1 June 1533 – The Coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn

Posted By 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.

A 19th Century Engraving of Anne Boleyn's Coronation Procession

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!

22 thoughts on “1 June 1533 – The Coronation of Queen Anne Boleyn”

  1. La Belle Creole says:

    “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!”

    I’ve always viewed Anne’s coronation as (yet another) example of Henry’s selfishness and narcisissm. For all his concern and care about Anne’s pregnancy, he still required her to perform her part in this pagaentry.

    By the same token, Anne was willing to risk her health (and possibly her pregnancy) by going through with the coronation. Apparently, being a queen meant more to her than being a mother. I guess she was afraid to delay the ceremony until after Elizabeth’s birth.

    1. Claire says:

      I have to respectfully disagree with you on this. Henry was doing what was right for his crown and his country, he was making sure that Anne was seen as his rightful Queen and therefore the child she was carrying, which he was obviously hoping was a son, was the legitimate heir, the child of his crowned Queen. The coronation was an important and powerful statement and has nothing to do with being selfish or being a narcisist.

      Yes, Anne would have been exhausted but that doesn’t mean that she was putting her baby at risk, The body is amazing and it is the woman who suffers first before the child she is carrying, the baby is like a parasite (and I don’t mean that nastily!) feeding off the mother and taking nutrients and energy off her and that’s why pregnant women often feel so tired and get anaemic. I think many working pregnant women would take offence at you suggesting that a woman who is working full-time at 6 months pregnant is putting her baby at risk. Anne and Henry would not have done anything to put that precious child at risk.

      Sorry to preach but I just don’t agree with you.

      1. La Belle Creole says:

        Apparently Henry couldn’t agree with himself. Less than three years later Anne would be dead and English subjects legally required to forswear her. The coronation could not have been that important.

        1. Claire says:

          That doesn’t make any sense at all! Nobody knew that the events of 1536 would happen on the 1st June 1533!

        2. Dawn says:

          This coronation was very important, as you say, it was to show England and Europe the validity of his marriage to Anne, especially after the long bumpy road it took to get there , therefore it was a natural progression to have her crowned, leaving no doubt that the child she carried, and any future issue, were heirs to the English throne. And no way would either of them would knowingly put at risk the child that they had waited so long for. What a ridiculous idea. After all Annes rise to these dizzy heights were mainly Henrys doing, and I would have thought that it was he that wanted the coronation sooner, rather than later, for if Anne died in childbirth before she had been crowned, and the child was the son he craved, there could have been all sorts of questions raised about the validity of his claim to the throne after Henry’s death, bringing open season for anyone to lay claim if they had the smallest drop of ‘blue blood’ running through their veins, presuming that he had no more sons at a later date. His worst nightmare I would have thought.

        3. La Belle Creole says:

          “That doesn’t make any sense at all! Nobody knew that the events of 1536 would happen on the 1st June 1533!”

          Katherine of Aragon wed Henry VIII, too. Katherine of Aragon enjoyed a lavish coronation, too. Henry repudiated several people and ideas all tremendously important to him at one time (the Holy Catholic Church, his wife of 24 years, his teen daughter, his friendship with Sir Thomas More.)

          I don’t believe Anne Boleyn was shocked by Henry’s brutal rejection of her and her daughter. If she was shocked, she was less intelligent than I thought.

          I don’t believe at all Henry did what was right for his crown and for his country by elevating Anne Boleyn. Henry himself obviously came to believe so and in an incredibly short time.

          I am not trying to be a killjoy, nor is it my wish to destroy the romance and elation many people feel about Anne’s so-called triumph. .

          However, by the time Anne received Henry’s “stamps of approval,” those stamps ceased to contain any real meaning because Henry had already proved time and time again he had no problem rejecting and forsaking those he originally loved.

          Could Anne have forseen exactly the outcome of her marriage? No. But without the birth of a healthy male child, I’m sure Anne knew her position had no more security than her predecessor’s (who at least had powerful family connections and the Church’s backing to sustain them even when Henry did not.)

          ****All Anne had was Henry.**** And Henry already proved himself inconstant.

        4. Claire says:

          Your comments don’t seem to make sense. You seem to think that just because we are interested in Anne Boleyn that we are somehow against Catherine of Aragon. This is not a Team Anne vs Team Catherine thing at all. We all know that Catherine was married to Henry VIII and that she was crowned Queen but we are talking about Anne’s coronation. This occasion definitely was a triumph for Anne and Henry and I can’t see how it can be seen otherwise, they had fought for a long time to be married and for Anne to be Queen. Nobody could know at this point how the story would end. Anne had quite a few years of childbearing ahead of her, they were in love, there was hope for the future, how could either of them know that Anne would be framed and executed 3 years later? You are looking at this event with hindsight and knowledge that these people did not have and that does not make sense.

