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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 07/21/15

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

THE QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE, ENGLAND!





The Queen's Birthday - 85 facts you should know about The Queen


The Queen will celebrate her 89th birthday today by attending the traditional Royal Maundy Service at Westminster Abbey. Below of 85 facts you should know about the Queen.  The Sovereign's birthday is officially celebrated by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour on a Saturday in June.


Early years

1. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London.

2. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

3. At the time she stood third in line of succession to the throne after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and her father, The Duke of York. But it was not expected that her father would become King, or that she would become Queen.

4. The Princess was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.










5. The Princess's early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park.

6. When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home

7. Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret, her younger sister.

8. She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

9. Princess Elizabeth also learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses. It is a skill which has stood The Queen in good stead, as she often has cause to use it when speaking to ambassadors and heads of state from French-speaking countries, and when visiting French-speaking areas of Canada.

10. Princess Elizabeth enrolled as a Girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger.











11. In 1940, at the height of the Blitz, the young Princesses were moved for their safety to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the war years.



A Royal Romance


12. The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

13.Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met when they attended the wedding of Prince Philip's cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.

14.The engagement between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN was announced on the 9th July, 1947. Prince Philip was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and after the war, in February 1947, became a naturalised British subject. Prince Philip was required to choose a surname in order to continue his career in the Royal Navy, and adopted Mountbatten, the name of his mother's British relatives. He was created "Duke of Edinburgh" by King George VI on marriage.

15.The platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the jewellers, Philip Antrobus Ltd, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother.











16 .Prince Philip had two stag parties the night before the wedding - the first at the Dorchester to which the press were invited and the second with his closest friends at the Belfry Club.

17.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were married in Westminster Abbey on the 20th November, 1947 at 11.30am with 2000 invited guests.

18..The eight bridesmaids were: HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone, The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon.

19.There were two pages: HRH Prince William of Gloucester (aged 5) and HRH Prince Michael of Kent (aged 5).

20.The Queen's wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell. Norman Hartnell submitted designs for the dress in August 1947.










21.The fabric for the dress was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory, using silk that had come from Chinese silkworms at Lullingstone Castle.

22..The Queen's Bridal Veil was made of tulle and held by a tiara of diamonds. This tiara (which can also be worn as a necklace) was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It is made from re-used diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood and Co and a wedding present for Queen Mary in 1893. In August, 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth from whom it was borrowed by Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947.

23.The grave of the Unknown Warrior was the only stone that was not covered by the special carpet in the Abbey. The day after the wedding, Princess Elizabeth followed a Royal tradition started by her mother, of sending her wedding bouquet back to the Abbey to be laid on this grave.

24.The bride's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau.

25.Around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations were received at Buckingham Palace and the Royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world.










26..As well as jewellery from their close relatives, including the King and Queen, the couple received many useful items for the kitchen and home, including salt cellars from the Queen, a bookcase from Queen Mary, and a picnic case from Princess Margaret.

27.The "wedding breakfast" (lunch) was held after the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth.

28.The couple departed Waterloo station with the Princess's corgi, Susan, for their honeymoon.

29.The newlyweds spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip's uncle Earl Mountbatten. The second part of the honeymoon was spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.

30.Early in 1948 the couple leased their first marital home, Windlesham Moor, in Surrey, near Windsor Castle, where they stayed until they moved to Clarence House on 4th July 1949.











31.After marrying Princess Elizabeth, The Duke of Edinburgh continued his naval career, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in command of the frigate HMS Magpie.

32.Although he was The Queen's husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was not crowned or anointed at the Coronation ceremony in 1953. He was the first subject to pay Homage to Her Majesty, and kiss the newly crowned Queen by stating "I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God."

33.Prince Philip has accompanied The Queen on all her Commonwealth tours and State visits, as well as on public engagements in all parts of the UK. The first of these was the Coronation tour of the Commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, when the couple visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar, travelling a distance of 43,618 miles.

34. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury.

35. The Coronation was followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.









36.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have four children: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b. 1948), Princess Anne, The Princess Royal (b. 1950), Prince Andrew, The Duke of York (b. 1960), and Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex (b. 1964).

37.With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, The Queen became the first reigning Sovereign to give birth to a child since Queen Victoria, whose youngest child, Princess Beatrice, was born in 1857.

