June 1, 1533: The Coronation (and Price) of a Queen

Contributed by: Natalie Sweet

Anne Boleyn’s coronation took place on June 1, 1533. Instead of listing the descriptions provided by Thomas Cranmer or Edward Hall, we will share with you the events as related in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII. To help you understand the prices of things, I include this handy explanation:

The penny at this time was the standard monetary unit. The letter ‘d’ represented the penny. The shilling was represented by an ‘s’. The pound would be familiar to those who either live or are familiar with British currency today, as it was represented by an l or £. To put everything into perspective, the pound would today represent about 400 US dollars, 277 Euros, 389 Canadian dollars, or 244 British pounds sterling. If your nation’s currency is not listed here, a simple Google search for “currency converter” will help you figure out the amount!

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn

The manner of attendance of the judges at the coronation of queen Anne, at Whitsuntide, 25 Hen. VIII., as reported by Sir John Spillman, one of the King’s justices, then present.

Before the coronation, Westminster Hall was prepared, and the Court of King’s Bench was kept for the time in the Exchequer Chamber, the Common Pleas in the Abbey, and the Chancery in the White Hall. The King sent letters missives to each of the justices to attend at the Coronation. On Thursday the Queen came from Greenwich to the Tower, where she rested all the Friday. On Thursday the Chancellor wrote to the Chief Justice, desiring him and his companions, in their scarlet robes, to come to Tower Hill, each with one servant, between one and two on Friday, to ride with the Queen, between the lords and knights, to Westminster Hall, and to attend at the Hall on Whitsunday at seven. When the chief justice, FitzJames, received this letter, he summoned the chief baron, Sir Robt. Norwich, chief justice of the Common Pleas, Sir Ric. Lyster, chief baron, Sir Humphrey Conisby, Sir Ant. Fitzherbert, Sir John Port, Sir Thos. Englefield, Sir John Shelley, and Sir John Spilman, who determined to ride together to the Tower. On Saturday, after dinner, they rode to the Tower on horses and mules, in scarlet gowns and hoods, sarcenet tippets and collars of S.S. ; but being too late to go into the Tower they came back to Sir John Dancy’s house in Mark Lane, and after resting half an hour rode back to Tower Hill, where they staid an hour, while the knights and squires rode by. The heralds appointed the justices to ride before the knights of the Bath, of whom 18 were made that day, and before the King’s council. At Westminster Hall they alighted, and waited for the Queen in the Hall next to the said knights. When she had sat in her chair and drunk, she went to her chamber, and the justices all kneeled to her ; to whom she said, “I thank you for all the honor you have done to me this day.” After this they came to their inns. On Whit Sunday, wearing their coifs, scarlet robes, hoods, cloaks, and collars, they rode to Westminster Hall, and accompanied the Queen to the church in the same order as before. In the church they were with the lords upon a scaffold. When the Queen was ascended unto the high place, they and the lords descended to the door of the Hall, and put off their coifs, cloaks, and hoods, and put on their tippets, collars, and hoods, as before. The marshals assigned them to sit next to the barons, at the same table. After dinner they advanced themselves before the Queen as she went to her chamber, and kneeled down, when she spoke as before. They then came back to their inns. They were not at the jousts the next day, for they were not commanded to be present.

Later copy, pp. 2. (Letters and Papers)

 “For the Quenys litter” :—

Crimson velvet, 32½ yds. at 13s. 4d. Crimson damask for lining, 19 yds. at 7s. Scarlet for covering it, 3 yds. at 8s. Red cloth, for a foot cloth, 1 yd., 3s. 4d. Crimson cloth, for lining the collars, “dosers,” and breeches, 1½ yd. at 3s. 4d. A mattress, 5s. A serecloth, gold and silk fringe, points, &c. 2 great brasses that beareth the litter, 8s. Making 2 saddles, covered with crimson velvet, 13s. 4d. 2 great double collars, stuffed, with bells, 16s. 2 great bits, with gilt bosses, 10s. 10,000 gilt nails, at 3s. 4d. a 1,000. 2 white girths, 2s. 2 black reins, 6d. 1 doz. gilt buckles, at 10d. Chains and breeches for the saddles, 8s. 10 gilt roses, at 8d. 4 gilt pommels, with roses, at 4s. For making the covering, of crimson velvet, bordered with black velvet, embroidered with 2 heads, 6s. 8d. To the broiderer, for mending the border, 10s. (Added, in Cromwell’s (?) hand) : “Mem. To speak with Justice, for the making of the new litter, 46s. 8d. ; for the painting of it, 33s. 4d.”

 5. Apparel :—

Item. 1½ yd. of crimson satin. 3 yds. of crimson taffeta to line her velvet gown. 2 yds. of black satin for her gown. To send 4 cr. to buy white fur for her black satin gown. For making 2 gowns, 1 cr. 2 yds. of black buckram, to line the two gowns in the bodies. 3 yds. of frieze, to line the pleats of the gowns after their use. ½ yd. of white satin, to make habiliments for her head. 5 yds. of white satin for a kirtle. 2½ yds. of red cloth to line her kirtle. 17 pieces of goldsmith’s work. A flat gold chain “as the dothe … to wear there.” 12 cr.

