12 April 1533 – A spectacle at Greenwich Palace


On this day in history, Saturday 12th April, Easter eve, Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, attended mass in the Queen’s Closet at Greenwich Palace.

This was her first public appearance since her husband had informed his council that Anne was to be accorded royal honours, and Anne went all out to show the court that she was the rightful queen. Anne processed to mass dressed in “a robe of cloth of gold friese” and “loaded with jewels”, accompanied by sixty ladies. What a sight it must have been!

Click here to read more about this and Chapuys’ report of the event.

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One thought on “12 April 1533 – A spectacle at Greenwich Palace”
  1. Yes, what a grand spectacle, but only what was now due Anne as acknowledged Queen. It’s a wonder Henry didn’t insist on public displays before hand as numerous King’s have lavished jewellery on their mistresses and flaunted them in public. I know Henry wanted to do things properly, but he dismissed Katherine in 1531. Who really was going to object to his face if Anne was seen acting as a Queen, which to some degree she was doing. Anne had already paraded herself in royal purple, taken royal precedence over his daughter, his sister and other royal ladies. Now she could wear the newly refashioned jewels of the Queens of England, have the honours and prayers as a Queen and the estate of a Queen. Attended by 60 ladies and no doubt she had done that long processing from her royal suite to the chapel, through all the corridors, lined with people. To top it all Anne would soon be crowned. There was only one problem with this spectacular performance: Anne still hadn’t been declared Henry’s legal wife. At the moment of this public appearance to recognise Anne as Queen, many must have mumbled in private and thought to themselves ‘how can this be? The King is still married to Queen Katherine”. Henry would still be married to Katherine until the Court at Dunstable, at least or if you support Katherine, until she died or Rome made a decision. Even Anne struggled with opposition to her Queenship and didn’t feel secure until Katherine died. Ironically it was at the time of her triumph that Anne suffered her last miscarriage, of the son she desperately needed and was at her most vulnerable. However, that was almost three years away and now was a time to celebrate. Henry was closely watching all present to ensure he was obeyed. Anne was pregnant with a baby all said was a boy, her coronation was weeks away, she was attended by noble ladies, had her husband’s love and attention, was prayed for as Queen and she was grandly attired with fine clothing and jewellery, receiving homage and reverence. What could possibly go wrong?

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