The Queen’s diamond jubilee river pageant – Perhaps Anne’s coronation one was like this.

On this day in history, 29th May 1533, the day after Archbishop Cranmer had proclaimed that Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn was valid, the celebrations for the new queen’s forthcoming coronation commenced.

The celebrations would last for four days, from 29th May to the coronation ceremony and banquet on 1st June, Whitsun. These celebrations kicked off with a spectacular river pageant on the Thames which, by the time everyone had joined in, consisted of “some 120 large craft and 200 small ones”.

Read all about the fire breathing dragon, terrible monsters, wild men, gun salutes and more in my article on the river procession from 2012 – click here.

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5 thoughts on “29 May 1533 – Anne Boleyn’s coronation fun begins”
  1. Londoners must have been so excited, although they loved Katherine this was a rare delight especially for the poor and their resentment against Anne must have been lost in the euphoria that accompanies events like these, to witness coronation celebrations are rare some people never have the chance and the city must have looked absolutely beautiful, it said wine run in the fountains and the people must have danced in the streets, the amazing river spectacle must have been planned for months and it shows the hard work that went into arranging this, Henry was determined to give Anne a great coronation, this was proof of his devotion and it certainly was a day to remember, the colourfulness of it all and the gaiety that went with it, iv said before it’s a pity no artist thought to immortalise it in a painting, but we have an idea from the photo taken, Anne was five months pregnant and was bearing up well, but it must have been exhausting for her after a time, but along with the tiredness and her condition she would have felt exultant that after seven long years against much odds she had finally achieved her dream, she would be queen and all this was in her honour, her motto ‘the most happy’ was certainly true on this day and the others that would follow, it would climax on the day of her coronation in a few days and she would be queen, both Henry and Anne were delirious with happiness as their dream was coming true at last, their happiness must have glowed with a warmth that covered everyone and everything in its path.

  2. Well, calling all you cynics out there, doesn’t Juvenal’s satirical comment, ‘panem et circuses’ pop up here deliciously to mock at ourselves and our poor ancestors, so bereft, in everyday life, of colour, excitement and wine fountains, that we are thought to be, by those in power over us, now and then, distractible by bread and circuses? Henry seems to have gone to enormous lengths and expense to make this a right royal occasion – but this is but one side of a coin. Will he go to equal /opposite length to rid himself of a queen when his goal is thwarted by mere biology?

    1. Yes ” panem et circenses ” sure enough ! After this ,two things could have happened : Anne Boleyn if ,she had given birth to a boy instead of fabulous future Queen Elizabeth the I st – she would not have been beheaded ……what if she had not made so many enemies ? What if the King stop having ” roving eyes ” ?

  3. I imagine that Anne Boleyn must have felt very happy and satisfied that she HAD gotten finally what she had pursued …..what would have happened if she had a ” premonition ” of what was to come ? I think that this is the culminating moment in her ascention to what she had wanted …..from then on …..only pifalls … after another !

  4. The effort that the young people put into making the replica royal barge was amazing. It was all done by young people learning a trade on an apprenticeship. However, I don’t know if Anne’s looked anything like this as the design was based on a water pageant for Charles II. Anyway, this pageant was fabulous and Anne’s and later Jane’s were fantastical by the descriptions. Anne must have been really full of joy and pride and London enjoyed a spectacle. Even though we have reports that nobody cheered or raised their hats I can’t believe they didn’t appreciate the grandeur and the show Henry had paid for. A few pints of free wine must have helped.

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