Thursday 12 September 2013

The Queen Charlotte's Ball - Queen of the Season

The modern Queen Charlotte's Ball (c) OK Magazine
For generations, the British social "Season" has been a source of fascination and bewilderment, both at home and abroad. Our modern-day global obsession with television programmes such as Downton Abbey, suggests that interest in the lifestyles of the traditional upper classes is as popular as ever.

Traditionally, the Season centred upon the Royal Family's residence in London from April to July and from October until Christmas. During those months, the British aristocracy would desert their country piles and flock to London in order to be close to the Royal Court.

Of course, during the centuries in which European sovereigns wielded immense political power, ambitious aristocrats would be expected to attach themselves to their monarch's royal court as it journeyed around their kingdoms, or settled in specific locations such as Versailles. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, the rise of political parties and the principle of responsible government had significantly curtailed royal involvement in political life and the centre of power shifted inexorably from the Royal Court to Parliament.

Political decline made the symbolic and ceremonial roles of the Crown all the more important. The Monarch had to be seen. The Royal Court had lost none of its social cachet -- but its followers were now focussed increasingly less on politics and more on glamour, rank, style and fashion. The social "Season" was born.

For many years The Queen Charlotte's Ball was the Season's highlight. Instituted by King George III in 1780 to mark the custom of returning to the capital at the end of the hunting season, His Late Majesty named the May Ball after his beloved consort, Queen Charlotte. The Ball soon became the essential platform for introduction to Society. Aged 17 - 18, well-bred debutantes were presented to the Sovereign, their "debut" at the Ball triggering months of balls, parties and other exclusive social events, attendance at which was necessary to ensure that one was part of "Society" (and, most importantly, able to be courted by suitors). These events evolved and developed into what we now know as the "Season" and have become an essential part of an English spring and summer.

Today the annual Queen Charlotte's Ball is run by "The London Season". The Ball's purpose has changed to reflect the realities of 21st century life:

"At the beginning of each academic year, parents and potential debutantes are invited to attend interviews at Boodles, St James. Girls are chosen based on their interest in helping with the charity focus for the year and whom the committee feels would benefit from the events of the year. Debutantes embark on a one-year programme of etiquette classes, and charity events crowned by the world famous Queen Charlotte’s Ball in which they appear in white gowns and jewels lent by eminent couturiers and jewellery houses. At one time, this ball introduced the daughters of the British nobility to potential husbands. Today, officially, the focus is not on marriage but on giving ambitious girls the opportunity to further their careers and develop in social confidence."

This year, The Queen Charlotte's Ball will take place on 26 October 2013 in the majestic surroundings of London's Royal Courts of Justice. The venue is spectacular and an opportunity to attend an event there should not be missed. The Queen Charlotte's Ball is one of the most glamorous events on the London social calendar.

This years Queen Charlotte's Ball will be held in the majestic surroundings of
London's Royal Courts of Justice on 26 October 2013

Tickets (individual and per table) are eagerly sought and may be purchased by contacting the organiser:

Mrs. David Hallam-Peel,
24/26 Hans Crescent,
London, Knightsbridge,
Tel: +44 203 006 1660.


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