Following on from Henry VIII’s announcement to his council that Anne Boleyn should be recognised as his Queen, Anne attended mass on the 12th April 1533, Easter Saturday, “with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded (carga) with the richest jewels”. It was her first public appearance as Queen and it was time to make a statement that she was Henry VIII’s rightful wife and Queen.
The imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, reported this event to Emperor Charles V, and his description shows how big a statement Anne was making:-
“On Saturday, Easter Eve, dame Anne went to mass in Royal state, loaded with jewels, clothed in a robe of cloth of gold friese. The daughter of the duke of Norfolk, who is affianced to the duke of Richmond, carried her train; and she had in her suite 60 young ladies, and was brought to church, and brought back with the solemnities, or even more, which were used to the Queen. She has changed her name from Marchioness to Queen, and the preachers offered prayers for her by name. All the world is astonished at it for it looks like a dream, and even those who take her part know not whether to laugh or to cry. The King is very watchful of the countenance of the people, and begs the lords to go and visit and make their court to the new Queen, whom he intends to have solemnly crowned after Easter, when he will have feastings and tournaments ; and some think that Clarencieux went four days ago to France to invite gentlemen at arms to the tourney, after the example of Francis, who did so at his nuptials. I know not whether this will be before or after, but the King has secretly appointed with the archbishop of Canterbury that of his office, without any other pressure, he shall cite the King as having two wives; and upon this, without summoning the Queen, he will declare that he was at liberty to marry as he has done without waiting for a dispensation or sentence of any kind.”
Convocation had ruled that the dispensation of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon should never have been issued, Archbishop Cranmer was organising a special hearing of the annulment, Catherine had been demoted to Dowager Princess of Wales, Anne was pregnant, she had a royal household and her coronation was being organised – it was a triumph for the King and Anne and they wanted the world to know it. What a spectacle this procession to mass must have been and you can imagine everyone’s jaws dropping!
Also on this day in history…
- 1533 – Thomas Cromwell appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer
Notes and Sources
- Calendar of State Papers, Venice iv. 870
- Letters & Papers vi. 531