Prayers for monarchy
in Prayer, providence and empire
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

Imperial occasions of special worship, most notably for royal events, became more frequent in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Various kinds of special worship marked royal occasions in 1872, 1887, 1897, 1901, 1902, 1910 and 1911. Though the task of proclaiming and organising special acts of worship was devolved to colonial authorities, technological developments, namely the telegraph, meant there was some coordination, and colonial and metropolitan observances took place almost simultaneously The jubilees of 1887 and 1897, the coronations of 1902 and 1911, and memorial services for dead monarchs exhibited much of the ceremonial style that became such a feature of royal celebration and commemoration in the United Kingdom (they also had an intimate and personal quality which was lacking in special worship for other causes). These popular and multi-faith events also provided a focus for imperial unity in an age of colonial self-government and church independence. The chapter argues that the movements of governors on royal occasions – that is, where they chose to worship – are an important register of the evolving relationship between the monarchy, and the Crown authorities more generally, and the empire’s varied faith communities. The chapter also suggests that royal occasions had an integrative and popular character because colonial communities – from the most privileged to the marginalised – had various reasons for identifying with the monarchy: the Crown might be viewed as a protector of minority rights, a symbol of Protestant ascendancy and a point of appeal.

Prayer, providence and empire

Special worship in the British world, 1783–1919