Friday, July 6, 2012

King's Evil


‘6th July, 1660. His Majesty began first to touch for
THE evil! according to custom, thus: his Majesty sitting
under his state in the banqueting house, the chirurgeons
cause the sick to be brought, or led, up to the throne,
where they kneeling, the King strokes their faces, or
cheeks with both his hands at once, at which instant a
chaplain in his formalities says, * He put his hands upon
them, and he healed them. This is said to every one
in particular. When they have all been touched, they
come up again in the same order, and the other chaplain
kneeling, and having angel gold  strung on white ribbon
on his arm, delivers them one by one to his Majesty,
who puts them about the necks of the touched as they
pass, while the first chaplain repeats, "That is the true
light who came into the world.  Then follows, an Epistle
(as at first a Gospel) with the Liturgy, prayers for the
sick, with some alteration; lastly the blessing; and then
the Lord Chamberlain and the Comptroller of the House-
hold bring a basin, ewer, and towel, for his Majesty to
wash...'

 
John Evelyn (Diary) witnessed a day of healing called the king’s evil on July 6, 1660.  Sir Walter Scott, in his “Tales of a Grandfather”, uses the term for healing attributed to King Robert II - Robert the Wise -  in France, as far back as the 11th century.


‘King Robert's domestic government was of the same judicious and moderate character which distinguished his foreign politics. He used his royal power for the benefit of his subjects, and protected the lower and oppressed part of them, as much as the temper of the times permitted. His private charity was so extensive, that upwards of a thousand poor persons dined at his expense every day, and, in the excess of his humility, were, notwithstanding their disgusting rags and sores, permitted to approach his royal person. It is pretended he used to exercise upon them the supposed gift, claimed afterwards both by the Kings of France and England, of curing the disease called the king's evil, by their touch and their prayers. King Robert I. died, universally regretted, in 1031…’

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