After years of not knowing what her future held at 3pm on 30th September 1553 Queen Mary I began her coronation procession from the Tower of London and made her way to Whitehall where she would stay overnight before being proclaimed Queen the next day. Mary and the procession left the Tower to the bells of churches ringing and gun fire.
The procession consisted of the Queen’s messengers, trumpeters, heralds, bannerets, esquires of the body, Knights of the Bath which included 15 that had been newly created that morning, the clergy, merchants, soldiers, knights, foreign ambassadors and the council. Following all of these came Mary’s retinue that included the Earl of Sussex who was acting as Mary’s Chief Server, Stephen Gardiner and William Paulet carrying the seal and mace, the Lord Mayor of London carrying the gold sceptre, the Sergeant at Arms and the Earl of Arundel carrying the Queen’s sword there was also ‘two ancient knights with old-fashioned hats, powdered on their heads, disguised’ who represented the Dukes of Normandy and Guienne.
Behind all of these came the new Queen in an open litter pulled by six horses in white trappings. It was reported that she was ‘richly apparelled with mantle and kirtle of cloth of gold’ with a gold tinsel cloth and jewelled crown on her head. Mary was escorted by the mother of Edward Courtenay and the wives of the Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Arundel and Sir William Paulet all on horseback. Behind them was a carriage carrying Mary’s younger sister, Princess Elizabeth and their former step mother, Anne of Cleves.
The procession would travel a mile and a half across London and there was entertainment at every turn including; a civic pageantry at Temple Bar, verses sung in praise of the new queen at Cornhill and Cheap, Queen Mary was address at St Paul’s by the recorder of London and was presented with a purse containing 1000 marks of gold by the chamberlain and an oration in Latin and English was delivered by playwright John Heywood at the school in St Paul’s Churchyard and finally minstrels played at Ludgate.
Mary reached Whitegate where she would prepare for her coronation the following day at Westminster Abbey.