This Sunday, a spectacular sight will greet anyone in central London as roughly 500 members of the King’s Army of the English Civil War Society will march along The Mall and muster in Horseguards.

They will be following the footsteps of King Charles I in commemoration of ‘His Majestie’s Horrid Murder’ at the hands of the Parliament in 1649.

English Civil War Society Remember the "murder" of King Charles I

The soldiers of this modern re-creation of a Royalist Army of the Civil Wars are all volunteers and will be clothed and equipped in the same manner as their forebears were 363 years ago.

It is quite an impressive sight – and worth dragging yourself into town for on the morning.

The main muster point is next to St James Palace from about 10am onwards, and at 11:30, they march along The Mall and then form up on Horseguards where a service is held in memory of the beheaded monarch, and various long-service awards handed out to members, to great cries of Huzzuh and the beating of drums.

The service incidentally is lead by Canon Alan Hughes, who is the Vicar of Berwick and he travels down to London especially for the event. It’s appropriate that he leads the service, as Berwick boasts the only Parish Church built under Oliver Cromwell.

Presenting at Horseguards

At noon, a smaller procession breaks off to walk over to Banqueting House and lay a wreath on the site of the execution. The whole lot used to walk through the arch for this, but that was stopped last year – allegedly because it disturbs the road traffic. Humph!

After the ceremonies are all completed — about half an hour later — they march back along The Mall and disband.

English Civil War Society Remember the "murder" of King Charles I

More of my photos from the 2009 march.

If you arrive early though, then there is a smaller ceremony at 10am, where a wreath is lain at the foot of the statue of King Charles I in Trafalgar Square.

Wreath Laying - 4

In addition, The Society of King Charles the Martyr also holds a service in Banqueting House on the anniversary of the Regicide – which this year will be Monday lunchtime.

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7 comments
  1. Paul Garrard says:

    Doesn’t seem like a very good thing to celebrate to me. I’m against all murder/war. But being a republic again would be a bloody good idea. It’s republicanism that needs celebrating I feel.

    • IanVisits says:

      There’s quite a difference between celebrating an event – and commemorating it, which is what this event is all about.

      Anyway, the last time we tried being a Republic, they banned Christmas. We’re not having that!

    • skauthen says:

      I believe there is a Cromwellian society that has a fantastic post-execution after party re-enactment…

  2. Laura says:

    Isnt that going to clash with the Chinese New Year celebrations this Sunday? The CNY parade starts at 10.15am from Trafalgar Square, and returns to Trafalgar Square at noon, then there’s entertainment until 6pm. Looks like bad timing to me…

    • IanVisits says:

      Shouldn’t clash as the wreath laying at the statue is a small affair, and the rest of the event doesn’t go near Trafalgar Sq.

    • Thanks for the interest in our commemoration. We have been presenting this parade for forty years and we,too are against civil war! We believe it is important to remember our nation’s history and this is our way of making sure that this anniversary is brought to public attention.

      If you missed us this year…the date of the 2013 parade is January 27th and if you take a look at the railings outside the Banqueting House you will see that we have done our duty and laid our wreath.

      Our chaplain, Alan Hughes, read the service from an original 1662 prayerbook yesterday.

  3. George Armstrong. says:

    I renember years ago going to a reception held in the Banqueting house. It was a very hot evening. the back windows were open and I remember asking why the the front ones were closed. I was informed they were screwed shut as it was through one of these windows King Charles I went to his death. Interesting.

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