Wednesday 9 May 2012

The Abdication

My wife, born two years after me, has lived through two fewer reigns. George V was celebrating his 25th Anniversary the year I was hatched, and before Jane came into the world he had died and his elder son had abdicated.

Tonight there was a progamme about the abdication, and it was good to see that most of it depended on research by the Revd Dr Robert Beaken, who is in a 'C' parish in Chelmsford diocese. His contributions to the programme were scholarly, well substantiated, and balanced. More than could be said for most of the rest of it. There was a 'historian ' called Susan Williams who clearly has a hang-up about the established Church (and probably a good deal else too). The newsreel footage was great; the mock-ups of historical events laughably inept. Lang's aquiline features and elegant posture did not begin to match the portly actor who mimed some of the events. Most of the ecclesiastical mock-ups were filmed in St Bartholomew the Great - its Romansque arches a poor stand-in for the French Gothic of Westminster; and why were courtiers shown taking holy water and crossing themselves, or lined up in front of swinging censers? There was even a monstrance having a host inserted in it ... not at all the thing for the Established C of E in the 1930s. Perhaps they should have asked Fr Robert to oversee the production, and not merely contribute from his Lang research.