38.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have eight grandchildren - Peter Phillips (b. 1977), Zara Phillips (b. 1981) Prince William (b. 1982), Prince Harry (b. 1984), Princess Beatrice (b. 1988), Princess Eugenie (b. 1990), Lady Louise Windsor (b. 2003) and James, Viscount Severns (b. 2007) She has one great-grandchild Savannah (b. 2011)


Queen's Speeches

39. The Queen has delivered a Christmas message every year except in 1969, when she decided the royals had been on TV enough after an unprecedented family documentary. Her greeting took the form of a written address.

40. In her 1991 message, the Queen silenced rumours of abdication as she pledged to continue to serve.









41. The Queen issued a writ against The Sun newspaper after it published the full text of her 1992 broadcast two days before transmission. She later accepted an apology and a £200,000 donation to charity.

42. The Queen's grandfather, King George V, delivered the first royal Christmas broadcast live on the radio from Sandringham in 1932.

43. George V was at first unsure about using the relatively untried medium of the wireless, but eventually agreed.

44. There was no Christmas broadcast in 1936 or 1938, and it was the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 that firmly established the tradition.

45. Last year the Queen delivered her address from Hampton Court Palace - the first time the historic building had been used.










46 The speech is written by the Queen and each has a strong religious framework, reflects current issues and often draws on her own experiences.

Interest and Hobbies

48. An animal lover since childhood, The Queen takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses. As an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, she often visits other race meetings to watch her horses run, and also frequently attends equestrian events.

49. She attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911.

50. The Queen's horses won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions. There was a notable double on 18 June 1954 when Landau won the Rous Memorial Stakes and a stallion called Aureole won the Hardwicke Stakes, and in 1957 The Queen had four winners during Ascot week.











51. Other interests include walking in the countryside and working her Labradors, which were bred at Sandringham.

52. A lesser known interest is Scottish country dancing. Each year during her stay at Balmoral Castle, The Queen gives dances known as Gillies' Balls, for neighbours, estate and Castle staff and members of the local community.

53. The Queen is the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or a registration number on her car. And she doesn't have a passport.

54. The Queen is patron to more than 600 charities

55. To formally greet the Queen men should perform a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'.








Fashion

56. Norman Hartnell, who first worked for the then Princess Elizabeth in the 1940s, produced many of the finest evening dresses in Her Majesty’s wardrobe. His signature style of the 1940s and 1950s was full-skirted dresses in sumptuous silks and duchesse satins

57. Hardy Amies began designing clothes for The Queen in the early 1950s and established his name with the deceptive simplicity of his accomplished tailoring. The portraits by Cecil Beaton released to mark Her Majesty’s birthday in 1969 the are amongst the most memorable designs by Hardy Amies.

58. n the 1970s The Queen awarded her patronage to Ian Thomas, who was an assistant designer to Norman Hartnell before setting up his own salon. Thomas’s flowing chiffon dresses from the 1970s reflect the relaxed style of the decade. Maureen Rose of the same house continued to design for Her Majesty after Ian’s death until the late 80’s.

59. Between 1988 and 1996, Her Majesty’s dresses were designed by John Anderson. His business partner Karl Ludwig Rehse took over the mantle after his death in 1988 and the Queen still wears his designs today.

60. Stewart Parvin, the youngest of Her Majesty’s designers, trained at Edinburgh College of Art. He began to design for The Queen in 2000 and continues to do so.








61. Angela Kelly is Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser to The Queen. Her role includes designing for The Queen, which she has done since 2002. Angela and her team try and use both old and new fabrics when designing. Some of the material they incorporate has been given to Her Majesty many years ago, some dates from when she was Princess Elizabeth.

Birthdays

62. The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June.

63. The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London.

64. In 2006, Her Majesty celebrated her 80th Birthday in 2006 with a walkabout in the streets outside of Windsor Castle to meet well-wishers.

65. On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour parade which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.









And the Rest...

66. Queen Elizabeth II is the fortieth monarch since William the Conqueror

67. She has visited Australia 15 times, Canada 23 times, Jamaica six times and New Zealand ten times

68. She has sent around 100,000 telegrams to centenarians in the UK and the Commonwealth

69. The Queen has launched 23 ships and met five astronauts at Buckingham Palace

70. She first flew in an aeroplane in July 1945










71. She is the only British monarch in history properly trained to change a spark plug

72. On VE Day she and her sister slipped into the crowd to celebrate

73. She collected clothing coupons for her wedding dress

74. The Queen has a bank account at Coutts & Co. There is a Coutts cash-dispensing machine in Buckingham Palace

75. The Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002, including visiting 70 cities and towns around the UK










76. Tony Blair was the first prime minister to be born during her reign, which has already seen nine prime ministers

77. The Queen has sat through 91 state banquets and posed for 139 official portraits

78. Technically The Queen still owns the sturgeons, whales and dolphins in the waters around the UK which are recognised as 'Fishes Royal'. She also owns all wild 'mute' swans living in open water.

