Keepers of the Kingdom: The Ancient Offices of Britain

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9780865652026: Keepers of the Kingdom: The Ancient Offices of Britain

Book by Alastair, Bruce

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Review:

The English are famed for their love of pageantry, theatricality, dressing-up, secrets, rituals, cricket, irony, the past--in fact, anything with which to disguise themselves and baffle onlookers. A foreign journalist said recently that it is the only country in the world where the children behave like adults and the adults like children. There could be no better introduction to this topsy-turvy wonderland than this lavishly illustrated guide to all those weird offices that still exist--offices that in any other country would have been quietly and efficiently abolished ages ago. Here is the Chief Butler and Grand Carver of England (the Earl of Denbigh, by hereditary right), the High Almoner, the Lord Warden of the Stannaries (responsible for "knackt bals"--don't ask!), and the Herb Strewer at the Coronation. It is all undeniably arcane and faintly ridiculous, but the child in us all will find it a hugely entertaining splash of color and eccentricity in an increasingly drab and uniform global culture. These Keepers of the Kingdom are sure to disappear before too much longer. Enjoy them while you can. --Christopher Hart, Amazon.co.uk

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