12 April 1533 – Anne Boleyn “went to mass in Royal state”

Posted By on April 12, 2015

Engraving of Anne Boleyn

Engraving of Anne Boleyn

On Saturday 12 April 1533, Easter Eve, Anne Boleyn attended mass 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.” Her husband, Henry VIII, had informed his council the day before that she was to be recognised as his wife and queen, and afforded royal honours.

Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, recorded this event for 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.”

It must have been quite a spectacle and something that caused lots of tongues to wag. Although Henry VIII deemed his first marriage as invalid, it had not yet been annulled and wouldn’t be until 23 May.

On the same day that Anne attended mass as queen, Thomas Cromwell was made Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Notes and Sources

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