On the 8th of January,at a ceremony marking the 250th anniversary of his state funeral (Old Pretender’s), British Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker laid a wreath at the tomb in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica of James Francis Edward Stuart. On the wreath was written : “In memoriam – James Francis Edward Stuart – ‘The Chevalier’ – 1688-1766”.
“Our simple wreath-laying ceremony was, in a way, one of historical reconciliation,” Ambassador Baker said.
“(James Stuart) was known for his deep faith, but I hope would have been pleased to have seen participants across the ecumenical divide at this occasion.”
James Stuart was the son of King James II of England, and VII of Scotland, and Queen Mary of Modena. He was born at St James’s Palace, London, on 10th June 1688, he was banished in December 1688 following the deposition of James II. He lived in the Palazzo Muti in Rome from 1719 until his death.
He died while on exile in Rome on 1 January 1766 and was given the unparalleled honor of a State funeral by Pope Clement XIII on January 8 in St Peter’s Basilica, where he lies. The Pope recognized him as King, but did not extend that title to his sons.
The memorial consisted of a simple wreath-laying and the appropriate Collect (in English) by Ambassador Baker, reading of the Rite of Commendation which was read by Cardinal Angelo, Cardinal Comastri, Arch priest of St Peter’s Basilica,sang the Antiphon “In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli”.
Present at the memorial was the Ecclesiastical Advisor at the British Embassy to the Holy See, Rt Rev Monsignor Charles Burns, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, attended from the Holy See.Other participants were: Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, the Polish and Irish Ambassadors to the Holy See, the Rectors of English Colleges, and ecumenical representatives.