Longer articles on broader topics.


St Margaret's Church, Westminster

[This is the first of three articles originally posted to the discussion group website.]

St Margaret’s Church was one of the ever-present landmarks of Pepys’s life in London, and was where he married Elizabeth in 1655. Other famous peopled married there include John Milton in 1656 and Winston Churchill in 1908. Edward Montagu (later 1st Earl of Sandwich) was also married there in 16421. Ironically, Pepys’s marriage was a civil rather than a religious affair, with religious ceremonies having been declared invalid in 16531 (a policy presumably reversed at the Restoration).

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The Bedchamber

“But I hear that the Queen did prick her out of the list presented her by the King…” (Diary of Samuel Pepys, 26 July 1662)

Sam’s diary entry referenced above refers to a rather sad black mark in Charles’ reign — the infamous “Bedchamber” incident. Charles’ historians and biographers (Clarendon, Bryant, Hutton, Faulkus, Fraser, Coote, Ollard, Wilson, Ponsonby) and Queen Catherine’s biographers (Strickland, Davidson, Mackay, Sousa, Rau, Casimiro, etc.), all differ somewhat in dates, details, descriptions and interpretations of the events, but most agree that the damage done here set a horrible precedent within the Royal marriage, the ministry, the court, the treasury, and even international relations. This entry is only intended as a general summary of some complex and detailed events so please forgive any deletions, inaccuracies, etc. and consider this for the more “generalists” among the background readers, as opposed to those who strive for exactness. Some slight spoilers may be here but I’ve tried best to keep to the “behind the scenes” view that Sam did not see.

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