Celebrations at the Berlin Court as Reported by Secretary of the English Ambassador Philip Plantamour





Berlin; Prussia; Frederick I; Philip Plantamour; George Stepney; ceremonies; celebrations; royal court


Celebrations were an important element in the functioning of royal and princely courts in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They added splendor to the residences in which they were held and demonstrated the status of rulers: well-directed festivities spoke of their organisers’ political status. Such events not only took place in the closed courtyards of palaces, but also in the open air, which guaranteed a larger audience and made it possible to invite the media. Such events were also observed by foreign diplomats, who described them in their reports. This type of information can be found in the correspondence of Philip Plantamour, secretary of the English Ambassador George Stepney. An analysis of the manuscripts he left reveals an interesting picture of the ceremony as seen through his eyes. These descriptions do not have a specific pattern: he simply described what he saw or had the opportunity to hear. The analysed accounts are an important source for research on the customs, ceremonies, and celebrations at the royal court in Berlin at the turn of the eighteenth century. Philip Plantamour’s exact descriptions show us the glamour, style, and role of these events in the context of propaganda and their political and social dimensions.

Author Biography

Mariusz Savicki

Dr. Hab. (History), Associate Professor, University of Opole.

11a, Plac Mikołaja Kopernika, 45-040, Opole, Poland.

ORCID 0000-0001-5318


BL. Add MS 22193, 28902, 28913, 28914.

Cook, Ch., Stevenson, J. (1988). British Historical Facts 1688–1760. L., Palgrave Macmillan. 264 p.

Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden. Geheimes Kabinett. Loc. 03582/01.

Journal d’Amsterdam, contenant divers mémoires touchant... (1703). Amsterdam, Chez Nicolas Chevalier Marchand Libraire, proche le Vieux Heeren Longement. Vol. 1. 385 p.

Journals of the House of Commons from November 16th 1699 in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of King William the Third to May 25th 1702 in the First Year of the Reign Queen Anne. (1803). Vol. 13. L., Re-printed by Order of House of Commons. 970 p.

Keenan, P. (2013). St Petersburg and the Russian Court. 1703–1761. L., Palgrave Macmillan. 256 p.

Kugeler, H. R. I. (2006). ‘Le Parfait Ambassadeur’. The Theory and Practice of Diplomacy in the Century Following the Peace of Westphalia. Submitted for the degree of D. Phil at the University of Oxford. Oxford, S. n. 328 p.

Mercure historique et politique. (1703). Haga, Chez Henri van Bulderen, Marchand Libraire, dans le Pooten, à l`Enseigne de Mezeray. 658 p.

NA London SP Prussia 90/1 – The National Archives in London (Kew). State Papers Foreign SP Prussia 90/1.

Poten, B. von. (1887). Philipp Wilhelm. In Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie [website]. Bd. 25, S. 761–762. URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd120182815.html (accessed: 07.11.2019).

Sharp, T. (2001). Pleasure and Ambition. The Life, Loves and Wars of Augustus the Strong 1670–1707. L., N. Y., I. B. Tauris. 280 p.

Spens, S. (1997). George Stepney 1663–1707. Diplomat and Poet. Cambridge, James Clarke. 414 p.

Staszewski, J. (1998). August II Mocny. Wrocław, Ossolineum. 311 p.

Tschackert, P. (1895). Ursinus Benjamin. In Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie [website]. Bd. 39, S. 365–366. URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd120374102.html (accessed: 07.11.2019).

Whitworth, Ch. (1758). An Account of Russia as it Was in the Year 1710. Strawberry-Hill, S. n. 161 p.



How to Cite

Savicki, M. (2020). Celebrations at the Berlin Court as Reported by Secretary of the English Ambassador Philip Plantamour. Quaestio Rossica, 8(4), 1217–1229. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2020.4.523



Problema voluminis