On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 31st May 1533, the eve of her coronation, a pregnant Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, processed from the Tower of London, where she had been staying since her river procession on 29th May, to Westminster Hall.

This coronation procession is one of those events that I would love to travel back in time for, as it was a huge procession through the streets of London and there was lots of entertainment, including lavish pageants, orations, music, and wine flowing in the conduits and in fountains.

To be a citizen of London on that day! Wow!

Hear all about the pageantry in today’s video:

If you prefer to read articles, rather than watch videos or listen to talks, you can click here to read all about the procession.

Today is also the anniversary of the birth of Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1443 and you can read more about her over at the Tudor Society – click here.

And in 1529, a special legatine court opened at Blackfriars in London to hear Henry VIII’s case for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon – click here to read more.

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7 thoughts on “31 May 1533 – Queen Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession”
  1. The guest on the April 26th episode of the podcast ‘Talking Tudors’ was Phillipa-Vincent Connolly and the topic was disability in the middle ages. One of the storys told was of Anne’s fool Jane who it was mentioned may have had down’s syndrome heckling and shaming the unenthusiastic crowds observing the procession.

    1. Hi Claire. I just finished listening to the interview with Owen Emmerson and he mentioned that you and he are currently co-authoring a book on the history of Hever Castle. How exciting. I am quite excited to read this. Will be a fun and very interesting. Finding an audience will be no problem. Good luck!

  2. The French representatives and the judges were additions put in by Anne but then everything made its way in accordance with the official book which had how everything should be done in the coronation, the river pageant added an extra day and it must have all been wonderful and very costly. The free wine and attractions and food meant a great crowd watched, but whether they cheered or not, we don’t know because Anne complained few did, but honestly people must have had a great time.

  3. It seems that Anne was never popular with the locals who still thought that their rightful Queen was Katherine. Their loyalty over the King for her was touching. Unfortunately Anne brought about too many changes ie the cut from the Roman Catholic Church. She was the usurper in their eyes. If she only managed to give birth to a son, there was no redemption until her daughter became Queen.

  4. What an exhausting day for Anne pregnant to and although she must have relished every moment, she must have also longed for it to be over so she could escape to her bedchamber and lie on her luxurious bed with her ladies fanning her and sipping some wine, the celebrations sound beautiful and iv always loved the sound of the streets running with wine, it sounds marvellous and colourful and what a treat for the Londoners, who even though they reviled her, could not have failed to be impressed by the pageantry, there are references to Saint Anne and some have speculated she could have been named after her, but also Anne was also a family name, several of her relatives in the past being so named, Michael comments on her fool Jane, and that she may have been a Down’s syndrome child, fools were chosen for their mental impairment possibly because, although it sounds and is cruel to us in this age, they were found comical because of their inability to talk and relate properly to their fellow man, Down’s syndrome is the result of a faulty gene discover by a Dr. John Downing after whom the condition is named, we all know the look of a downs child but some are more mentally impaired than others and can only utter noises whearas some can speak well, and it is a shame that they were used in this way as a source of entertainment, but if we consider they were treated well had a comfortable life at court food and clothing provided more, and so we can assume they were happy in their own way, Jane Foole was the only known female fool on record, we know Henry had Will Sommers who once angered him because he made a rather tasteless quip about Elizabeth and Anne, he was banished for some time after that, Jane indeed did as the procession passed along shouted to the sullen watching crowds, ‘ I think you all have scurvy heads and that’s why you do not uncover them’, it’s true there were no cheering for this infamous woman whom many resented for taking good Queen Katherines place, one remarked ‘ who the devil made that common stewed whore our queen’, it was uttered by many and once before she had been on her way to dine with some friends and a mob of angry women had marched onto her friends house, Anne had to leave and that incident brave as she was, must have been quite upsetting for her at the thought of a crowd of angry baying women with fury in their hearts ever getting their hands on her, Henry V111 would have been furious had they harmed her but it is doubtful if they ever would have been discovered, they were probably the much poorer residents of London who like the dismal creatures the rats of the city, they would have disappeared back into the hovels that were their home, however despite after all the mutterings of the people, Katherines appeals to Rome and the farce at Blackfriars, the refusal of the pope to grant Henry his longed for dispensation, Anne was on her way to be the First Lady of the land
    and she must have been gloriously ecstatically happy, she was carrying whom she believed to be the son who would one day inherit his father’s kingdom, she revelled in the love and adoration the King had for her, I love the part where a crowd of children sang her praises and then the mythical reference to Paris and Aphrodite, and the judgement of Paris, I say her Greek name not her Roman counterpart which was Venus, as it is a Greek myth and since I was a little along with a passion for Tudor history I also share a passion for Greek mythology, Paris gave the golden apple of strife to the goddess of love as he was tempted by her promise of the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, although Aphrodite was said to be the most beautiful amongst her fellow goddesses anyway, in the pageant Anne was offered the golden apple thus alluding to her beauty and goodness, the eulogies she received that day were in keeping with the future Queen of England and the mother of the next Prince, no more woman in history no more queen in history could have been so eulogised so loved so adored by her King as Anne Boleyn, for Henry V111 uniquely had married for love, he had actually married his chosen bride his mistress, unlike the dynastic marriages that for centuries Kings had had to make, and which his first marriage had been, although he had wanted to marry Katherine it was assumed he would by her and his parents, and I feel he had gone along with it because it had seemed the right thing to do, he may have had a bit of a crush on her as she was older and foreign and must have seemed a charming sophisticate to his young eyes, but years later he had really fallen in love as he himself declared in a letter to Anne, he had been for more than a year struck by the dart of love, and this one was so violent so time consuming, that it absorbed all his waking moments till he would have no peace till he possessed her, one of the great love stories in history and that sunny day in June, and it’s equally sunny here now, was a triumph for Anne and her followers, after her rode all the nobility of England and Anne resplendent in gold with the sun glinting on her and catching the jewels she wore, must have seemed like the faerie queen Titiania as she appeared in Shaekespeares ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ years later, all these wonderful trappings of power and wealth caused by the adulation of a King makes this most enigmatic of queens fall from grace all the more terrible and poignant, but we can share in her triumph and joy as if we were there to honour her that day.

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