On this day in 1553 – Queen Mary I was coronated

On 1st October 1553 Queen Mary I was proclaimed Queen of England at Westminster Abbey, after a turbulent childhood spending years out of favour with her father, King Henry VIII following his divorce from Katherine of Aragon.

At 11am Mary was led by the Bishop of Winchester, gentlemen, knights and councillors including the Earl of Arundel carrying the ball and sceptre, the Marquess of Winchester carrying the orb and the Duke of Norfolk carrying the crown. Mary was dressed traditionally wearing the state robes of crimson velvet that her male ancestors would have worn to their coronation. A canopy was carried over the Queen by the barons of the Cinque Ports as she walked along a raised walkway to the coronation chair.

Bishop Stephen Gardiner presided over the coronation instead of the Archbishop of Canterbury, this was because Mary viewed the Archbishop as her enemy due to his Protestant beliefs therefore Gardiner and his Catholic ways was a safer bet. Gardiner began the coronation by saying;

Sirs, Here present is Mary, rightful and undoubted inheritrix by the Laws of God and man to the Crown and Royal Dignity of this realm of England, France and Ireland, whereupon you shall understand that this day is appointed by all the peers of this land for the consecration, injunction and coronation of the said most excellent Princess Mary; will serve you at the time and give your wills and assent to the same consecration, unction and coronation?”

The congregation replied ‘Yea, yea, yeah! God save Queen Mary!’

Mary then prostrated herself on a velvet cushion in front of the altar whilst prayers were said over her. Following this the Bishop of Chichester, George Day, preached a sermon about the obedience owed to a monarch. Mary then made her oaths and whilst the choir sang Veni Creator Spiritus Mary laid prostrate in front of the high altar.

Following this Mary and her ladies prepared the new Queen for her anointing, Mary returned dressed in a purple velvet petticoat and lay in front of the altar as she was anointed with holy oil on her shoulders, forehead, temple and breast by Bishop Gardiner. Mary did not wish to use the oils that had been consecrated by her brother’s ministers as she viewed them as heretical therefore Mary had the Bishop of Arras in Brussels send untainted oils.

After redressing herself with the robes of state Mary was handed the sword, sceptre and orbs, Mary was in fact handed two sceptres during her coronation; the first was the one handed to all past Kings and the second was one that was bearing a dove which was traditionally handed to the Queen Consort this second sceptre would have been handed to Mary’s mother, Katherine of Aragon. After she was handed these items of state Mary was crowned firstly with the crown of Edward the Confessor, then the Imperial Crown and finally a smaller custom made crown. Finally the ermine furred crimson mantle was placed around her shoulders and nobles approached the new Queen to pay their respects whilst she was seated in the coronation chair.

The coronation ended at 4pm with Mary proceeding to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet and the beginning of her reign. During her coronation banquet Sir Edmund Dymoke appeared on horseback dressed in full armour and flung his gauntlet down and threw open a challenge and proclaimed himself as the Queen’s champion. Mary in gratitude gave Dymoke her gold drinking cup filled with wine. Mary was served over 312 dishes at her banquet with 7,112 served to the entire court. Nearly 4,900 dishes were recorded as waste and distributed to the Londoners that were outside the Hall hoping to catch a glimpse of the new Queen.

Coronation_of_Mary_ICoronation of Queen Mary I

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