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Anne Boleyn’s Coronation

Posted By on June 1, 2009

On this day in history, 1st June 1533, Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England.

Preparations for the coronation began after the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon was pronounced invalid by Archbishop Cranmer on May 23rd 1533. The lavish celebrations which led up to Anne Boleyn’s coronation lasted an incredible four days and included a procession of barges, said to be 4 miles long, along the Thames from Greenwich to the Tower of London. The barge which carried Anne was dressed in luxurious gold cloth and as Anne disembarked 1,000 guns were fired from the Tower and other guns were fired from ships and the Limehouse.

(Video by TheBullen1, a history student)

31st May

On 31st May, Anne Boleyn left her apartments in the Tower of London and processed through the city to Westminster by chariot. Craft guilds and merchants lined the streets, lines of constables controlled the crowd and the houses of Cheapside were decorated with gold cloth, velvet and tissue and Cornhill and Gracechurch Street were decorated with carpets, tapestries, arras and cloths of crimson and scarlet.

The procession was led by the French ambassador’s twelve servants, who were dressed in blue velvet with sleeves of yellow and blue, and with hats decorated with white plumes. They rode on horses decorated in blue sarcenet with white crosses. These men were followed by the gentlemen of the Royal households, nine judges, the Knights of Bath, the Royal Council and the rest of England’s government. Behind this long procession of dignitaries, came Anne Boleyn in her litter of white and gold. A canopy of gold cloth was held over her by the barons of the Cinque Ports and underneath this canopy was Anne, dressed in white and wearing a golden coronet. Anne’s ladies, dressed in crimson, followed the litter and many more carriages and riders followed behind.

At Cheapside, it is said that Anne was received by the Mayor, aldermen and the Recorder of London who gave her a thousand marks of angel nobles in a purse as a gift from the city. Although it has long been said that the crowd were hostile towards Anne, who was already around 6 months months pregnant and could be seen to be usurping Catherine of Aragon’s place, Eric Ives points out that it is hard to assess what people really thought.

1st June

On 1st June 1533, Whit Sunday, Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey. Anne arrived at around 9am, dressed in her coronation robes of ermine trimmed purple velvet with a coronet of gold on her head. As she walked along a blue carpeted route between the hall and the abbey’s altar, the golden canopy from the day before was carried over her and the dove topped rod of ivory and golden sceptre were carried before her. The Lord Great Chamberlain, Earl of Oxford, carried the crown of St Edward, which had only ever been used to crown the reigning monarch. Behind Anne, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk carried her train and the bishops of London and Winchester processed, along with scarlet clad ladies.

In front of the staff of the Chapel Royal, the abbey monks, the choir, the peers in parliamentary robes, the court and the scarlet clad Mayor, judges and aldermen, Anne rested momentarily in St Edward’s Chair, before prostrating herself before the altar while Archbishop Cranmer prayed over her. After being anointed by the archbishop, Anne sat in St Edward’s Chair where she was crowned by Cranmer and given the sceptre and rod. Anne was able to exchange her crown for a lighter one, after the Te Deum, and then she took the sacrament, gave an offering at the shrine of the saint, refreshed herself and then processed back into Westminster Hall, via the clock tower and the five cisterns in New Palace Yard which were running with wine! It is said that the King watched the proceedings from behind a lattice work screen.

An exhausted Queen Anne then had to sit through a lavish coronation banquet, accompanied at her table only by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her husband, the King, sat in a special private purpose built box which allowed him to view the banquet with the ambassadors of Venice and France.

On Monday 2nd June, it is reported that there were celebration jousts, balls and further banqueting.  It is not known exactly how much Henry VIII spent on Anne Boleyn’s coronation, but the Milanese Ambassador predicted that it cost the city of London around 200,000 ducats or £46,000 and that the king also paid around half that amount on top of that! Henry VIII was going seriously over the top to celebrate his new queen and the impending birth of what he thought would be a son and heir. You can see why he didn’t bother with a coronation for Jane Seymour!

(Source: Eric Ives’ “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”)

15 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Coronation”

  1. Sabrina says:

    this makes me a bit sad, as she never really able to enjoy her crown….

    1. admin says:

      I know what you mean, Sabrina, she was only Queen for just under 3 years – very sad.

  2. Sherri says:

    Anne’s coronation was grand. Henry must have considered Anne to be his equal as she was crowned with the St. Edward crown. To me that shows how deep and passionate Henry’s love was for Anne.

    Henry waited for Anne for so long and vice versa that it makes a person really wonder what was working in Henry’s mind when he had her executed. Henry also gave her a high standing with a title of her own before they were married.

    If only we could go back in time…..