 Goldsmith’s work :—

A gold cup with a cover, weighing 59¾ ozs., at 45s. the oz., 134l. 8s. 9d. Workmanship, at 5s. the oz., 14l. 18s. 9d. Total, 149l. 7s. 6d.

Narrative of the entry and coronation of Anne Boleyn, queen of England, at London, 2 June 1533.

The Queen left Greenwich on Thursday, about four o’clock in the afternoon, in a “barque raze,” like a brigantine, which was painted with her colours outside, with many banners. Her ladies attended her. She was accompanied by 100 or 120 similar vessels, also garnished with banners and standards. They were fitted out with small masts, to which was attached a great quantity of rigging, as on large ships ; the rigging being adorned with small flags of taffeta, and, by the writer’s advice, with “or clinquant,” as it reflects the sun’s rays. There were many drums, trumpets, flutes, and hantbois. They arrived in less than half an hour at the Tower of London, where the cannon fired a salute. It was a very beautiful sight ; for, besides the vessels, there were more than 200 small boats, which brought up the near. The whole river was covered. On Friday the Queen did not leave her lodging. On Saturday, about five o’clock in the afternoon, in her royal dresses, which are of the same fashion as those of France, she mounted a litter covered inside and out with white satin. Over her was borne a canopy of cloth of gold. Then followed twelve ladies on hackneys, all clothed in cloth of gold. Next came a chariot covered with the same cloth, and containing only the duchess of Norfolk, step-mother of the Duke, and the Queen’s mother. Next, twelve young ladies on horseback, arrayed in crimson velvet. Next, three gilded coaches, in which were many young ladies ; and, lastly, twenty or thirty others on horseback, in black velvet. Around the litter were the duke of Suffolk, that day Constable, and my lord William (fn. 2) [Howard], who was Great Marshal and Great Chamberlain,—a hereditary office,—in place of his brother the duke of Norfolk. Before them marched two men, called esquires, who wore bonnets furred with ermines, somewhat like the chief usher of Paris. Then came the French ambassador, accompanied by the archbishop of Canterbury ; then the Venetian ambassador, accompanied by the Chancellor ; then many bishops, and the rest of the great lords and gentlemen of the realm, to the number of 200 or 300. Before all, marched the French merchants, in violet velvet, [each] wearing one sleeve of the Queen’s colours ; their horses being caparisoned in violet taffeta with white crosses. In all open places (carrefours) were scaffolds, on which mysteries were played ; and fountains poured forth wine. Along the streets all the merchants were stationed. The Queen alighted in a great hall, in which was a high place, where she partook of wine, and then retired to her chamber.

On Sunday morning, accompanied by all the said lords and gentlemen, she went on foot from her lodging to the church, the whole of the road being covered with cloth, and being about the length of the garden of Chantilly. All the bishops and abbots went to meet her, and conducted her to the church. After hearing mass, she mounted upon a platform before the great altar, covered with red cloth. The place where she was seated, which was elevated on two steps, was covered with tapestry. She remained there during the service, after being crowned by the archbishop of Canterbury, who delivered the crown to her, and consecrated her in front of the high altar. That day the duke of Suffolk was Grand Master, and constantly stood near the Queen with a large white rod in his hand. My lord William and the Great Chamberlain were also near her. Behind her were many ladies, duchesses, and countesses, attired in scarlet, in cloaks furred with ermines —such as are usually worn by duchesses and countesses,—and in bonnets. The dukes, earls, and knights were likewise clothed in scarlet robes, furred with ermines, like the first presidents of Paris, with their hoods. The coronation over, the Queen was led back again with the same company as she came, excepting some bishops, into a great hall, which had been prepared for her to dine in. The table was very long, and the Archbishop was seated a considerable distance from her. She had at her feet two ladies, seated under the table to serve her secretly with what she might need ; and two others near her, one on each side, often raised a great linen cloth to hide her from view, when she wished “s’ayser en quelque chose.” Her dinner lasted a long time, and was very honorably served. Around her was an inclosure, into which none entered but those deputed to serve, who were the greatest personages of the realm, and chiefly those who served “de sommelliers d’eschançonnerie et panetrie.” The hall being very large, and good order kept, there was no crowding. Beneath the inclosure were four great tables, extending the length of the hall. At the first were seated those of the realm who have charge of the doors ; below them, at the same table, were many gentlemen ; at the second table, the archbishops, bishops, the Chancellor, and many lords and knights. The two other tables were at the other side of the hall : “à celle du hault bout” was the mayor of London, accompanied by the sheriffs ; at the other were duchesses, countesses, and ladies. The duke of Suffolk was gorgeously arrayed with many stones and pearls, and rode up and down the hall and around the tables, upon a courser caparisoned in crimson velvet ; as also did my lord William, who presided over the serving, and kept order : they were always bareheaded, as you know is the custom of this country. The King stationed himself in a place which he had had made, and from which he could see without being seen ; the ambassadors of France and Venice were with him. At the hall door were conduits pouring out wine ; and there were kitchens to give viands to all comers, the consumption of which was enormous. Trumpets and hautbois sounded at each course, and heralds cried “largesse.” Next day a tourney took place, eight against eight, and every one ran six courses. My lord William led one band, and Master Carew, the grand esquire, the other.

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