touching for the king's evil

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Samuel Johnson (1709—1784) author and lexicographer


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Was an instant medieval royal tradition. On learning that their rivals the Capetian kings of France claimed divine healing powers, the kings of England, from Henry I onwards, followed suit. Curiously it was only scrofula that could be cured. The ceremony developed into a very formal one. The Hanoverians gave it up, though in France Charles X was still stroking when removed by revolution in 1830.

Subjects: British History.

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