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Royal Fanfare

Queen Victoria’s procession on Lord Mayor’s Day, November 9, 1837

Her Majesty, Queen Victoria’s Visit to the City on the 9th of November 1837
Illustrated by G. B. Campion

From: Reports relating to the entertainment of Her Majesty the Queen, in the Guildhall of the City of London, on Lord Mayor’s Day, 1837
Issued by London. Court of Alderman
London, England: Printed by Arthur Taylor, 1838
Identifier: 394.5 L583

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This hand-coloured engraving of Queen Victoria’s procession on Lord Mayor’s Day, November 9, 1837, is from one of a number of court festival books exhibited in the TD Gallery, Toronto Reference Library, from September 22 to December 2, 2012.

Court festival books, printed from the 16th to the end of the 19th century, are rich with engravings that chronicle state occasions: birthdays, weddings, coronations, funerals, and state visits. Central to all celebrations were the huge processions of horse and carriage. These festival books documented public events by recording who attended the festivities, how the monarchs and their guests dressed, and what kinds of entertainments were organized by the host cities. The public spectacle often included fireworks, pageants with magnificent floats, and illuminated town squares.

Court festival books were expensive to produce and had lost their appeal by the start of the twentieth century. It was cheaper to mass produce souvenirs like official programs and other printed ephemera. Royal watchers collected these souvenirs of royal visits, and later photographs, and placed them in scrapbooks and family albums. They also collected advertisements and packaging designed by companies that took advantage of popular royal celebrations to promote their products. Most of this printed material was never intended to survive into the present day but we are fortunate that people have saved menus, tickets, programs, and other commemorative pieces. We have this documentary evidence of the royal celebrations because people were so intent on collecting as a way of telling their family and friends, “I was there to witness the spectacle.”

Itinery of Royal visit

Royal Visit to Canada 1901 by their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. Official Programme
Issued by the City of Toronto
Toronto, Canada, 1901
Identifier: 1901. Royal visit VS

View entire programme (PDF).

Reception Card

Osgoode Hall. Reception of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Law Society of Upper Canada
Toronto, Canada, September 8, 1860
Identifier: 1860. Reception card VS

Dance card issued at a reception held at Osgoode Hall.

View card (PDF).

Garden party invitation

To have the honour of meeting His Highness The Prince of Wales
Issued by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Toronto, Canada, 1919
Identifier: 1919. Garden Party S.B.

Invitation to attend a garden party.

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In this virtual exhibit, slide shows of engravings from the court festival books, photographs, royal souvenirs, and illustrated children’s games are organized under broad themes: Birthdays; Weddings; Accessions, Coronations & Jubilees; Funerals; European Royal Visits; British Royalty Comes to Canada; and Games.

Continue to next section: Birthdays > >