Sarah Bernhardt. Requiem at Westminster Cathedral April 1923

 

I like this one, it’s got a great, great grandfather , and a first cousin four times removed (by marriage) in it, and an A-list cast of luvvies.

Sarah Bernhardt c.1878

A Requiem Mass for Madame Sarah Bernhardt, the famous French tragedienne, was celebrated on Tuesday, at Westminster Cathedral, in the presence of a congregation that filled the building to the doors. The occasion was organized as a London tribute to the memory of the dead actress, and brought to the Cathedral a very representative gathering. Although the Mass did not begin until half-past eleven, many who wished to be present were in their seats as early as nine o’clock, whilst a large number of those who came later to assist at the ordinary half-past ten Mass remained for the Requiem an hour later. In the absence of the Cardinal Archbishop, who was presiding at the Bishop’s Low Week meeting, the Bishop of Cambysopolis presided. The King was represented by the Hon. Henry Stonor and Queen Alexandra by Major Edward Seymour, whilst Colonel Waterhouse was present as representing the Prime Minister.

Westminster Cathedral

The Royal representatives and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, who attended in state, were received at the entrance to the Cathedral by the Administrator, Mgr. Howlett, and conducted to specially reserved places.. The French Ambassador was not able to attend personally, but was represented by his wife, the Comtesse de St. Aulaire, who was accompanied by a number of members of the staff of the Embassy. The Belgian Ambassador ; the Polish Minister ; the French Military Attaché ; Sir Edward Elgar ; Mr. T. P. O’Connor, M.P.; the Hon. Maurice Baring; Madame Verneuil and Madame Gross (grand-daughter of Sarah Bernhardt) ; Sir Charles Russell ; Col. Sir Roper Parkington, and Sir Aston Webb (representing the Royal Academy) were also present. Sir Gerald Du Maurier and Sir George Arthur officiated as stewards.

Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth by John Singer Sargent -1889

Among the many notable members of the theatrical and musical professions who attended the Requiem were Madame Albani, Lady Tree, Miss Ellen Terry, Mrs. Kendal, Sir Charles and Lady Hawtrey, Miss Viola Tree, Dame Clara Butt, Dame Nellie Melba, Miss Marie Lahr, Sir Charles and Lady Hawtrey, Mr. Allan Aynesworth, and Mr. George Grossmith.

The Mass was sung unaccompanied to a setting by Palestrina, and the ” Dead March “ was played as the congregation left the building.

The above text was found on p.28,14th April 1923 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

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