés par son intercession. Richard, roi des Saxons occidentaux (Wessex), époux d'une parente de saint Boniface, fut dépossédé de ses états, à moins qu’il n’abdiquât volontairement. Toujours est-il que, laissant sa fille, Walburge, en Angleterre, il embarqua, avec ses deux fils, Winebald et Willibald, à Hamble-Haven pour aller en pèlerinage à Rome. In other words, Richard was the father of Saints Willibald, Winnebald, and Walburga. He was on a pilgrimage to Rome from his native Wessex, England, with his two sons when he was stricken and died at Lucca, Italy. Miracles were reported at his tomb and he became greatly venerated by the citizens of Lucca, who embellished accounts of his life by calling him King of the English. His feast day is February 7th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=135

English Saint on a French stamp because it is a British Painter, whose work hangs in the Louvre Richard roi Saxon, abdiqua, après trente-sept ans de règne, en 725 et s'en fut habiter à Rome où il mourut. L'ancienne Angleterre connut des saints rois martyrs : Edwin (Northumbrie -- 632), Sigebert (Est-Anglie -- vers 635), Oswald (Northumbrie -- 643), Oswin (Deira -- 651), Anna (Est-Anglie -- 654), Alfwold (Northumbrie -- 789), Ethelbert (Est-Anglie -- 794), Edmond (Est-Anglie -- vers 870), Edouard le Martyr (978); l'ancienne Angleterre connut aussi des saints rois confesseurs: Ethelbert (Kent -- 614), Sebbe (Essex -- 693), Ethelred (Mercie -- 704), Ceolwulf (Northumbrie -- 737), Edgard (Wessex -- 975) and Edouard le Confesseur (England -- 1066). These are the Saintly Kings from before the Conquest (1066). These were designated well before the formal process that required approval of the Bishop of Rome.

For those of you who have forgotten, King Charles the Martyr was the last to be canonized by the Church of England. Upon the Restoration of Church of England and the Stuart rule on 19th May, 1660, the Convocation of Canterbury and York, now being free to assemble and act, canonised King Charles and added his name to the Kalendar of Saints at the next revision of The Prayer Book (date: January 30th -- On this day, white roses are laid at the foot of the king's statue in London). Winston Churchill in his histories of England, has written of him an epitaph: He cannot be claimed as the defender of English liberties, nor wholly of the English Church, but none the less he died for them, and by his death preserved them not only to his son and heir, but to our own day. .../http://blog.ragan.com/archives/speechblog/2006/01/charles_i_saint.html - see also http://www.coins-of-the-uk.co.uk/pics/c1/

Charles I was born in Fife on November 19, 1600, the second son of James VI of Scotland (from 1603 also James I of England) and Anne of Denmark. He became heir to the throne on the death of his brother, Prince Henry, in 1612. He became the second Stuart King of England (1625 - Roi d’Angleterre, d’Écosse et d’Irlande (1625-1649)). Disputes and controversy followed Charles throughout his reign, leading to his martyrdom, an English Civil War and an unhappy restoration of the Monarchy. This was in effect the concluding Act of the Reformation of the Church in England, and a time of such discord and insecurity, that many people in England would seek the wilds of America for Peace and Prosperity in their time.

Coronation Medal

Let no man impugn meFebruary 5, 1649: The rightful claimant of the throne of England and Scotland, King Charles II, was declared King of Scotland, by its Parliament. This move was not followed by the Parliament of England or the Parliament of Ireland. Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on January 30, 1649 -- the climax of the English Civil War. The English Parliament did not proclaim Charles II as its sovereign. Instead, it passed a statute that made any such proclamation unlawful. England entered the period known to history as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth and the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. The Parliament of Scotland, however, proclaimed Charles II its King on the 5th of February 1649 in Edinburgh. He was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on the first day of January in 1651. Following his defeat by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester on September 3, 1651, Charles fled to mainland Europe and spent the next nine years in exile in France, the United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands. Charles later became the English King and sovereign of Ireland after Cromwell's revolution had ended.

Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters in 1672 (Royal Declaration of Indulgence), but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it. In 1679, Titus Oates' revelations of a supposed Popish Plot sparked the Exclusion Crisis. Charles' brother and heir (James, Duke of York) remained a Roman Catholic. This crisis saw the birth of the pro-exclusion Whig and anti-exclusion Tory parties. Charles sided with the Tories. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681, and ruled by royal decree until his death on February 6, 1685. Following the discovery of the "Rye House Plot" to murder Charles II and James (1683), he executed several Whig leaders or forced them into exile. As his last act, he converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_II_of_England

James II, who was the second surviving son of Charles I, succeeded his brother. He had been created Duke of York, and was in Oxford during the Civil War. After the defeat of the Royalists, he escaped with his mother and brother to The Hague and then to a period of exile in France. James served in the French army and later in the Spanish Army. After the death of Cromwell, and the restoration of the monarchy, he returned to England where his brother had been crowned Charles II. In the year 1660 he married Anne Hyde a commoner and daughter of Charles’ chief minister Edward Hyde. Although the couple had seven children, only two survived infancy - Mary (later Queen Mary II) and Anne (later Queen Anne). His daughters were raised as Protestants, but influenced by his time in France and Spain, James converted to Catholicism in 1670. Following Anne Hyde’s death in 1671, he wed Mary of Modena, a 15 year old Catholic Italian princess. James’ enemies described her as an agent of the Pope.

