Abbey bells ring in honor of future monarch’s birth

Ten campanologists pealed for more than three hours at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the birth of the Cambridge baby.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Royal baby … a peal too far?” was written by Haroon Siddique and agency, for guardian.co.uk on Tuesday 23rd July 2013 16.47 UTC

In the kind of heat that makes ringing a doorbell an effort, 10 campanologists pealed for more than three hours at Westminster Abbey to celebrate a birth.

Passersby joined tourists in directing mobile phones, cameras and tablets upwards towards the abbey’s towers.

Among those attempting to record the occasion for posterity was Susan Clark, 65, from Melbourne, Australia. “It’s lovely, I think it’s a very nice tribute,” she said. “It [a royal birth] doesn’t happen very often.”

Clark’s husband, Peter, 67, agreed and said the couple were thrilled that the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge’s baby had arrived during their three-week visit to the UK.

But he expressed concerns – for ringers and listeners alike – at the length of the celebratory performance. As the Clarks headed off for the relative tranquillity of a boat trip on the Thames, he quipped: “For three hours? It’s letting everyone know. I’m not sure what the locals will think of it.” Of the bell-ringers’ feat of endurance, he said: “I hope they’ve been working out.”

For three of the bell-ringers, it was the third time they had helped mark a joyous event in Prince William’s life.

Clarke Waters, Alan Frost and Chris Rogers also pealed on the occasion of his birth and his wedding two years ago. “I do love the connection that three of us rang the peal for William’s birth, the same three were in the wedding peal and the same three are here today,” said Walter, 69. “That’s a nice link back to William.”

He warned in advance that they “might go slightly slower because it’s very hot”, although the tempo seemed pretty quick to the non-expert ear.

The piece chosen for Tuesday’s celebration, which began at 2pm to coincide with a gun salute in Green Park, was Cambridge Surprise Royal, a complex peal made up of 5,000 thousand changes.

The dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall who conducted the Cambridges’ wedding service in April 2011, said: “We assure their royal highnesses of our prayers and very best wishes. The birth of any child brings great joy to families and friends. This birth, of a child destined one day to be monarch, will rightly be celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and realms, the Commonwealth and beyond.”

Historically, the abbey’s 10 bells — the heaviest weighing 1.5 tonnes – are rung for significant royal occasions. For Prince William’s birth in June 1982, a Yorkshire Surprise Royal was chosen.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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