Horace Walpole on the Coronation


To George Montague, Esq.

Arlington Street, Sept. 24, 1761.

... Bless all your stars that your King is not to be married or crowned. All the vines of Bourdeaux, and all the fumes of Irish brains cannot make a town so drunk as a regal wedding and coronation. ... The multitudes, balconies, guards, and processions, made Palace-yard the liveliest spectacle in the world: the hall was the most glorious. The blaze of lights, the richness and variety of habits, the ceremonial, the benches of peers and peeresses, frequent and full, was as awful as a pageant can be: and yet for the King's sake and my own, I never wish to see another; nor am impatient to have my Lord Effingham's promise fulfilled. The King complained that so few precedents were kept for their proceedings. Lord Effingham owned, the earl marshall's office had been strangely neglected; but he had taken such care for the future, that the next coronation would be regulated in the most exact manner imaginable. ...


To the Hon. H. S. Conway

Arlington Street, Sept. 25, 1761.

The coronation is over: 'tis even a more gorgeous sight than I imagined. I saw the procession and the hall; but the return was in the dark. In the morning they had forgot the sword of state, the chairs for King and Queen, and their canopies. They used the Lord Mayor's for the first, and made the last in the hall: so they did not set forth till noon; and then, by a childish compliment to the King, reserved the illumination of the hall till his entry; by which means they arrived like a funeral, nothing being discernible but the plumes of the knights of the Bath, which seemed the hearse. ... Of all the incidents of the day, the most diverting was what happened to the Queen. She had a retiring-chamber, with all conveniences, prepared behind the altar. She went thither--in the most convenient what found she but--the Duke of Newcastle! ...

... The Queen has been at the Opera, and says she will go once a week. ... The crowds at the Opera and play when the King and Queen go, are a little greater than what I remember. The late royalties went to the Haymarket, when it was the fashion to frequent the other opera in Lincoln's-inn-fields. ...


Excerpts from The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford. London, 1840. v. 4, p. 171-179.


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