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Decently habited, special edition

April 30, 2011

The Dean and Chapter of Westminster, greeting Princes William and Harry before the service.

The Bishop of London, with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

The choirs of Westminster Abbey and HM Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, look on as the Dean escorts the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, and Duchess of Cornwall to their seats.

The Archbishop teaches the vows.

The Dean and the Archbishop pray over the Royal couple.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. WearyPilgrim permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:39

    Question from a non-Anglican: What is the significance of what appear to be large patens on the altar? Why were they there?

    • May 3, 2011 15:53

      A little research has yielded the following answer:

      “It is very worthy of note that we thus find a display of Church Plate at the Altar to be a custom of very high antiquity, still in use in a part of Catholic Christendom removed far from us and yet lingering amongst us in a display of plate on the Altar at the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper in many cathedrals and churches. Neither is such a custom as the instances quoted show, one of Post-Reformation or Restoration introduction, as seems to have been the idea of some, but is indeed the correct following of the old tradition of our National Church.

      “It would seem also that it is a right and good thing for our larger churches and such as possess great treasure to afford to our poorer brethren some pleasure in the sight and use of those rich articles, whose use in their minds seems perhaps only to be chiefly connected with the richer members of society. The richly embroidered and jewelled Vestments; the Chalice bright with enamel and sparkling gems; and the costly plate of Cathedral and Church Treasuries are no mere personal possession of the Chapter and the Clergy, but the enjoyment of them belongs to all the children of the Church alike. It is but fitting, therefore, that as great Feast follows great Feast, the Treasure of the Church should be brought forth in the service of God and placed, on the Altar, or on a ‘halpace’ or ‘deske,’ or on one side of the High Altar on ‘a small aulter,’ and displayed, so that hearts may delight and be lifted up to the Creator of all beautiful things and so perhaps will a great joy and light and gladness fall upon the lives of many whose lot in the world outside the Church is one so often and so continuously of grinding poverty, misery and darkness.”

      ~Reginald Eager, “Notes on Customs in Spanish Churches, illustrative of old English Ceremonial, ” Transactions of the St. Paul’s Ecclesiological Society 4 (1900): 125. [link]

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