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Old 02-25-2014, 01:16 PM   #28
Faramir Jones
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White Tree The last monarchs to perform the royal touch

Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Just as a trivial aside, "the hands of a king are the hands of a healer" has a long historical basis in both England and France. Anointed kings and queens would lay their hands on long lines of commoners in a yearly ceremony (usually at Easter). Kings like Louis IX (St. Louis) and Louis XIV, and queens like Elizabeth I and Anne, were notable monarchs who patiently applied their "God-given" gift to up to 1600 peasants and villeins at a sitting. They had an alleged ability to cure scrofula (a form of tuberculosis), a dread disease that became known as "Kings-evil".
The last monarch to do this in the English speaking world was Queen Anne (r. 1702-14), the last time she did so being on 30th March 1712. One of the last people she touched was the writer Samuel Johnson (170984), who remembered something of what took place:

This year, in Lent 12, I was taken to London, to be touched for the evil by Queen Anne. My mother was at Nicholson's, the famous bookseller, in Little Britain. My mother, then with child, concealed her pregnancy, that she might not be hindered from the journey. I always retained some memory of this journey, though I was then but thirty months old. I remembered a little dark room behind the kitchen, where the jack-weight fell through a hole in the floor, into which I once slipped my leg. I seem to remember, that I played with a string and a bell, which my cousin Isaac Johnson gave me; and that there was a cat with a white collar, and a dog, called Chops, that leaped over a stick: but I know not whether I remember the thing, or the talk of it.

I remember a boy crying at the palace when I went to be touched. Being asked "on which side of the shop was the counter?" I answered, "on the left from the entrance," many years after, and spoke, not by guess, but by memory. We went in the stage-coach, and returned in the waggon, as my mother said, because my cough was violent....We were troublesome to the passengers; but to suffer such inconveniences in the stage-coach was common in those days to persons in much higher rank. I was sick; one woman fondled me, the other was disgusted.
(My emphasis)

The last monarch known to have touched his people in this way was King Charles X of France (r. 182430), at his coronation on 29th May 1825, when he touched 121 people.
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