24 OCTOBER 1952, Page 16

Closing the Abbey

Sot,-1 share the surprise of Janus and Mr. John Satterly that it should be necessary to close Westminster Abbey for six months to make it ready for the Coronation; but I hope that Mr. Satterly's Spartan plea that the Queen shall be crowned in-a furtive, hole-and-corner fashion will be rejected with scorn and continuity. There are far too many kill-joys about these days. For the love of Mike, let us_ have a little pageantry to relieve the gloom of what must be the drabbiest age in history. I want flags and banners and drums and trumpets, and plenty of them, and so, d suspect, do the majority of my countrymen; and I refuse to fee) ashamed of the fact that my sovereign has been crowned.

Is not all the sour tosh about the cost of the Coronation the sort of peitilential trash that is spoken by :disgruntled people every time somebody " wastes " money in pleasure ? Since 1800, we have had six Coronations in this country—Edward VIII was not crowned—and it is surely absurd to complain that the English love of pageantry should be indulged once in, roughly, every twenty-five years. No people on this earth have so much sense of stately ceremonial as the English. (I have not a drop of English blood in my veins, so I can say that dispassionately.) I have seen ceremonies in many places, nowhere worse done than in France; and I declare before heaven that I have never seen anywhth-e a richer and nobler and more edifying ceremonial than is commonly seen in this country. Let us not, there- fore, yield to the depressing bleats of those who would have our Queen sneak round to the Abbey when no one is looking to put on her crown in the presence of the most decrepit vergers ! We want to see her anointed and blessed with all the magnificence we can muster. -In saying that, I am not to be thought unwilling that there should be some change in the distribution of seats in the Abbe/ or that the provision of seats should not be made with greater speed. I am merely asserting that our young sovereign should be confirmed in her authority with behisons and banners.—Yours sincerely, - ST. JOHN ERVINE. - Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, W.1. •