Celebrations at the Berlin Court as Reported by Secretary of the English Ambassador Philip Plantamour
Keywords: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.
BL. Add MS 22193, 28902, 28913, 28914.
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