Blog extra: May Monarch 2015

You get an bonus post this week, because I was invited to the May Monarch Festival at Whitelands College last Saturday. I was able to attend the new Monarch investiture and see the procession of former May Queens and Kings (just a handful of  kings as yet). I thought I would share some pictures with you so you can see the day in colour, quite a different perspective from the monochrome pictures of the early days.

The first queen I met was Queen Noreen (1955) seen below with a  later queen, Queen Kate.

DSC_5395Queen Noreen and another queen
The College had helpfully put up plenty of pictures around the corridors of the building where I found a picture of Queen Noreen in 1955 at the Putney home of the College:

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I also encountered the 1950 queen, Queen Sheila.

DSC_5393 Queen Sheila

And some more recent holders of the office, Queen Natalie, in brown and Queen Kate in blue.

DSC_5394 Quenn Natalie and

There were about 30 former Queens, and a couple of former Kings at the ceremony. The picture echoes the many group pictures of former queens I’ve seen in my research.

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In this picture you can see the outgoing queen, Queen Elle sat on the throne while the new Monarch King Qusai (apparently also known by his nickname Q) awaiting his investiture.

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Q is the first Muslim Monarch as far as I know.  The head of the College made a joke referring to the James Bond character Q but I was thinking of the Star Trek character Q, who would have beeen a natural ruler though probably hard to depose. The actual King made a brief but impassioned speech and the charity he will be supporting in his year as King,  Warchild.

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Presentations were made to some of the former queens, and with the new King invested, a group of Morris Dancers led the group out into the spacious grounds at the rear of the college which look out into Richmond Park.

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The dancers are a reminder of the old English and pagan elements to May Day which exist alongside the Anglican ceremony.

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It was a fascinating  morning and a chance to link everything I’ve learned about the May Queen Festival in its Chelsea days with the continuing history of the College and the Festival.

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My thanks to Gilly King, Whitelands College and the University of Roehampton for my invitation.

There will be a more or less normal post at the usual time next week.

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One response to “Blog extra: May Monarch 2015

  • Alison Bowers

    Hello, I am having to downsize my home and so I am looking to sell some of my many books. This led me to look up Whitelands College as I have a book with WHITELANDS COLLEGE PRIZE 1907 on the front of it. I was vey surprised by your blog as the prize book I have was presented to VIOLET WELCH. It was a junior prize for art awarded by the principal according to the label inside.he book is Queen Victoria A Personal sketch by Mrs Oliphant. It is in good condition, with wear to the top and bottom of the spine. The pages are very clean with the exception of the tissue paper on the frontispiece; which is foxed. If you are interested in purchasing this book please contact me. I hope you do not mind me asking but as it was such a coincidence I thought it was appropriate.
    Regards
    Alison Bowers

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