Royal Oak Lecture -- Westminster Abbey: A Place for Royal Celebration

Monday, May 7, 2012 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
The Union League of Philadelphia 140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

The Very Reverend John R. Hall was appointed Dean of Westminster by The Queen of England in 2006. He is responsible to Her Majesty for the mission and ministry, the maintenance and the daily life of Westminster Abbey. In this Royal Oak Lecture, Dr. Hall will explain how Westminster Abbey has been the setting for every coronation since 1066 and the site of 16 royal weddings.

The Abbey is also the final resting place of 17 monarchs as well as notable statesmen and philanthropists; soldiers and explorers; scientists including Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin; musicians including Handel; actors including Laurence Olivier—and many more. Dr. Hall will offer an insider’s account of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in September 2010, the first visit of any Pope to the Abbey and stories of many special services attended by HM The Queen. He will also give a preview of the celebrations being planned for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, to mark sixty years of Her Majesty’s reign.

Dr. Hall taught at schools in Kenya and in England before being ordained as a priest. For 17 years he served in London parishes before moving to Lancashire to take responsibility for the Church’s educational work in 200 schools and parishes.

In 1998 he was appointed Chief Education Officer to the Church of England, with responsibility for the Church’s strategy and practice in 5,000 Church of England schools and universities. He has written and broadcast widely on education and on the life and work of the Abbey, including his latest book Queen Elizabeth II and Her Church: Royal Service from Westminster Abbey (2012). Recently he oversaw the Abbey’s arrangements and conducted the service for the wedding of HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on April 29, 2011.

Westminster Abbey is an architectural masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to the site in the middle of the 10th century. The present church, begun by King Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the United Kingdom, although the iconic west towers are an 18th-century construct by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor and still remain unfinished today. In addition to its stunning architecture, the Abbey is a treasure house of paintings, stained glass, monuments, textiles and other artifacts. John R. Hall, Dean of Westminster, will explore the Abbey’s fascinating history and design, and also focus on the important Royal events that have taken place there.

Event Type: 
Arts & Culture
Event Type: 
Educational Events
Arts and Culture
International Exchange
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