Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Keepers Of The Kingdom

Watching Alistair Bruce being interviewed last week on the BBC documentary, Edward VII, Prince Of Pleasure, reminded me of the splendid book I have, entitled Keepers Of The Kingdom.

Alastair Bruce is Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary of the College of Arms. He works as an “Extraordinary” (meaning an “extra” herald who assists the “ordinary”
ones). Keepers Of The Kingdom is a splendidly illustrated book he authored on the ancient titles of the United Kingdom.

As Fitzalan Pursuivant (one who “pursues” knowledge of armory), Alistair focuses on three areas: royal heraldry; provenance and semiotics of state ceremonial; and representing the College of Arms to the media. From an early age he was fascinated by English history, particularly the living past: objects, jobs and people that link to an event in history.

This was the theme of the book he wrote entitled Keepers of the Kingdom and conta
ining splendid photographs (by Julian Calder and Mark Cator) of hereditary officers of state (Lord Great Chamberlain); holders of grand ancient offices both exalted (Lord Archbishops of Canterbury and Armagh) and modest (Lord High Admiral of the Wash); and many more. All the offices were created at a particular time for a particular reason.

In some cases, the need for them continues today; while in others the need has vanished. But, says Mr. Bruce, no one wanted to do away with the titles, which gave the bearers a sense of place and pride. The result is that the United Kingdom has a rich array of jobs with long histories, some still held by the original holder’s descendant.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Here is an interview with him - VC