    1. admin says:

      Yes, Sherri, he didn’t treat any of his other wives like this. I agree with you that he really felt that Anne was his equal and I think he also assumed that she was carrying his son and the coronation celebrations were a celebration of the new hope that she had given him.

  3. Robin says:

    Henry loved Anne so much that he gave her this lavish and expensive coronation. He was proud of her and wanted to show her to everyone. True, he believed that she was carrying his son & heir as well..

    Henry never did this for any other of his queens. Also, he made Anne the Marquess Of Pembroke in her own right. Quite an honor for a women.

    I believe that Henry never stopped loving Anne and regretted losing her the rest of his life.
    I also think that he never felt the same passion for any other queen that he had for Anne. They were more equals in their relationship, with regard to education, love of music, interest in the new learning and so on.

    1. Claire says:

      He definitely thought that she was carrying his son and heir and the coronation was just as much a celebration of that as a celebration of his new queen.

      I agree with you that he never felt as passionately for his other queens. He obviously had much love and respect for Catherine of Aragon in the beginning and its seems that he was heartbroken and unwilling to believe ill of Catherine Howard when he was told of her infidelity, but Anne was definitely his true love even though he gave that name to Jane Seymour. His one and only letter to Jane is very boring compared to his passionate letters to Anne.

      1. Tidus says:

        He may have loved Anne as much as he was capable of
        loving anyone other than himself.

        On one hand his murdering her would suggest he
        didn’t love her. On the other hand, the flip side of
        love is hate.

        Either way, wether he loved her or not, he was a
        vile, evil man.

        And no, I don’t think he loved Jane. I think he was
        just thankful to her for giving him a son.
        If she’d given him a daughter or just miscarriage’s
        she’d have gone the same was as either Catherine
        or Anne.

  4. Eliza says:

    What a happy day must have been that day for Anne!! The efforts of so many years finally giving fruits! It’s a pity this story ended so badly…

  5. Rachel says:

    I belive that elizabeth did everything and more that henry wanted for is son! If elizabeth had been a boy it would have been very different

  6. Monica says:

    I think Henry and Anne had a love/hate relationship when she gave him a daughter instead of a son. But surely she was the love of his life and the only one that was considered equal to him. I believe that by killing her he died inside too, and after that he could only ‘love’ without passion, just looking for someone easy going and remissive instead than somebody like Anne which had fire inside her. I wish we had photographic images of Anne, to see her coronation and her fiery look!

  7. Fernando. X says:

    Maybe you’re right. Maybe he treated Anne so well because he assumed she would havr a son. Maybe he beheaded her because he was disappointed

  8. Ella -Max says:

    Henry was a fat disgusting [edited]! He murdered Anne’s little dog Purkey tossing it off a building top and if he loved Anne so much then why did he chop her [edited] head off?!?!?! You people are stupid morons!

    1. Claire says:

      Henry VIII didn’t start gaining weight until after he stopped jousting in 1536 and there’s no evidence that he hurt Purkoy in any way, the primary sources state “he was dead of a fall” and that the king had to break the news to Anne because nobody else dared to. We don’t know for sure what Henry VIII’s involvement was in Anne’s fall in 1536, some people believe that Cromwell was the instigator and others believe it was the king. I personally believe that it was the king, but her fall in 1536 does not mean that he never loved her. Love can turn to hate. If you look at murders today, they can be crimes of passion, they are often committed by a spouse or loved one, someone who once loved the person they kill.
      And nobody here is a “stupid moron”.

    2. Emma Illum says:

      It’s worth noting that Henry staged a really big diplomatic mess where Eustace Chapuys, the ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire and Charles V, was forced to meet Anne – just two weeks before her execution. And in that meeting, he was diplomatically forced to bow to her, which meant he recognized her as Henry’s legitimate queen on behalf of Charles V, Catherine of Aragon’s nephew! Literally! That’s a huge diplomatic action, not to mention risk!
      So, if he wanted her dead by then, why would he go to all the trouble and FORCE Chapuys, and by extension the Emperor to recognize her as his legitimate queen, if he was just gonna kill her?
      Secondly, Henry didn’t start gaining until 1536, and he certainly wasn’t fat when Anne died, he had the fall a few months before her execution. No one gets that fat that fast!

      Odds are he didn’t know she was gonna be dead 2 weeks later, meaning Anne went from seemingly forgiven for her miscarriage, to dead in 2 weeks…. and while Henry probably had a hand, I doubt he planned it all.

  9. Matilyn says:

    When was Ruth Blount Devonshire born? Was she the offspring of Charles Blount and Penelope Devereaux? Thank you!

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