On 3rd August 1553 Queen Mary I rode into London after being proclaimed Queen, she rode alongside her Elizabeth, her half sister. They travelled from Wanstead to Aldgate where Mary was greeted by the Lord Mayor of London who handed her ‘the scepter perteyninge to the office’ Mary handed the sceptre back to the Lord Mayor and entered the city followed by Sir Anthony Browne, the Duchess of Norfolk, Marquess of Exeter and in front of Mary travelled the Lord Major with the sceptre and the Earl of Arundel holding the sword of state.
The party passed St Botolph’s Church where the children of the local Christ’s hospital greeted the new Queen and they passed through Leadenhall towards Gracechurch Street and Fenchurch Street then down Mark Lane before arriving at the Tower of London. It was at the Tower that Mary was met by Sir John Gage, the Constable of the Tower and Thomas Bruges who welcomed the Queen into the Tower. Inside the Tower Mary was also greeted by the Duke of Norfolk, Bishop Gardiner and Edward Courtenay.
The chronicler Wriothesley wrote about the day by starting with Mary’s appearance;
“her gowne of purple velvet French fashion, with sleues of the same, hir kirtle purple satten all thicke sett with gouldsmithes work and great pearle, with her foresleues of the same set with rich stones, with a rich bowdricke of goulde, pearle, and stones about her necke, and a riche billement of stones and great pearle on her hoode, her pallfray that she rode on richly trapped with gould embrodred to the horse feete.”
Wriothesley continued by talking about the city of London and how the new Queen was greeted;
“All the streates in London, from Algate up to Leadenhall, and so to the Tower, were richly hanged with clothes of arras and silke, the streates gravelled all the way, and the citizens standing at rayles with theyr streamers and banners of eury Company or occupation standing at theyr rayles, eury Company in their best liueryes with theyr hoodes. Allso there were iiii great stages between Algate and the Tower where clarkes and musicians stoode playing and singing goodly ballets which rejoysed the Quene’s highnes greatly. Allso there was such a terrible and great shott of guns shot within the Tower and all about the Tower wharf that the lyke hath not bene hard, for they neuer ceased shootinge from the tyme her highnes entred in at Algate til she came to Marke Lane ende, which was like great thunder, so that yt had bene lyke to an earthquake. And all the streets by the way as her highnes rode standing so full of people shoutinge and cryinge Jesus saue her Grace, with weepinge teares for joy, that the lyke was neuer seen before. “
Mary’s arrival in London marks the start of her reign as Queen.
by John Byam