79. The Queen introduced a new breed of dog known as the "dorgi", when one of the corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin

80. The Queen is the first British monarch to see three of her children divorce









81. She demoted a footman for feeding her corgis whisky

82. The Queen has nine Royal thrones - One at the House of Lords, two at Westminster Abbey, and six in the throne room at Buckingham Palace.

83. She is a Patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association. One of the Queen's birds is called Sandringham Lightning

84. There have been six Archbishops of Canterbury during the Queen's reign

85. The Queen is 5ft 4 inches or 160cm tall.

OMMEGANG FROM BRUSSELS, BELGIUM!!







Image result for ommegang festival 2015





    On the first Thursday of July and the previous Tuesday every summer, the Ommegang lights up the magnificent of Brussels.

History
    The secular setting stages the glorious and majestic procession in Brussels of Emperor Charles V Guests of honour sit at the delicately worked windows of the Town Hall to watch the reconstitution of this historical meeting from the beautifully decorated balconies. The Prince of Orange, who would become William the Silent, many ladies in waiting, city councillors, the emperor's bulldog and other hounds, his fal conry train with ladies carrying skittish birds perched proudly on their hands--all accompany the Emperor. Accompanied by his son Philip, Crown Prince of Spain and Duke of Brabant, and his sisters Eleanor, Queen of France and Mary of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Regent of the Netherlands. This majestic pageant strides along the proud façades that once housed the guilds and the elegant architecture of the Town Hall, one of the handsomest gothic monuments in Belgium.









    Guests of honour sit at the delicately worked windows of the Town Hall to watch the reconstitution of this historical meeting from the beautifully decorated balconies. The Prince of Orange, who would become William the Silent, many ladies in waiting, city councillors, the emperor's bulldog and other hounds, his fal conry train with ladies carrying skittish birds perched proudly on their hands--all accompany the Emperor. The host is the mayor of city of Brussels. All the town's nobles, rich tradesmen and curious townsfolk were graciously invited to the centuries-old Grand Place.
    The pageant winds its way on foot and on horse, flying banners and pennants, in a colourful but solemn token to the opulence of the Renaissance city on display for all to see.
    This was in 1549. And not hing has changed since then, except that today the Ommegang is a theatrical representation of this historical event.





Charles V




Charles V

    Charles V was the son of Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria (son of Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy) and Joan the Mad (daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile).
    Charles' father died when he was just six, leaving him his Burgundy estate, Flanders, Artois and Franche-Comté. The Flemish then called on his paternal grandfather, Maximilian of Austria as regent. In 1516, when his other grandfather, Ferdinand of Aragon, died he became Charles I of Spain with its enormous empire: Castile, Aragon, Navarre, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples... and the American colonies.






    At the death of Maximilian in 1519, the throne of the Empire fell vacant. Elections were organised, and Charles was elected in preference to Francis I, thanks to the financial assistance of the banker Fugger.

   He had become Charles V...


The start of a difficult reign(1519-1521)

    His first problem was to gain recognition of his authority in Spain.
In Aragon, the people wanted to maintain their special rights in those provinces; the Castilians recognised his mother, Joan the Mad, as their legitimate sovereign, and generally speaking, the Spanish feared that as emperor, Charles would be overly preoccupied with central Europe.
    So when he left to visit Germany in 1520, revolt broke out in Toledo. It was repressed, but Charles' power continued to be challenged until he returned in 1522.









The struggle with France and the sixth Italian war(1521-1526)

    Conflict with France began in 1521. The French invaded Navarre, but were unsuccessful in the Netherlands. As the war dragged on, a congress was held in Calais, an English possession.
    The mediation of King Henry VIII of England was a failure--on the contrary, the English King concluded an alliance with the Emperor--France was attacked from both Picardy and Spain. In the meantime, the war around Milan continued. By means of a pact with Leo X in 1520, the imperial forces recovered Milan (1521). Parma and Piacenza were returned to the Church. The rout of the French continued after they lost the battle of Bicocca and after the Pope died in 1522
    The following year, Charles V decided to invade France. An imperial army commanded by a French traitor, the High Constable Charles de Bourbon, attempted a sally in Provence but it was stopped. In the north, the English were humiliated, in Burgundy the Germans were pushed back and in Guyenne, the Spanish were stopped. Francis I took these victories to heart and marched on Milan. But the campaign was disastrous--it ended in Pavia where the king was captured (1525).
    He was transferred to Spain, where he was humiliated and cruelly treated by Charles V. Francis I threatened to abdicate, which would have foiled Charles' victory. In the end, the French king was forced to sign the Treaty of Madrid in exchange for his freedom (January 1528), but it was never applied.