      2. miladyblue says:

        Hi Claire – maybe the word you were looking for in place of “parasite” was “symbiote”?

        1. Claire says:

          Probably! Thanks x

      3. Charlotte says:

        “Henry was doing what was right for his crown and his country, he was making sure that Anne was seen as his rightful Queen and therefore the child she was carrying, which he was obviously hoping was a son, was the legitimate heir, the child of his crowned Queen” I agree with you Claire!

        Also, I think Anne was doing same thing, trying to do her best for her baby as always by going through with the coronation while it is really so hard thing to do for a pregnant woman.

  2. Esther Sorkin says:

    I find it rather odd that Henry used St. Edward’s crown for Anne, since he thought that women couldn’t rule. Maybe, to impress on the public that she was queen, even without any royal blood? Also, wouldn’t the coronation prove to be important in 1536, since it wouldn’t be affected by the annulment of the marriage?

    1. La Belle Creole says:

      *shrugs* If we follow that logic, then Katherine of Aragon already held the title Queen of England since her coronation preceded Anne’s.

      1. Carolyn says:

        La Belle, may I respectfully suggest that your biases against Anne are overtaking your logic? We get it. You don’t recognize Anne’s marriage or queenship. You tell us this over and over again. But to suggest, with the benefit of knowing what will happen later, that the coronation of Anne couldn’t have been important at the time is really twisting logic into a pretzel, as is suggesting that Henry and Anne were selfishly putting their child’s health at risk with the coronation.

        (posted by Claire on behalf of Carolyn as she was unable to post her comment here).

        1. Courtney says:

          La Belle…now I am all for a nice, healthey debate, but usually when I do not agree w/ someone or something, I stay away…Do you come to theanneboleynfiles just to get your anger out on those that have extreme respect QUEEN Anne(rightfully so) or what?? Just a bit confused? Because as Claire said, you weren’t making any sense….as my children often do not make any sense during one of their many temper tantrums…

      2. Claire says:

        I don’t think anybody is doubting that Catherine of Aragon was Queen of England but their marriage had been annulled.

        1. Esther Sorkin says:

          I’m sorry for not making my point clear. Catherine of Aragon had a coronation, but they did not use St. Edward’s crown (which up until that time was only used for the monarch); Anne got St. Edward’s crown. I was wondering if the crown made a difference. I think it was historian Eric Ives (or it might have been Starkey … or both) who noted that Anne was queen, even though the annulment meant that her marriage to Henry had never been legal.

        2. Claire says:

          You’re right, Esther, I believe that Anne had to hand in her crown and she was stripped of various titles and grants but the title of Queen was not mentioned.

  3. Linda says:

    Claire,

    To me this sumptuous coronation was a way of showing the world that Henry and Anne were the two luckiest, richest and most beloved people in the world. Anne had a (so they hoped) a much longed-for prince in her belly, they were in love and had the world by the tail. Long live the King & Queen!

    For Henry, in my opinion, he had this coronation as an act of love, to have the people see how much he loved Anne in the hopes that they, too, would love and accept her as he did. It was his gift of love to Anne, not a deliberate cruelty to a pregnant woman.

  4. Emma says:

    You also have to remember that in Tudor times they had a very different idea of what was good for a pregnant woman. The custom of ‘withdrawing’ into a dark, hot room for the last couple of months of pregnancy for instance.

  5. AnneBoleynFan says:

    As For the subject of Anne being 6month old pregnant when she was crowned,i don’t see the problem ! My own mother was still working as a waitress until the day she gave birth to me (and I was not premature or anything) and It did not have any effect on my health,her’s or anything ! Claire is totally right 🙂

  6. Anne Barnhill says:

    First, the coronation was hugely important for Anne to wipe out the memory of the former (now officially princess dowager) queen and to assure the people of Anne’s rightful place. St. Edward’s crown was used to emphasize even more that Anne was now the true queen. Henry knew not everyone was on board with his idea and this big show would have helped persuade them. Henry was a wonderful publicist for the crown and he knew how important appearances were–this was his way of declaring his love for Anne, his hope for an heir and his power in England. A woman at 6 months is usually feeling better than at other times in pregnancy. At least, after 3 children, that is my experience. Yes, it was a tiring few days but she did have Friday to rest and she could turn in early. That second trimester is usually quite energizing unless there are problems which there obviously were not here. I think this is Anne and Henry’s high point, the moment they had worked so hard to achieve. What happeded later isn’t really important—no one knows the future and on this day, Anne and Henry must have felt relief and joy and love. I hope that is what they felt.

    1. Claire says:

      That’s true, Anne, I had such bad sickness for the first 4 months and I think I was really “blooming” at the six month mark, bet she had swollen feet that night though!

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