A majority of Parliament, alarmed at the prospect of returning to Catholic succession passed the Test Act (1673) that excluded Catholics from political office. Some half-dozen years later (1679), Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, attempted to introduce the Exclusion Bill that would prevent James from the succession, but this was opposed by Charles II, who then dissolved Parliament. Interestingly, about 60 years later, The 4th Earl of Shaftesbury, notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Dorset and Councillor for the Colony of Georgia.

James became King James II on the death of his brother in 1685. He soon faced two rebellions intent on removing him; in Scotland by the Duke of Argyll, and from an army raised by the Duke of Monmouth that John Churchill (6th great-grandfather of Winston Churchill) defeated in July 1685 at the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset. The Monmouth rebels were punished brutally. James, believing in his Divine Right as King, issued the Declaration of Indulgence to suspend the Test Act and promote his Catholic supporters in Parliament. He arrested the Archbishop of Canterbury and seven other bishops, trying them for sedition. Amid the now widespread alarm, the birth in 1688 of his Catholic heir, James Edward Stuart, prompted a group of nobles to invite Prince William of Orange (who had married James II's daughter Mary) from the Netherlands to England in order to restore Protestantism and democracy.

William of Orange landed at Torbay on the 5th of November 1688, in an armada unopposed by the Royal Navy, and with an army of 14,000 troops. Gathering local support, the ranks grew to over 20,000 men. as the force advanced on London in what became known as "The Glorious Revolution." Many from James’s army including Churchill and James’s daughter Anne defected to support William. James lost his nerve and fled to France throwing the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames (his alleged act of abdication). As the curtain draws to a close in this final scene, daughter Mary was declared Queen, but she is said to have insisted on joint rule with her husband. Thus, Parliament crowned King William III and Queen Mary II the new sovereigns. James and his wife and son began exile in France as guests of Louis XIV. James landed in Ireland in 1689 with French troops in an attempt to regain the throne and advanced on Londonderry, but was defeated by William at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. He lived the rest of his life in exile.

After the play ends, Mary dies, then William, and finally Anne who has become Queen passes on without a direct heir. Also, German speaking Prince Georg (Born: May 28, 1660 at Osnabruck, Royaume Hanover) arrives (1714) a somewhat distant cousin and is declared George I.

James II's son James Edward Stuart (called The Old Pretender) and grandson Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie) attempted to restore the Jacobite throne. Jacobite rebellions in Scotland in 1715 led by Lord Mar, as well as in 1719 supported by Spanish troops, intending to place James Edward Stuart on throne, found little support and were quickly defeated. And, again in 1745 (during reign of George II), but to no avail. For the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland and marched with a Highland (pronounced "hee-lun" army into England. Georgian troops defeated him at Culloden. George’s second son, Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, brutally suppressed Scotland in retribution. Please also see (from which much was drawn) http://www.britroyals.com/kings.asp?id=james2 Much more detail can be found at: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=moa;cc=moa;view=toc;idno=AAZ9879.0006.001

So on February 6th we remember and England celebrates the Coronation of Elisabeth, a 6th great grand-daughter of George I, in 1953. We promote the birthday of a President who was the 33rd Governor of California as well as a radio, film and television star who drove a 20 mule team wagon hauling Borax out of the Californian desert.

Proponents of a certain voting theory have claimed that every U.S. president since George Washington can trace a bloodline back to various European royals, with at least thirty-four presidents having been descended from Alfred the Great and Charlemagne. Critics of the theory claim that the odds of any given person being distantly related to royalty are remarkably high, with one estimate suggesting that more than 150 million Americans have royal descent. Through Brian Boru, an Irish King of Munster (d. 1014), Ronald Reagan and the English Queen are cousins, along with our current president. And as far as I can tell none of these, my three distant cousins, were / are Saints: "Contrary to the popular perception of Brian as the liberator of Ireland from foreign dominance, he purposely used outsiders to expand his authority. Brian Boru combined Irish tradition with innovation to become the most successful Irish king of his time." May I wonder if Charles or William will be the name of the next sovereign of the British peoples? And so it goes .... http://houseofbrianboru.blogspot.com/p/brian-boru.html

February 6, 2014 at 11:45am