Poetry and royal weddings

Posted by Jenny Batt on Friday, April 29, 2011 with No comments
275 years ago this week the nation was gripped by royal wedding fever. On 27 April 1736, Frederick, Prince of Wales, married Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. The Gentleman's Magazine for April 1736 gave a blow-by-blow account of the wedding day:
Her Highness came in his Majesty's Coach from Greenwich to Lambeth, crossed the water at Lambeth, and was brought from Whitehall to St. James's in the Queen's Chair, where was a numerous and splendid Court, beyond Expression. The Prince of Wales receiv'd her at the Garden Door, and upon her sinking on her Knee to kiss his Hand, he affectionately rais'd her up, and twice saluted her. His Royal Highness led her up Stairs to their Majesties Apartments, where presenting her to the King, her Highness fell upon her Knee to kiss his Hand, but was gently taken up and saluted by him. Her Highness was then presented to the Queen in like manner, and afterwards to the Duke and Princesses, who congratulated her Arrival...At Eight the Procession began to the Chapel, and the joining of Hands was proclaim'd to the People by firing of Guns....The Marriage Service was read by the Lord Bishop of London, Dean of the Chapel; and after the same was over, a fine Anthem was perform'd by a great Number of Voices and Instruments. When the Procession return'd, his Royal Highness led his Bride; and coming into the Drawing-Room, their Royal Highnesses kneel'd down, and receiv'd their Majesties Blessing. At half an Hour after Ten, their Majesties sat down to Supper...Their Majesties retiring to the Apartments of the Prince of Wales, the Bride was conducted to her Bed-Chamber, and the Bridegroom to his Dressing-Room, where the Duke undress'd him, and his Majesty did his Royal Highness the Honour to put on his Shirt. The Bride was undress'd by the Princesses; and being in Bed in a rich Undress, his Majesty came into the Room, and the Prince following soon after in a Night-Gown of Silver Stuff, and Cap of the finest Lace, the Quality were admitted to see the Bride and Bridegroom sitting up in the Bed, surrounded by all the Royal Family...
(You can read the full report here and here)
Just as the wedding taking place today has inspired poems and collections of verse, so too did this event. Among the miscellanies we've recently indexed are Gratulatio academiae oxoniensis in nuptias Frederici et Augustae (1736) and Gratulatio academia cantabrigiensis Frederici Walliae principis et Augustae principissae Saxo-Gothae nuptias celebrantis (1736). These two miscellanies, produced in commemoration of the event by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, contained an array of verse in English, but also in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, German, Italian and Welsh.

The Cambridge volume containing verse by Thomas Gray, William Whitehead, Horace Walpole and Edmund Keene is available to view on Google Books.