May 14

The Poetess Laureate is to serve the monarch

Thirty years, almost to the day, after we greeted our first woman Prime Minister, we greet our first woman Poet Laureate, writes Charles Moore in The Spectator (9/5 ). Apparently  Miss Duffy says that in her conversations with ministers and with Buckingham Palace, ‘I was told there was no expectation that I would write royal poetry.’

"Why not? " asks Moore. "The Master of the Horse does not devote his time to promoting careers in horsemanship, but to the royal horses. The Lord Chamberlain does not try to persuade people that walking backwards carrying a wand at state banquets is a ‘lovely, ordinary thing’. He does it because it is his task to serve the monarch."

" So it should be with the laureateship. You hear it said that it is impossible to write poetry to order, and people unkindly exclaim how hard it must be to celebrate events like the marriage of the Earl of Wessex to Sophie Rhys-Jones in verse. This assertion goes against the entire history of art, which has often depended on patronage, and frequently on glorifying royal or aristocratic personages. "


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