Posted By Claire on June 1, 2011
Historian and Anne Boleyn biographer Eric Ives has written an excellent account of Anne Boleyn’s coronation in his book “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” and you can read my account based on that in my article 1st June 1533 – The Whit Sunday Coronation of Anne Boleyn.
However, you may prefer to go straight to the horse’s mouth and read eye-witness accounts of Anne Boleyn’s triumphant day. Although there are many gaps in the historical sources regarding Anne Boleyn’s life, her coronation on the 1st June 1533 is extremely well documented and you can read them online in Letters and Papers and the online versions of Tudor chronicles:-
- LP vi.583 – Coronation of Anne Boleyn, as reported by Sir John Spillman, one of the King’s Justices who attended. This is followed by a list of materials used for the Queen’s litter, apparel and Goldsmith’s work – very interesting!
- LP vi.584 – Coronation of Anne Boleyn, Narrative of the entry and coronation of Anne Boleyn, queen of England, at London, dated 2nd June 1533
- LP vi.585 – Coronation of Anne Boleyn, From a catalogue of papers at Brussels, now lost. This one needs to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt (perhaps a whole bag?), particularly “Her dress was covered with tongues pierced with nails, to show the treatment which those who spoke against her might expect” and the mention of her wart and goitre! Talk about propaganda! This account is not backed up by any of the other accounts you’ll be pleased to know but it shows what propaganda there was out there.
- Wriothesley’s Chronicle, p19-22 – An account of Anne Boleyn’s Coronation by the chronicler Charles Wriothesley
- Hall’s Chronicle, p802-805 – An account by the chronicler Edward Hall
- Holinshed’s Chronicle, p782-786 – An account by the chronicler Raphael Holinshed
Do take the time to read these, it’s so worth it! They are amazing descriptions and it is easy to build up a vivid image of Anne, the Abbey and the people from the detailed descriptions – a canopy of cloth of gold, Anne’s outfit – purple velvet robes trimmed with ermine, a rich coronet with a caul of pearls and stones, Westminster Hall hung with rich arras and a sumptuous banquet. It really was Anne Boleyn’s moment of triumph and it is wonderful that we have such detail on this day.
As I read through the accounts of what must have been an incredibly long day, I admire Anne’s strength and perseverance because she was around 6 months pregnant at this time. She must have been exhausted as the day didn’t end with the ceremony, there was then a banquet and closing ceremonies!