When Roger Scruton was decorated by Victor Orbán at the Hungarian Embassy last December, most of those present knew that this might be the last time we would see him in this world. Scruton himself knew that he was losing his battle with cancer. Yet he was still hopeful that he would enjoy some remission.
He gave a gracious acceptance speech, and afterwards had cheerful words of comfort for the close friends gathered there to honour him. The pictures taken at that last public appearance, however, tell their own story. Roger (pictured above) already has the look of a man who knows he is dying. It isn’t always easy to be philosophical about death, even for a philosopher.
A month later he was dead. His funeral at Malmesbury Abbey was a great gathering of generations of family, friends, disciples and admirers. It was an Anglican service, of course, with all the liturgical splendour of the Book of Common Prayer in an ancient church consecrated soon after Christianity took root in Saxon England. But was Roger himself in any sense a Christian?