Mary I Hans_Eworth_Mary_I_detail2On Sunday 1st October 1553, Mary I was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey by Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester.

At 11am, Mary processed into the Abbey, dressed traditionally, as a male monarch would be, in the usual state robes of crimson velvet. Before her processed the Bishop of Winchester, gentlemen, knights and councillors, the Earl of Arundel carrying the ball and sceptre, the Marquis of Winchester carrying the orb and the Duke of Norfolk carrying the crown. A canopy carried by the barons of the Cinque Ports was carried over the Queen as she processed along a raised walkway to the coronation chair.

Gardiner opened the ceremony with the following address:-

“Sirs, Here present is Mary, rightful and undoubted inheritrix by the Laws of God and man to the Crown and Royal Dignity of this realm of England, France and Ireland, whereupon you shall understand that this day is appointed by all the peers of this land for the consecration, injunction and coronation of the said most excellent Princess Mary; will you serve at the time and give your wills and assent to the same consecration, unction and coronation?”

To which the congregation replied: “Yea, yea, yeah! God save Queen Mary!”

As was usual for the monarch, Mary then prostrated herself before the altar on a velvet cushion while prayers were said over her. Afterwards, the Bishop of Chichester, George Day, preached a sermon on the obedience owed to a monarch, and Mary made her oaths before lying prostrate once again in front of the high altar while the Abbey choir sang Veni Creator Spiritus. Accompanied by her ladies, Mary then went to change in preparation for her anointing. Dressed in a petticoat of purple velvet, she lay in front of the altar and was anointed with holy oil on her shoulders, breast, forehead and temples by Gardiner. Once again dressed in her robes of state, Mary then received the sword, the sceptre and orbs, and was crowned with the crown of Edward the Confessor, the Imperial Crown and then a specially custom-made crown. The ermine-furred crimson mantle was then put about her shoulders, and she sat in the coronation chair as nobles paid homage to their new queen.

Finally at 4pm, Mary walked out of Westminster Abbey, processing to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet, where she was joined by her half-sister, Elizabeth, and her former step-mother, Anne of Cleves. There was much to celebrate. Mary was now the recognised queen of the realm, the first crowned queen regnant of England – Mary, Queen Mary I.

Extract taken from On This Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway.

You may be interested in reading these articles on Mary I:

Notes and Sources

  • Whitelock, Anna (2010) Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, p209-211

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12 thoughts on “1 October 1553 – Coronation of Mary I”
  1. Mary’s coronation is beautifully illustrated in the P of the Coram Rege Rolls for this law term, which is a visual narrative of how the army, led by John Dudley laid down their arms, and so it was by God’s will that Mary came to the throne. Angel’s accompany her with banners that were clearly meant to have some text in them. Mary is seated on the throne under a Cloth of Estate and overhead hovers the Holy spirit in the form of a dove. Originally it would have glittered as it was filled in with burnished silver leaf that has now oxidised and turned black.

    It is such a shame this P is not finished as it is an exquisite example of narrative miniature painting.

    Many thanks, Claire. I hadn’t remembered this anniversary.

  2. Long life and true to the High and Mighty Queen Mary the true Queen of England and France and Ireland and true daughter of His Late Majesty King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon; Rightful Defender of the One True and Holy Catholic Church, which she brought back to England, even if it was for a brief spell of truth and light. Amen.

      1. She was not bloodthirsty and not a whore and how do you know where her soul is? Had a good look at it did you? Try getting an education and not making such hysterical and paranoid uneducated statements that should be banned under the incitement to religious hatred laws.

  3. What a touchy lot you are! Please keep some sense of reality; all this happened over 500 years ago! Also recall those Eternal words: Judge Not Least Yea Yourself Be Judged!

    Again, Hail to Mary, true Queen of England on her Coronation! Peace to any she may have martyred or not and peace to both her and Elizabeth, who share the same space in Westminster and faced the same Eternal Judge long ago. It is not for us to decide their Eternal fate or to comment on; we shall face the same God as they did. I do not believe Mary was bloodthirsty; she did her duty as Queen as she and many other crowned monarchs saw it. She was hardly a whore as she was more moral than many others who also ruled at different times. As to her father: well that is a horse of a different colour and God will need a lot of patience with him, but that is His decision not mine. Elizabeth also has a lot of hoping for redemption to do. You also have to remember how these people saw themselves and how people were seen who defied their power and rule. It was not merely for heresy and treason people could be condemned to death: dozens of crimes we might treat with compassion even carried the death penalty and many laws existed before the Tudors came along and were ratified by council and Parliament. At least none of the Tudors had a councillor literally dragged from the chamber and beheaded on a log there and then outside; and that is not even when Richard was crowned King.

    Seriously though these debates are fun; please, enjoy and express.

    God save Queen Mary and may she rest in peace. Amen.

  4. A women much used and abused by her Father and others on his orders in the main.

    She had become a embittered, sad and lonely aging woman, denied all the ‘normal’ things her life should have given her, by someone who should have loved and protected her…Her mental state must have been a mess, and would have kept many ‘mind doctors’ in work for years today.

    When the chance came for her to try and rectify all the things she had missed out on, it was a disaster, she married an unpopular and unloving husband, could not bear a child, a catholic heir to follow her, and not much cared for by her subjects in the end. All she had left was her religion, it was all she ever had really after she was separated from her mother…all this, I feel and believe pushed her to become an unreasonable religious zealot, and cruel, she made some terrible decisions, and abused her position of power…but in saying that which Monarch through history is not guilty of this at some period/s in their reign? and should she be judged any harsher than her predecessors or successors?… after all if Mary had been a man instead of a woman, a King instead of a Queen, would she have gone down in history as ‘Bloody’…I doubt it.

    Women are meant to nurture not kill, this conception continues today… a woman who murders is largely still looked upon more severely and judged more harshly by the public than a man who commits the same crime.

    But on saying that, which monarch through history has not abused their position during their reign…
    and if Mary had been a man instead of a woman. a King instead of a Queen, would she still have gone down in history as Bloody!!?!! I doubt it very much.

    1. sorry about the repeated paragraph on the bottom, this is what happens when you have had a couple of glasses of wine and you don’t check your alterations hic! 🙂 Silly person me….

  5. if Mary had been followed by a Catholic monarch would she have been remembered favorably as the one who restored the “true faith” to England? And would Elizabeth have been as successful if she hadn’t had Mary to watch and not repeat her mistakes?

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