The People of the Book: The Sovereign and the Royal Family in the Book of Common Prayer

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

This book examines the place of the Sovereign and the members of the Royal Family of Britain as they are mentioned in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England and those parts of the Anglican Communion that still use that prayer book. These names are mentioned in what is called the State Prayers: that is, prayers for the Sovereign and the Royal Family. It is sometimes assumed that the Book of Common Prayer has remained unchanged since 1662 when the current edition came into use. This is not strictly true since the prayer for the Sovereign has changed in each new reign and many changes have occurred in the prayers for the Royal Family as members have been born, died or changed status. Examined through the lens of the State Prayers the Book of Common Prayer has frequently changed according to the names of the people of the book. Previous editions in 1549, 1552, 1559 and 1604 have also seen changes in the names of the people of the book in the State Prayers. The book begins with an overview of the State Prayers and how they came to pray for the King or Queen and the Royal Family. In subsequent chapters the prayers for the Sovereign and the Royal Family in the prayers of the Book of Common Prayer are examined in each reign and each edition from King Edward VI, when the first Book of Common Prayer was published in 1549, to the present day in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Brief accounts of each person mentioned in the Book of Common Prayer are found for both the Sovereign and each member of the Royal Family named in the prayers. Prayers from Morning and Evening Prayer, the Holy Communion, the Litany and other prayers are examined with the changes in persons noted as a new Sovereign began their reigns and as members of the Royal Family were listed or removed from the Book of Common Prayer. The final chapter examines the place of the State Prayers in modern prayer books, noting that the frequency of prayer for both the Sovereign and the members of the Royal Family has decreased in modern liturgical use. Two appendices conclude the book: one listing the various editions of the Book of Common Prayer according to Sovereign and the members of the Royal Family (at present 52 editions) and a second detailing the copies of the Book of Common Prayer held in the author's collection.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAmazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Number of pages295
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2021

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