Tuesday, August 31, 2010
August 31 – Master Duncan Davidson
A boy clad in white and red livery approached the throne. He was carrying a cushioned stool.
He made his obeisance to the Queen and climbed up the stairs before her, where he placed the stool at her feet. Then, with practiced precision, he stepped backwards down the stairs and took up another cushion in his arms and stood at royal attention. Master Duncan Davidson had done his part to perfection.
But . . . it wasn’t over.
The Queen handed the two scepters to the lords who had born them in procession, and she removed the glove. Her hands must now be free to hold the hands of others.
Even after ten centuries of repetition, the words of homage did not sound dry and crusty in that setting. Archbishop Fisher came up the stairs and knelt before Elizabeth who had so recently knelt before him, and now he spoke not blessing but devotion:
“I, Geoffrey, Archbishop of Canterbury, will be faithful and true, and faith and truth will bear unto you, Our Sovereign Lady, Queen of this Realm and Defender of the Faith, and unto your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.”
All the bishops, kneeling in their places, repeated the words with him. State bowing before God, and God’s ministers pledging their devotion to the Realm. Not a bad system, when we think about it.