Charles V's allies change sides--the seventh Italian war(1526-1529)

    The all-powerful Charles V had his allies worried. Henry VIII made overtures to Francis I and Pope Clement VII took the head of a league of Italian states. The league was defeated, and Charles de Bourbon, who had his troops to pay, sacked Rome (1527). The Pope was imprisoned in the name of the emperor, causing indignation in all Europe.
    As the war drew on and on, it became expensive. Francis I and Charles V signed the peace of Cambrai (August 1529) by which the emperor definitively renounced his claim to Burgundy. He visited Italy the following year, re-establishing the Medicis in Florence and was crowned the King of Lombardy and Emperor of the Romans by the Pope.









The crusade against the Turks
    Francis I had signed a Capitulation with the Turks, and Venice preferred to negotiate its own interests peacefully. Charles V was thus on his own in opposing the Ottomans. He had to watch the Hungarian border and the Mediterranean. In the east, the Turks took Belgrade in 1521, followed by Rhodes. They were not stopped until Vienna in 1529.
    The Turks were also making headway in the western Mediterranean with the help of their corsairs (including Barberossa and Dragut). They notably took Tunis in 1534 (recaptured by Doria the following year), Algiers (1541), Tripoli (1551), Penon (1564) and Bougie (1555). Indian gold: In 1503, the Casa de Contratacion centralised the American possessions.










    But their riches did not begin to flow before the discovery of the precious metals in upper Peru in 1545. But as no campaign can triumph without money, Charles V would certainly have been more successful had this discovery been made a few years earlier. By 1545, the Turks had been successful in the Mediterranean and France had not give up an inch of territory.

The end of the reign: the decline of the Hapsburg

    In addition, the money came through Spain, but did not stay there. It created opportunities for other powers, hastening the decline of the Habsburg reign. Charles V had to deal with the Protestants throughout his reign. In 1538, he signed a truce with the Smalkalde league supported by Francis I. In 1547, he overcame the Lutheran princes at the battle of Mühlberg and required their return to the Catholic church in a regulation called the Augsburg Interim.









    But the Protestants claimed allegiance with the new King of France, Henry II. Charles V was nearly taken prisoner at Innsbruck and faced with that show of force, he negotiated the Passau Treaty authorising the exercise of the Protestant religion.
But the trouble continued until the death of the main cause, Maurice Elector of Saxony, and in 1555 the Peace of Augsburg was signed, recognising the Protestant faith throughout the empire according to the principal of "cujus regio, ejus religio". Weakened and disappointed, Charles withdraw to the Netherlands and cut them off from the Empire.





Phillip of Spain



Phillip of Spain

    Son of the Emperor Charles the Fifth and the Empress Isabella of Portugal.
    All these festivals of1549 were organised in his honour.
    They aim to make him recognised by the population of the Netherlands as the successor of Charles the Fifth. The prince is the widow of Marie of Portugal. He will mary later on Mary I of England, Queen regnant of England and Ireland, Elisabeth of Valois, Pincess of France and his niece, Marie-Anne de Habsbourg of Austria.
The disorders of the Netherlandswill show that Philip of Spain had not understood the sensivity of these countries, on the contraryto his father, who was their natural Prince
The methodes employed by the Spanish Crown wil cause the separation of the Seventeen Provinces, with,on one hand, the North,The United Provinces, which will take William de Nassau as their leader, and they will follow protestantism. One the other hand , The South, The Meridional Provinces, which will remain attached to the Habsbourg of Spain and later of Austriauntill the French Revolution.. They will preserve catholicism.





Mary of Austria



Mary of Austria

    Regent of the Netherlands for a period of 25 years.
    The fourth daughter of Philip the Handsome and Joan of Castile, Mary was born in Brussels at the Coudenberg Palace, on September 15, 1505. Despite an unhappy childhood and adolescence, she was famed for her abundant energy, which stood her in good stead when she later became regent of the Netherlands. Losing her father at the age of one, she was taken in by her paternal Aunt Margaret, the Governor of the Netherlands, as her mother, Joan of Castile, had been incarcerated as a result of her insanity.









