September 4th, 2014
Episode 391 of 492 episodes
Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, impatient with courtly ritual, gave Queen Anne grudging praise for her knowledge of protocol: 'She has the greatest memory that ever was, especially for such things as are all forms, & ceremonys, giving people their due Ranks at Processions & their proper Places at Balls, & having the right order at Installments & funerals.'The detailed records of court rituals held by The National Archives - including papers related to Anne's coronation, the state visit she hosted for 'Charles III' of Spain, the funeral of Prince George, and her own funeral - attest to her close attention to courtly propriety. This talk explains that her motives for insisting on proper rituals were not merely personal and nostalgic but shrewdly political and diplomatic.James A Winn is William Fairfield Warren Professor of English at Boston University. His books include Unsuspected Eloquence (1981), a history of the relations between poetry and music; John Dryden and His World (1987), a prize-winning biography; and The Poetry of War (2008).There is a small degree of interference in the audio quality of this live recording.