Thomas More coronation odeOn 24th June 1509, Midsummer’s Day and the Feast of St John the Baptist, King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, were crowned king and queen by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, in a joint ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London.

An overjoyed Thomas More wrote in his “Coronation Ode of King Henry VIII”: “This day is the end of our slavery, the fount of our liberty; the end of sadness, the beginning of joy… Such a King will wipe the tears from every eye and put joy in the place of our long distress”. Henry VIII’s accession brought new hope and joy to the people of England and the coronation of this good-looking and virtuous young couple was an event to celebrate.

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4 thoughts on “24 June 1509 – A Midsummer’s Day coronation”
  1. Long live King Henry, Long live Queen Katherine. Joint coronations were rare as most Kings married afterwards. Henry was 17 so by marrying early it showed that he was a man, mature enough to take charge. His council legally could rule on his behalf until he was 21. Henry was not bothered at this stage about ruling his council, but he was bothered about being seen as in charge, as a ruler and Katherine was his choice of wife. Much was placed on the young man, this six foot two handsome giant who for the first time in almost 100 years had successfully succeeded to the crown of his father, without much bother. Today, when we awake to a new future for England and Great Britain,,let us not underestimate just what that meant to the England of 1509. It meant that peace and security and stability had been reestablished. France, Spain and the Netherlands had learned to respect the new Tudor Dynasty, to court England as an ally, who could be independent, but would also affect the balance of power in Europe, it meant that the threat of minor and major rival houses for the throne was neutralized, the Wars of the Roses a memory, that England had two powerful allies ( even though Henry Viii would soon upset one of them) in Scotland and Spain, and that people hoped for a bright and safer future. The previous five Kings before Henry Tudor, his father had been usurped and killed, although the young Edward V had vanished, assumed dead, Henry’s own father a usurper by right of battle. Before Henry vi, who was defeated and murdered by Edward IV, only one of the previous three Kings had passed the throne to his son. Out of the four Kings, including Henry Vi, two were murdered, two replaced by usurpers, and three usurped or almost killed and usurped. Edward iv was both a usurper and usurped, although he was the only one to regain his crown, both his sons were set aside, and Richard lll was killed in battle by Henry’s father. Henry Tudor was threatened several times, his crown was made secure by his own determination and finally control of the barons who had their private armies removed. Now at last a son succeeded his father without the fears of the past century of conflict, a Prince rode to his coronation that represented new hope and dreams, a bride rode to her coronation who was beautiful and full of life and popular, she was perfect for him and brought the prestigious awards of a dynastic marriage with her, for those watching this golden couple, this must indeed have seemed like the birth of a golden age, for many years, it would also promise to provide all of these things. We can only look back with sadness and criticism because we have the hindsight of history, but had we been in the crowd that day we too would have cheered and wished them well and felt that a new era had begun.

    1. Bandit Queen you are right there are parallels in the Britain of today as there were five hundred years ago, a new awakening, a new hope for a great future!

    1. Hope you had a lovely national holiday. We used to have this day in the middle ages and no doubt Tudor Times as a holiday. In some places it is still a pagan medieval festival to the sun and fruits and sea. We have lost all those holidays. The day is also dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Happy holidays.

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