    At seven years of age she became engaged to the heir to the Kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia. They were wed in 1522. Four years later, the young monarch was killed in a battle against the Turks. The young widow was inconsolable and decided never to marry again, but to remain in Hungary as regent until her brother, Ferdinand, became King of Hungary and Bohemia. He converted the hereditary crowns into hereditary possessions of the house of Habsburg, and so they remained until 1913.
    In 1528, the Queen returned to Mechelen. Two years later, Margaret of Austria suddenly died, thus leaving the post of Governor of the Netherlands vacant. Charles V immediately thought of his sister Mary, who hesitated before accepting the position, for fear of "putting a cord around her neck", at least for a temporary period. The temporary period was to last for 25 years.










    As Duchess of Burgundy, Margaret of Austria enjoyed some degree of independence during time she governed, unlike Mary of Hungary, who turned out to be an obedient regent. She ruled in a zealous and conscientious manner, always ready to agree with her brother. She surprised everyone by displaying sophisticated financial skills and becoming adept at developing military strategies.

The Lady On Sablon's Church
    Erected in 1304 by the crossbow guild in a marshy plain, this chapel was rebuilt at the beginning of the XVth century, as the devotion of Brussel's population for the Virgin's statue kept growing. This statue was brought from Antwerp by Beatrice Soetkens during a night in 1348.










    This tertiary ogival building, that lasted more than one century, had an unusual chancel: without columns and ambulatory. This absence of side parts in front of the eleven lanceolated windows (14 m high) gives it an outstanding slenderness.
The restoration began in 1864 with the chancel, and in 1878 the sides of the nave were cleared from parasitic houses. The restoration was led by the architect Schoy, followed by J. and M. Van Ysendyck. In the right transept, under a superb rose-window, a carving of the XVIIth century represents the boat carrying the miraculous statue.

Ommegang
    The expression "Ommegang" meaning "procession" is derived from the old Flemish words "omme" (around) and "gang" (walk).
    Several Belgian cities had an Ommegang particularly in Flanders. They were always characterised by fervent religious faith, and also included a large, opulent secular participation of the guilds, crafts, and chambers of rhetoric.









    With the name of Beatrice Soetkens and the construction of the church Our Lady of Sablon It all began in 1348, under the reign of Duke John III of Brabant.
    At that time, Brussels was beginning to flourish and was learning how to become a major city. The population of some forty thousand inhabitants was comparable to that of London. The city was surrounded by massive walls four kilometres long, topped with a parapet and boasting fifty towers. Brussels opened seven doors to the world through which goods poured to its markets from the surrounding Brabant countryside and foreign lands. Barges, too, slowly inched their way along the Senne to the heart of the city laden with important loads from other towns.
    The cloth industry had made Brussels rich and tradesmen consorted with the best of society under the supervision of the Amman, an officer of the Duke of Brabant. He owed his authority and competence to the fact that he presided the City Council, saw to the execution of orders and commanded the sergeants at arms.









    But back to our famous Beatrice Soetkens. As tradition would have it, she, the wife of a poor workman in the cloth industry, heard voices one day. She learned that the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, wanted to reward the town of Brussels, and particularly the Crossbow-men's guild for having built a chapel in her honour on the hill at the Sablon. Beatrice was given the mission to go to Antwerp and bring back the miraculous statue of the Virgin venerated there as Our Lady of the Branch (O.L.V. op 't Stokske).
These voices totally upset Beatrice--she could do nothing but obey. She hurriedly rowed to Antwerp with her husband, and ran to the cathedral to get the statue. The Sacristan tried to stop her, but how could he resist divine will?

He was petrified on the spot, voiceless and motionless!

    Beatrice returned to the boat in her haste to get back to Brussels. But her husband quickly tired of rowing against the current and the wind. Fortunately the Lord was watching--the boat floated upstream to Brussels on its own volition and landed on the spot where the crossbow-men of the guild were practising.
    Intrigued by the arrival of this tiny craft glowing with an unearthly light and piping sweet music, they questioned Beatrice who recounted the cause and circumstances of her expedition to Antwerp.
    The event was deemed a miracle. Even the townsfolk of Antwerp who stormed to Brussels, agreed that it was extraordinary. They consented to leave the statue at the Sablon to be venerated there in the chapel. In addition, a solemn promise was made to erect a church worthy of the event and to organise an annual procession to carry the Virgin around the church under the protection of the Great Crossbow-men's guild.







So the Ommegang was born!

      The origin of this famous procession was indeed the expression of religious fervour supported by a military authority. Gradually the Ommegang became a great town event. Civil authorities, the crafts, chambers of rhetoric and the guilds took their place in front of the clergy.


    It became the magnificent pageant celebrated through the centuries to modern times. Like every year, the " Ommegang Oppidi Bruxellensis" Royal Society continues in the tradition of these centuries-old pageants with historical reference, in the incomparable setting of the Grand-Place of Brussels.