September 28 – Elizabeth accompanies Mary I to the Tower of London

Sep28,2022 #Elizabeth I #Mary I

On this day in Tudor history, 28th September 1553, in the reign of Queen Mary I, Elizabeth, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, accompanied her thirty-seven-year-old half-sister, Mary I, to the Tower of London.

The sisters travelled in a decorated barge, and they were going to the Tower to prepare for Mary’s coronation, which was scheduled for 1st October 1553…


On this day in Tudor history, 28th September 1553, the new queen, thirty-seven-year-old Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, travelled in a decorated barge to the Tower of London to prepare for her coronation.

Mary had been proclaimed queen on 19th July 1553 after she had successfully taken the throne from Queen Jane, or Lady Jane Grey, who had been proclaimed queen after the death of Edward VI, Mary’s half-brother. Mary’s coronation was scheduled for 1st October 1553 at Westminster Abbey.

It was traditional for monarchs to go to the Tower before their coronations, stay at the royal palace there, dub Knights of the Bath, and then process from the Tower to Westminster in readiness for the coronation ceremony. On her journey to the Tower on 28th September, Mary was accompanied by her half-sister, nineteen-year-old Elizabeth, and as they pulled up to Tower Wharf, they were greeted by music and cannons firing.

Here is an account from diarist and merchant tailor Henry Machyn, who lived in London:
“The 28 day of September the Queen(‘s) grace removed from Saint James, and so to White Hall, and there her grace took her barge unto the Tower, and there all the crafts and the mayor and the aldermen in barges with streamers and minstrels, as trumpets, waits, shames, and regals, and with a great [shooting] of guns tyll her grace came in-to the Tower…”

And another from “The chronicle of Queen Jane, and of two years of Queen Mary”, although it dates her journey to 27th September:
“Note, that the 27. of September, the queen’s majesty came to the Tower by water towarde her coronation, and with her the lady Elizabeth her sister, with diverse other ladies of name, and the whole council. The lord Paget bore the sword before her that day. Before her arrival was shot of a peal of guns.”

The following day, on 29th September, Michaelmas, Mary created fifteen Knights of the Bath. These knights included Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and the future 4th Duke of Norfolk; William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, William Dormer, and Robert Rochester, her former Comptroller of the Household and now Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. As the ceremony consisted of the monarch dubbing the Knights when they were naked, in their baths, Henry Fitzalan, 19th Earl of Arundel, had to stand in for Mary.

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