On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 24th November 1487, in the reign of King Henry VII, the coronation procession of the king’s queen consort, Elizabeth of York, took place in London. Her coronation would take place the following day.
Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, had become queen on 18th January 1486, when she married King Henry VII, but her coronation had been postponed due to pregnancy and trouble with the Cornish rebels and Perkin Warbeck. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales, in September 1486.
Find out all about Elizabeth of York’s coronation procession, what she wore, who was involved and what happened…
On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 24th November 1487, the coronation procession of Elizabeth of York, queen consort of Henry VII, took place in London. Henry Tudor had become King Henry VII following the defeat of King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22nd August 1485 and he united the Houses of Lancaster and York when he married Elizabeth of York, daughter of the late King Edward IV, on 18th January 1486. Elizabeth gave birth to their first child, Arthur, in September 1486.
Elizabeth’s coronation was postponed due to her pregnancy and then to unrest in the country – the Cornish Rebellion and Perkin Warbeck for example, but was then scheduled for 25th November 1487. On Friday 23rd November 1487, Elizabeth left Greenwich and travelled by water, along the River Thames, to the Tower of London. She was accompanied by her mother-in-law, Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, and a procession of decorated barges containing peers and peeresses, the Lord Mayor, sheriffs and aldermen. One barge in particular stood out as it carried a red dragon which spouted fire! When she got to the Tower, she was welcomed by her husband the king. Eleven Knights of the Bath were created that night, and then, on this day in history, 24th November 1487, Elizabeth had her coronation procession, processing through the streets of London, from the Tower to Westminster.
The Memoir of Elizabeth York by 19th century historian Nicholas Harris Nicolas, which appears with the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York, which Nicolas edited, gives an account of this day drawn from primary sources. I’ll share it with you now.
“[…] On the next day, after dinner, her Majesty being royally apparelled in a kirtle of white cloth of gold damask, and a mantle of the same suit, furred with ermine, fastened before her breast with a great lace, curiously wrought of gold and silk, and rich knobs of gold at the end, tasselled; her fair yellow hair hanging down plain behind her back, with a caul of pipes over it, and wearing on her head a circle of gold, richly garnished with precious stones, quitted her chamber of state. Her train was borne by her sister, the Lady Cecily, and being attended by a great retinue of lords, ladies and others, she entered her litter, in which she was conveyed to Westminster. Most of the streets, which were lined with the city companies in their liveries, were hung with tapestry and arras, whilst in Cheapside, and some other places, rich cloths of gold and velvets and silks were displayed. The houses were filled with spectators, and the crowd is represented as being immense, all eager to see the Queen in her royal apparel, a feeling which had perhaps a deeper source than the gratification of idle curiosity. Children in the dresses of angels and virgins were placed in various parts, who sung the Queen’s praises as she passed; and preceded by the Duke of Bedford as Lord Steward, the Earl of Oxford as Great Chamberlain, the Earl of Derby as Constable, and the Earl of Nottingham as Marshal of England, by the Duke of Suffolk, the Lord Mayor, Garter King of Arms, the Heralds, and other official persons, and by the newly made Knights of the Bath, with their banners borne before them, her Majesty proceeded through the city, sitting in a litter, under a canopy borne by the Knights of the body. Her sister Cecily, her aunt the Duchess of Bedford, the Duchesses of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Countess of Oxford, in two chairs, and six Baronnesses, mounted on palfreys, immediately followed the Queen; and in this order the procession arrived at Westminster, where she slept.”
Elizabeth needed to rest to prepare for the next day, her coronation at Westminster Abbey.