Engraving of Anne Boleyn
Engraving of Anne Boleyn

Following Henry VIII’s orders to his council the previous day to accord Anne Boleyn royal honours, and Catherine of Aragon’s demotion to Dowager Princess of Wales, the pregnant Anne attended mass on Holy Saturday in the Queen’s Closet of Greenwich Palace “with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded (carga) with the richest jewels.”1 It was a dramatic public statement of her new status.

Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador, recorded the event:

“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.”2

Anne Boleyn was crowned queen on 1st June 1533 at Westminster Abbey.

Notes and Sources

  1. Calendar of State Papers, Venice, iv. 870
  2. LP vi. 351

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5 thoughts on “12 April 1533 – Anne Boleyn Attends Easter Eve Mass as Queen”
  1. “Very watchful of the countenance of the people” sounds more than a little sinister considering the context. Get with the program or else!

    Cloth of “gold friese” which is “loaded with jewels” sounds very, very heavy and probably very tiring for someone who was already well into pregnancy. Let’s hope it was a cool day :).

  2. Easter Eve, or Easter Vigil is not Easter Saturday. Easter Saturday is actually the first Saturday after Easter. Just saying.

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