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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
While today eyes of the civilized world in general and the English speaking world in particular turn together, blend in unison on one fond family in a foreign capital, comes the news, regular as clockwork: Widener Library has a coronation exhibit.
Rare broadsides and contemporary newspaper accounts of the crowning of English rulers since James 1 in 1603, go on display this afternoon.
Featured are accounts of the investiture of Charles II in 1661, following the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell.
Also shown is an account of the "Inauguration" of Oliver Cromwell as Protector in 1657, in the newspaper "Mercurius Politics."
Momentos of the ascension of James II include elaborate rules for ladies's wear, and descriptions of the fireworks celebrating the occasion. The Duke of Norfolk, in charge of the ceremonies in 1685, ordered the women to wear "petticoats" of "cloath of silver," and to allow their "surcoats to open before, that the petticoats may show." Two weeks before the event he ordered that no person attending the coronation, either as a guest of spectator "do appear in Mourning Habit for that Day."
The coronation of William and Mary in 1689 was reported by a column and a half story in the London Gazette of April 15, the display reveals.
In later days, processions, gowns, and celebrations of "the four Georges," Queen Victoria, and King Edward VII, are illustrated by contemporary drawings and reports. Color pictures of the royal family, insignia, gowns, and coach at the coronation of the late George V, are also shown.
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