Another large gathering in the King Charles’ Room, many Old Carolians, best bib and tuckered, official ties and badges prominent.
Photography tripods and cameras clicking. Enough shining chains of office to gladden the eyes of Fieldings’ Auctioneers. The room was graced by the attendance of Mary Raynor, Mayor of Kidderminster, lighting up the room in her superb 1920’s outfit, the lovely beaming welcome of Rose Lawley, Team Rector of Kidderminster, Rose Bishop, Chair of Wyre Forest District Council, and Nicky Gale, Deputy Mayor. The dapper and debonair Peter Picken, who knows everyone, talks to everyone, and who contributes so expertly to the organisation of the ceremony. Journalists would be lost without him. Our Mr. Kidderminster, if ever there was one. Under the Monarch’s portrait stood the proud Doulton statue of King Charles 1, donated so generously last year by Professor Jim Robinson. Brian Gittins suggested that the main photograph should be taken on the steps leading to the huge table and chairs and the panelled section of the room. An excellent suggestion from a photographer’s point of view. Brian had attended an Old Carolians’ Presidents’ Dinner held in the King Charles’ Room and I wondered if it might be a good idea in the future. Plenty of comments on the steps to bring huge grins to the assembled ranks and camera flashes which lit up the occasion.
Rose Lawley read the Prayer Book Collect for King Charles 1, a martyr of the Church of England. She spoke of his personal faith and his devotion to the Church. He was opposed by the more extreme Protestants but he imposed his Royal will via his Divine Right, and refused to countenance the peaceful options which might have avoided war. On many statues of the King is the word “Remember.” Old Carolians certainly remember a brave and gallant monarch who lived by an unshakeable religious faith and who left us a legacy of which to be proud.
Ian Sandall, President of the Old Carolians Association, spoke of that legacy, the Town’s Charter and the foundation of the school. Charles exercised an authority which today, perhaps, we see exemplified in the new inauguration of President Donald Trump. Charles did not deserve the regicide which he met with such bravery on the 30th January 1649. The goodbyes to his children on that day, the two shirts worn so that he did not show cowardice, the masses of soldiers hiding the execution, the King’s words expressing regret that he had not saved Strafford, and the famous phrase, “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown.” He now rests in peace in the special Henry 8th vault in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. A special mausoleum was sadly never built.
The day ended with the placing of the wreath under the King’s portrait and more photographs to set the seal on another memorable occasion.
OCA's World Affairs Correspondent : "Captain" Peter Vaughan