On the last Sunday in January the “King’s Army” converged on the centre of London. There was none of the usual parry and thrust of pike and sword, of field manoeuvres and gun smoke as is the custom when these battle re-enactors get together. This was because they were here in the capital to commemorate rather than to play out the drama of past skirmishes, sieges and engagements. The colourful spectacle was nonetheless just as theatrical.
Some five hundred members of the English Civil War Society, all dressed up in bonnets and breastplates, mustered on the Mall to mark the anniversary of the execution in Whitehall, of King Charles I on January 30th January 1649. In military order, with horses to the fore, they marched flags flying and drums beating to Horse Guards where a short service of remembrance was conducted by Canon Alan Hughes, from Berwick, who read from a 350 year old prayer book. The rank and file looked on from the edge of the parade ground, in the shadow of the historic buildings behind them. The whole scene had a sombre authenticity about it; a mournful acknowledgement to the killing of a sovereign. Nonetheless, as the various regiments dispersed and the pageant drew to a close I couldn’t help but think that these people take great pride and immensely enjoy what they do.