The Mistresses Visit to the College of Arms
Thursday 6th October 2016
I was a fortunate interloper at this event - a last minute drop out had given up one of the precious 20 places and so I was the only male visitor to attend this long-sold out event. Meeting at 18.15 for an 18.30 start in the Court Room, we enjoyed one of the most interesting evenings I can recall of late. There's just too much to detail here, but we were met and guided by the Windsor Herald, William Hunt who was a mine of data. The whole place is run on properly Feudal lines - it sort of sidesteps all attempts to be captured by the modern world and, as such, amazingly receives no public funds at all - and yet the service it provides and, more to the point, the records it maintains are of staggering consequence to our nation - the only "copies" are on microfiche, nothing is digitized or stored off site as there're no monies to do so, and yet the nations life blood - beautifully illustrated on vellum, parchment or quality paper is all contained here. If this body of 13 officers don't approve your arms, they are not recognised, thus the clap-trap Posh & Becks contrived for their wedding was a nonsense, however, had they been able to find £5,750.00 between them, they could have commissioned a Patent of Arms that would have not only served them, but their kids and descendants out in perpetuity.. they ignored both letters from the College pointing this out, so perhaps they're hard up after all?! Every set of armorials is tailored to the individual and so some frankly eccentric designs were shown to us which was a great joy - the lacey legs of ladies of the night gracing the shield of a lawyer who'd spent a lifetime helping them (legally!) must have been one of the best - as he had no kids, they died with him as a one-off. William also showed us the book from 1663 in which the (uncolored) design for our Livery was located - several present thought we should return to them, but I'll name no names! Perhaps the most ostentatious artifact was a Royal Lineage prepared for George III - a stunning volume dripping with gold leaf and colorful arms taking the Royal Line back to about the year 238 or something, incredible - but never paid for, so it remains with the College. I doubt her Majesty could afford it now anyway.. Having spent an hour or so in the archives, we returned to a chamber to find a very tasty buffet supper and wine had been spread out and set to with gusto, they don't have professional caterers there, so William and the porter do it all - as a consequence, it's amazingly good value - the whole evening, 2 hour tour, supper and wine came in at just £36.00! During supper Camilla thanked William for his superb presentation and presented him with one of our clay pipes and I thanked Camilla for her hard work in putting together a most fine evening - even if I was an honorary 'gal' for the night!