1 June 1533 – Day 4 of Queen Anne Boleyn’s Coronation Celebrations – Anne Boleyn is crowned

Jun1,2024

On 1st June 1533, Henry VIII’s second wife was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey in London in a ceremony presided over by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.

Anne and the king had waited over six years for this day, and it was a moment of victory for them both…

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 1st June 1533, Whitsunday, Henry VIII’s second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn, was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony performed by her good friend, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Henry and Anne had waited six years for this day and it must have been such a moment of triumph, but it must have been an exhausting day for the pregnant queen, with the long ceremony and then coronation banquet with around 80 dishes – rather her than me!

Let me tell you a bit more about that day in 1533…

At 7 o’clock that morning, the Mayor of London, aldermen, sheriffs and Council of the City of London took a barge to Westminster and waited there for the queen. Anne arrived somewhere between 8 and 9am, and stood under the cloth of state while the royal court and peers gathered. Once everybody was ready, the officers of arms organised everyone into a procession to make their way on a railed blue “ray cloth” which had been laid from the high dais of the King’s bench in the hall, all the way to the high altar of the abbey – a 700 yard route.

The procession was a long one. Chronicler Edward Hall lists it in order: Gentlemen, Squires, Knights, Aldermen of the City, Judges, Knights of the Bath, Barons and viscounts, Earls, marquesses and dukes, the Lord Chancellor, Staff of the Chapel Royal and monks, Abbots and bishops, Sergeants and officers of arms, the Mayor of London; the Marquess of Dorset, bearing the sceptre of gold; the Earl of Arundel, bearing the rod of ivory topped with a dove; the Earl of Oxford, High Chamberlain of England, carrying the crown of St Edward; Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and High Steward of England for the day; William Howard, carrying the rod of the Marshal of England, the Garter Knights, and then finally the queen.

The queen wore ermine-trimmed purple velvet coronation robes, and on her head was a coif and gold coronet, the same coronet she’d worn for the procession the previous day. Anne walked barefoot to the abbey under a canopy of cloth of gold carried once again by the barons of the Sink Ports. The Dowager Duchess of Norfolk bore her train.

Anne was followed in the procession by the bishops of London and Winchester, and ladies and gentlewomen all dressed in scarlet. The king watched the procession enter the abbey from behind a lattice screen in a special stand.

Anne made her way to the gold-draped chair of St Edward, where she was able to sit and rest for a few moments before making her way to the high altar. There, she prostrated herself, which must have been rather uncomfortable in her condition, so that Archbishop Cranmer could pray over her. Anne then got up and Cranmer anointed her.

It was then time for some orations, so Anne was able to rest again in St Edward’s chair, before Cranmer crowned her with the crown of St Edward, which was usually reserved for crowning the reigning monarch. He then placed the sceptre in her right hand and the rod in her left hand. The Te Deum was sung and Cranmer helped Anne exchange the heavy crown for a custom-made lighter version.

It was then time for the mass. Anne took the Sacrament and then gave the traditional offering in St Edward’s Shrine.

Then it was time for everyone to get back in line to process back to Westminster Hall, via New Palace Yard with its cisterns running with wine. It was time for the traditional coronation banquet. Anne processed to the sound of trumpets with her father, Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, on her right, and Lord Talbot, acting on behalf of his father, the Earl of Shrewsbury, on her left.

At the celebratory coronation banquet, Anne sat on the King’s marble chair set under a cloth of state next to Archbishop Cranmer. Her husband, the king, did not join her, but instead watched the banquet from a special little closet with the ambassadors of France and Venice to keep him company. Anne was attended at the banquet by the Dowager Countess of Oxford and the Countess of Worcester, who stood beside her, and by two gentlewomen at her feet

For the proceedings, the Earl of Oxford acted as High Chamberlain, holding his white staff of office as he stood between the queen and the archbishop of Canterbury. The Earl of Essex acted as Carver, the Earl of Sussex as Sewer, the Earl of Derby as Cupbearer, the Earl of Arundel as Chief Butler and Thomas Wyatt as chief Ewer, on behalf of his father.

After everyone had taken their seats, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and William Howard entered the hall on horseback to announce the first course. This was brought into the hall by the Knights of the Bath. Chronicler Edward Hall described how the Duke of Suffolk wore a jacket and doublet “set with orient perle” and a gown of embroidered crimson velvet. His horse was draped with crimson velvet, embroidered with real gold letters, which reached the ground. Each course was announced with trumpets and heralds cried “largesse.”

The banquet must also have gone on for hours, and it ended with wafers and hippocras. The queen then washed and enjoyed a void of spice and comfits.

The mayor of London then offered Anne a gold cup to drink from, which she did and then gave back to him.

An exhausted Anne was then able to retire to her chambers, but she had to receive and thank everyone there before she could go to bed. I can’t quite imagine how tired she must have been when she was finally able to get into bed.

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