January 27: Memorial Service for Queen Victoria (1901)

When Queen Victoria died on January 22, 1901, her 63-year reign was the longest in British history. Her empire spanned the globe and her influence was immense. With news of her death, Congress adjourned and White House flags flew at half-staff. On the day of her funeral, the New York Stock Market closed. America’s unofficial memorial was a service at St. John’s, Lafayette Square on January 26. In attendance were the president, the cabinet, congressional leaders and ambassadors. Several clergy participated including Epiphany’s rector, Randolph McKim, who read the Episcopal burial office.


On Sunday, January 27, Epiphany’s morning service was a memorial to Queen Victoria. The following month’s Parish Guide described it like this:


The “Dead March from Saul” was played as a prelude while the choir and the clergy marched silently in. “The Souls of the Righteous,” by Foster, was sung as the offertory anthem, and Beethoven’s beautiful “Funeral March” was played as the postlude instead of the Recessional Hymn. Prayer was offered for King Edward VII in conjunction with that for the President of the United States, and the prayer for those in affliction was read for the members of the bereaved household and realm. An immense congregation crowded the Church, and reverently joined in the solemn and beautiful service.

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