31st May 1533 – The Coronation Procession and Celebrations

Posted By on May 31, 2010

As I said in my previous post “Queen Anne Boleyn”, the coronation of Anne Boleyn was not just a one day affair it was four days of events and celebrations, a real lesson in propaganda!

After the procession down the Thames from Billingsgate to the Tower of London on the 29th May 1533, Anne and Henry retired to their sumptuous royal apartments which had been renovated especially for this occasion. These apartments no longer exist but when we visited the Tower of London on the 19th of May this year we were able to figure out where they had once stood, between the Lanthorn Tower and the Wardrobe Tower. I hope that the pregnant Anne was able to get some rest before the processions began again in earnest on the 31st.

A 19th Century Engraving of Anne Boleyn's Coronation Procession

Celebrations

Anne Boleyn’s coronation was not just celebrated with lavish pageants, processions and displays, it was also celebrated by the knighting of certain gentlemen. Letters and Papers tell us:-

“On Friday, 30 May, all noblemen, &c. repaired to Court, and in a long chamber within the Tower were ordained 18 “baynes,” in which were 18 noblemen all that night, who received the order of knighthood on Saturday, Whitsun eve. Also there were 63 knights made with the sword in honor of the coronation”1

and Eric Ives2 writes of how the ceremonies for the Knights of the Bath lasted from the Friday evening until the Saturday morning and that men honoured included Francis Weston and Boleyn and Howard relations like Henry Parker (brother-in-law of George Boleyn), the Earl of Derby (who was married to Anne’s aunt) and Thomas Arundel (husband of one of Anne’s cousins). The list of men made Knights Bachelor on the Saturday also included members of the Boleyn faction: Thomas Cromwell, the Earl of Derby and proteges of Henry Norris and William Brereton. As Eric Ives comments, “there could be little doubt who it was “the king delighteth to honour.””3

The Coronation Procession

Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen in a service at Westminster Abbey on the 1st June 1533, but the previous day, the 31st May saw a huge coronation procession as Anne made her way from the Tower of London to Westminster Hall.

Eric Ives has a great rundown of the procession in his book “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, Chapter 12 “A Coronation and a Christening”, and you can also read various details in L&P vi. 561, 562 and 563 – see http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=77552 to read them online. However, Anne Boleyn Files visitor, Nasim, wrote an excellent article on Anne Boleyn’s Coronation procession for us a few weeks ago after she had walked the route and taken photographs along the way. Please read Nasim’s article “Anne Boleyn’s Coronation Procession” for a full account of all the pageantry of the day. Nasim’s account really brings the day to life – it must have been quite a spectacle for the people of London!

Here is a YouTube video from TheBullen1 about Anne Boleyn’s coronation:-

Notes and Sources

  1. L&P vi 563
  2. The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives
  3. Ibid., p176

1 thought on “31st May 1533 – The Coronation Procession and Celebrations”

  1. rochie says:

    Gosh – I was thinking reading this and todays article, how amazing that must have seemed at the time. It would be amazing today. What it must have been like for people in the 16th century, we can only guess!

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