15th January 1559: Gloriana begins

 

Elizabeth (before the pox)

On this day in 1559, a 25 year old Elizabeth Tudor was crowned Queen Elizabeth 1 of England and Ireland. Her coronation date had been hand picked by some superstitious old bloke called John Dee. He had done his star gazing Mumbo jumbo and concluded January 15th would be the best day to hold the coronation (he got paid a shit load to give a date… it’s not like if the queen had a short reign she would be around to punish him. Nice work if you can get it eh).
Her coronation came after the death of her fucking mental sister, the Catholic queen (bloody) Mary.
Elizabeth’s ceremony saw her have a short stay in tower as customary, (it is a palace after all), followed by a street procession, then off to Westminster for a ceremony and a slap up feast to finish. Sounds like a mini holiday.
She was dressed head to toe in gold cloth (literally cloth sewn with gold), and her coronation mass was conducted in both English and Latin, (important because previously the Catholics hadn’t wanted the common folk to understand anything they were being told at church other than ‘disobey the church and ye shall be royally fucked’).

Elizabeth, being a Protestant, was thrilled to shit to finally be getting the country back to its ‘proper’ faith after her catholic sister he stormed in and fucking ruined it prior to her death, setting fire to anyone who had an English bible and refused to believe they had been chomping down on Jesus flesh every Sunday at mass.
One bloke though, the Catholic Bishop of Carlisle Owen Oglethorpe, wasn’t having it. He had been appointed by Mary as Bishop in order to restore the country to its Catholic faith and was the only bishop willing to officiate Elizabeth’s coronation. He decided he would totally take the piss and try to ‘elevate the host’, (part of the Eucharist in Catholicism), which Elizabeth had explicitly told him not to do. Imagine.
She went mental and diva stropped out of her own coronation, then had the Bishop relieved of his duties pronto, (but not his head you will be saddened to hear). The whole coronation cost around £17000, (roughly a cool £4m in today’s money and that’s not including the feast which Tudors went completely over the top with).
Happy anniversary Elizabeth

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October 30th 1485: Henry Tudor, What A Genius…(oh and his coronation!)

Henry VII: Looking as smug as he should do

Henry VII: Looking as smug as he should do

Henry VII was crowned king on 30th October, 1484, after kicking the shit out of his predecessor, Richard III, a few weeks earlier at the battle of Bosworth (which you can read about here).  Now let’s not be under any pretence: Henry had about as much claim to the English throne as Richard did, actually less of a claim, and there were many people who would see the throne return back to the York’s if they had their way. Henry was nobody’s fool though and did everything within his power to make sure that this didn’t happen. Actually this is more of a story about a very clever man, than the coronation of a King.

As you probably already know, Henry married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. This was an attempt to unite the houses of Lancaster and York in order to seal his claim to the throne and suggest that the recent wars and battles were over. Although the pair were betrothed, henry didn’t marry Liz until the following January (nearly 3 months after his coronation). This was to ensure nobody could claim that henry only had the throne through his wife’s claim TO IT. He managed to delay the marriage by writing to the Pope to ask for special permission for the marriage to happen – the couple were distant relatives, though that didn’t usually stop folks back then. Henry knew however that it would take fucking ages for the letter to get to the Pope and for a reply to be sent, buying him a bit of time to squeeze his coronation in.

His next genius move was to set the date of his assentation to the throne to the day before the battle of Bosworth so that he could claim anybody supporting Richard was a traitor and seize their lands. By seizing their lands he was not only showing them that they really shouldn’t fuck with him, but also making himself incredibly wealthy in the process. I think the whole wealth thing would’ve come as a bit of an alien concept to Henry. He had been so used to moving around and living in relative poverty in France, (I say ‘poverty’…he was poorer than his birth right would suggest, don’t feel too bad for him, he wasn’t a council estate in Tory Britain type of poor, more of a Kate Middleton after forgetting her purse kind of poor), then suddenly he finds himself rich with a whole army, a treasury and a shit tonne of land to his name.

Henry also learned from Bosworth that nobody could be trusted, (his step Dad had given him the run around at Bosworth and a few of the other noble men had shown themselves to be a bunch of fickle dick heads). Henry’s answer to this problem was to make a law that no man should have his own army. This stopped anybody rising up against the King and reduced the power the noblemen had. Henry wasn’t thick.

