12 April 1533 – Anne Boleyn Attends Mass as Queen

Posted By on April 12, 2011

The 12th April 1533, Easter Saturday, was an important day for Anne Boleyn and also for Henry VIII, it was the first time that Anne appeared in public as Queen. The Venetian ambassador reported:-

“This morning of Easter Eve, the Marchioness Anne went with the King to high mass, as Queen, and with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded (carga) with the richest jewels; and she dined in public; although they have not yet proclaimed the decision of the Parliament [Convocation].”

Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador, also reported this event to his master, Charles V:-

“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.”

Anne Boleyn was dressed as Queen, she accompanied her husband the King, she had a royal household, her predecessor had been demoted, she was married to the King, she was pregnant, Henry VIII had ordered his council to recognise her as queen, her coronation was being organised and Cranmer was handling Henry and Catherine’s annulment – Anne Boleyn had made it! She’d arrived! The crown was in reach!

Source

  • Calendar of State Papers, Venice iv. 870
  • Letters & Papers vi. 531

15 thoughts on “12 April 1533 – Anne Boleyn Attends Mass as Queen”

  1. Christine says:

    These quotations are fascinating! However, what puzzles me is that they had mass on that Saturday. Nowadays Good Friday and the following Saturday are the only days in the entire year where there is no mass, no eucharist — because Christ is dead. I wouldn’t have believed it was different then, but something must have changed!

    1. Claire says:

      Perhaps it was a service without the Eucharist? Not sure!

      1. Christine says:

        Claire, that’s certainly a solution. I decided to have a look at Wikipedia: Good Friday, which was interesting. It says there: “The Latin Rite ordinarily has no celebration of Mass between the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening and the Easter Vigil unless a special exemption is granted for rare solemn or grave occasions by the Vatican or the local bishop.”
        So perhaps Henry/Cranmer granted themselves a dispensation, which would seem somehow appropriate to celebrate a new queen … although it seems strange that Chapuis would not take the chance to comment on such an “outrage” …

        1. Claire says:

          You would think if the service itself was unusual that both ambassadors would comment on it. I’ve just had a quick look in Alison Sim’s “Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England” and she only mentions the rituals of Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Day, so I’m none the wiser!

  2. Ingrid says:

    Uou! It was an amazing day, that I’ve never heard. I knew that Henry and Anne ‘one day’ resolved that she could ‘act’ as a queen, but I dind’t know THE DAY. And it was an especial day, I think.

    Claire, where did you find this picture? Really beautiful !

    1. Claire says:

      I’ve just changed the picture as I realised that the woman I had zoomed in on was Jane Seymour!! The proper picture (the one I had posted originally) is at the bottom of the page at https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/bios/six-wives/ and it depicts Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Catherine Parr, Princess Elizabeth, Edward VI and Mary I. It is by Albert Kretschmer (1882) and you can buy it at http://www.periodpaper.com/index.php/artist/kretschmer-albert/1882-costume-english-renaissance-dress-court-royalty. I got my digital copy of it a while ago from istockphoto.

      The picture now shown at the top of the post is Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn Deer Shooting by William Frith (1819-1909).

  3. La Belle Creole says:

    Unfortunately for Anne, her queenship was entirely conditional and subject to change without notice.

    I sometimes think Katherine of Aragon really got the better end of the deal. Henry may have pretended she wasn’t his wife, but no one ever doubted she was. More so, Katherine herself never doubted it.

    Anne, on the other hand …. her position and place were all subject to Henry’s goodwill. She had no royal family or alliance to back her claim. Her so-called husband had to found a new church simply to marry them while his previuos marriage remained valid according to Rome and to public opinion.

    In the end, I feel sorriest for Anne. Katherine had personal conviction, public opinion, and the Catholic Church on her side. Anne had no one except Henry.

    1. Neil Kemp says:

      Yes, you are so right. As long as Anne had Henry, nothing or nobody else mattered, but of course when this changed who did she have to turn to? Her allies (or so she thought), like Cromwell, vanished quicker than morning mist in summer. I feel sorry for both Anne and Catherine. Anne lost her life, but Catherine was treated very badly in her demotion from Queen and, although she maintained her dignity, it must have hurt very much.

    2. TudorRose says:

      You are right Anne had nobody except King Henry and her family of course and her faction but apart from that nobody unlike Katherine of Aragon who had masses of people at her feet, family, friends, the catholics and her faction, she was more lucky out of the two, even though her ending was sad she seemed to have had the most fairest deal out of the two.

  4. TudorRose says:

    Even though Henry recognised Anne as Queen on this day in history she was not actually officially crowned till the 1st june 1533, I suppose that things just took this long, just over a month more to place and put together. Henry certainly picked the right time to announce their marriage and her queenship, easter how nice. I think that he picked this time because of this and also it was probably the most safest time too.

  5. Gena says:

    “Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador, also reported this event to his master, Charles V:-

    “On Saturday, Easter Eve, dame Anne went to mass in Royal state, loaded with jewels, clothed in a robe of cloth of gold friese. ”

    Could they have had a midnight mass? although the church (Episcopal) i attend does a evening “mass” on Easter Eve..starts at 8 pm so did they start that tradition then?

  6. Clarebear says:

    Im a practicing catholic and attend a easter candle light vigil on easter saturday at 8pm, perhaps this was the mass they are taking about?

  7. Christine says:

    “This morning of Easter Eve, the Marchioness Anne went with the King to high mass” by the Venetian sounds pretty clear to me. I wouldn’t wonder too much that the ambssdrs. don’t elaborate on this; society was not at all “pietistic” in those years. It would be quite like Henry to be a little provocative, asserting his complete independence at the same time.

  8. Donna Maguire says:

    Hi, I read in David Loades book Henry VIII that she first attended mass on 13th April, which was Easter Sunday in 1533? He mentions this in his chapter on Crisis & Change, 1529-1536 – just wondered where this was sourced from – it is not the first incorrect date I have found in this book.

    1. Claire says:

      Yes, the 13th was Easter Sunday and Anne attended mass as Queen for the first time on the Saturday. Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, in his letter to Charles V, wrote ““On Saturday, Easter Eve, dame Anne went to mass in Royal state, loaded with jewels, clothed in a robe of cloth of gold friese…” and the Venetian ambassador backed this up: “This morning of Easter Eve, the Marchioness Anne went with the King to high mass, as Queen, and with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded (carga) with the richest jewels; and she dined in public; although they have not yet proclaimed the decision of the Parliament [Convocation]. The references are Calendar of State Papers, Venice iv. 870 and Letters & Papers vi. 531
      Hope that helps!

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