Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nova Scotia Heritage Conference 2010 - June 3 & 4/10

The heritage conference was held in Annapolis Royal this year with major help from the Annapolis County Heritage Advisory Committee's chair Marilyn Wilkins and staff at the county office. Annapolis Heritage Society's Ryan Scranton and Bridgetown's Steve Raftery were also involved. This was a group effort. Team 300 was also involved as was Queen Anne and her retinue.

The Queen, her lady-in-waiting, her herald and her footman were invited to lunch at the Royal Canadian legion's Community Hall on the first day. Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough read parts of letters they had written to each other. Here is that script which was introduced by the Royal Herald, Peter Davies.

In 1673, Princess Anne, the second daughter of James, Duke of York (afterwards James II), and his first wife, Lady Anne Hyde, began a long-lasting deep relationship with Sarah Jennings, the future wife of Lord John Marlborough. Sarah was a most influential advisor to the princes and later when Anne became queen. Sarah Churchill became Anne's Lady of the Bedchamber, and, by Anne's desire to mark their mutual intimacy and affection, all deference due to her rank was abandoned and the two ladies called each other Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman.

We invite you to listen in on some of their correspondence – First, from Sarah who said that the perfect friendship, once made, had to be cemented. Anne, Sarah remembered -

Lady Marlborough:

…grew uneasy to be treated by me with the ceremony due to her rank and with the sound of words that implied superiority. It was this turn of mind which made her one day propose to me that when ever I should happen to be absent from her we might in all our letters write ourselves by feigned names such as would import nothing of distinction by rank between us. Morley and Freeman were the names her fancy hit upon and she left me to choose by which of them I would be called. My frank open temper naturally led me to pitch upon Freeman, and so the Princess took the other; and from this time Mistress Morley and Mistress Freeman began to converse as equals, made so by affection and friendship. Mistress Morley’s discourse had nothing of brightness or wit but rather an insipid heaviness turning chiefly upon fashions and rules of precedence or observations upon the weather.

Queen Anne: I know that I am morose and need to be entertained but… Lady Howard and Mistress Griffith have been with me today. The first goes out of town tomorrow and says she loves the country mightily but yet looks very melancholy when she speaks of it. My other visitor at my request mimicked you and several others. Lady Frescheville she does much the best, but for yourself she does overact you.

Lady Marlborough: I would caution you mightily, Mistress Morley, not to refer to William – the king – in a negative manner. Should our letters fall into the wrong hands there could be much trouble. I beg that you burn my letters to you, dear friend and know that I am scratching out all those expletives in yours. In these times, it is best to be very careful.

Queen Anne: I kissed your dear kind letter over and over and burnt it much against my will.

Lady Marlborough: I remember one day I told the Queen, when she was easy with me, that I thought there was nothing in the world so good for her as well as for England as to desire of her own accord to have the young Prince of Hanover and breed him as her own son, which would in the first place secure her own line against the Roman Catholics and make the young man acquainted with the law and customs of a country that one day (though I hoped it was a long way off) he would govern; to which she answered, not being very well pleased, that she believed nobody of her age and who might have children would do that; which was very vain of thought and I believe proceeded more from her pride or fear of having anybody here to be courted than that she really could expect children, though she was not forty, because she had had before seventeen dead ones.

And here is a photo of our small procession out of the conference.