His next act of pure genius was to be crowned before the first meeting of parliament, so that nobody could argue the legitimacy of his claim to the throne. After all who is going to tell the King that he is not king? Especially if that King has just seen to it that the last man who pissed him off has an axe put through his head and his knob and bollock paraded about on the back of a horse for all to see before being shoved under a future car park?!

His actual coronation itself took place at Westminster Abbey. It must have been an emotional day for not only Henry, but for his Mum, Margaret Beaufort. Margaret had not seen her boy for 17 years. She had Henry when she was 13 and childbirth near killed her. She never had another child, and despite being scary as balls, I think she loved him very much. She sent him into exile for his own protection: being an heir to the throne of the house Lancaster at a time when the throne was occupied by the York family was pretty dangerous, (think Montague and Capulet if you need a perspective), and had Margaret not sent henry away he would’ve almost certainly been killed as a child.

Of course, Henry’s ‘unofficial’ coronation took place on Bosworth battle field, when Lord Stanley dragged Richard III’s crown out from under a bush and placed it upon Henry head. Henry knew that he had to have a proper coronation, one that ‘was under the eyes of God’ (i.e. in a church and not on Gods actual face), in order to cross it off the ‘reasons to kick henry off the throne’ list. By holding a coronation at Westminster Abbey and presenting his standards at St. Pauls cathedral, Henry was saying to the world ‘Look God chose me so I must be King…I’ve put my flag up and everything’. It worked. A couple of years late and nobody even questioned henry’s claim (well, apart from the pesky Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck posse’s that is, but that’s a story for another Tudorial).

Henrys 'unofficial' coronation at Bosworth. Apparently this picture is based upon a tapestry, and not a crap colouring in book bought from a National Trust property.

Henrys ‘unofficial’ coronation at Bosworth. Apparently this picture is based upon a tapestry, and not a crap colouring in book bought from a National Trust property.

Henry went on to reign for 23 years, 7 months and 28 days. His reign brought about peace to what had been a really shit past few decades, and also marks the birth of the Tudor reign. Henry always strikes me as an amazing bloke and the more I read about him, the more he becomes a contender for the ‘my favourite Tudor Sovereign’ spot.

1st June 1533 – All Hail Queen Anne

                       1st June 1533 – Anne Boleyn is crowned

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482 years ago today, in 1533, Anne Boleyn was crowned the Queen of England. She was Henry VIII’s 2nd wife and lasted a mere 3 years (almost exactly to the day), before he lopped her head off through sheer boredom (and a sprinkle of politics).

Henry spent a shit ton of cash on her coronation as a desperate attempt to win around the public’s enthusiasm. They hated Anne. She had turned the whole religion of the country around, caused monasteries to be burned and had somehow enticed the king away from the much loved Catherine of Aragon (who he had been married to for freaking ages and had stood by him through thick and thin, organised his wars and kept his country running smoothly when he had buggered off to scrap about in France).

Anne and Henry had undergone a secret wedding a little before the coronation. I think this would’ve been a bit of a snub to the public as it was no secret that they disapproved of the union, so for Henry to then marry Anne was like a massive fuck you to the people, little did they know that she was also preggers with their daughter Elizabeth, (later Queen Liz I, ultimate hardcore virgin  feminist), at the time. Because of the pregnancy, Henry would’ve wanted to marry Anne asap in order to have a heir to the throne s opposed to another bastard (I like to think of Henry as a Robert Baratheon type figure since he had a few bastard kids kicking about being the dirty shagger he was).

Anyway, back to the coronation… I could write all day about the riches and elaborate decorations but I wont, just think big. Think  grand flags and bunting, hundreds of boats following the Queens golden barge down the Thames, cannon fire meeting the royal couple (who had a bloody barge each), cloth’s of gold (yes gold…as in real gold), foot soldiers and the finest attires.

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Knowing Henry’s choice of replacement queen was unpopular, he made her coronation more expensive and much more elaborate than her predecessor’s, as if by way to win the public’s affection. However this blew up in his face somewhat when Anne was reportedly met by mocking laughter, insults and booing. sad times for poor Anne.

In her coronation the archbishop declares that Anne is ‘Set above all others and witnessed by God Himself thus only death could remove her’. Oh how wrong could one man be?!

Anne Boleyn: possibly the most famous and most formidable of Henry VIII's wives, even though her marriage (and reign), only lasted 3 years.

Anne Boleyn: possibly the most famous and most formidable of Henry VIII’s wives, even though her marriage (and reign), only lasted 3 years.