I had a fascinating day on Friday May 16th greeting, along with a contingent of 30 or so Germans from Hannover, George I arriving at St James Palace, and then going to Kensington Palace for a glass of bubbly to toast the first Hanoverian King. The ‘King’ then read out a speech in very un-English English, which was very appropriate since George I spoke none initially! After this we all had a picnic in the grounds of Kensington Palace, and later went round the lovely ‘Glorious Georges’ exhibition there, which demonstrates the art and decoration of William Kent (see below). The actor playing the King, who had come all the way from Hannover in a coach and horses of the period (the coach was sent over from the continent in a container!), certainly seemed to enjoy the experience, though he must have been very hot in the wig and all those clothes, including gloves! I am grateful to the British-German Association for inviting me to the festivities, and to the Hannoversch-Britische Gesellschaft for staging the re-enactment.
On Saturday I went to the Handel exhibition at the Foundling Museum – what a delightful place! And then in the afternoon I visited the Victoria & Albert Museum for the William Kent exhibition, showing wonderful pieces of furniture designed by him, as well as his designs of buildings such as Horse Guards, and interiors such as those of Kensington Palace. Other exhibitions celebrating the Hanoverian accession are also to be seen in London this season, the most significant perhaps being the one at the Queen’s Gallery: “Art & Monarchy 1714-1760”, and another at the Handel House Museum.