On this day…


16th century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon showing their heraldic badges, the Tudor Rose and the Pomegranate of Granada.


Was the joint Coronation of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Because the description of the affair is more romantic, I will elaborate on the image above….

Henry VIII became King on the 21st April 1509, but was not crowned until 24th June 1509, thirteen days after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry decided that they would have a joint coronation and that this, rather than their wedding which was a private affair at Greenwich Palace, would be celebrated with all the splendor and pomp of the season.

At 8am on the 24th June, Henry and Catherine, under canopies carried by the barons of the Cinques Ports, processed behind twenty-eight bishops from the Palace of Westminster to the Abbey for the coronation ceremony. They walked on a carpet of striped cloth which was immediately torn to bits by the excited crowd who wanted a souvenir of that special day.

The young King wore a robe of crimson velvet, trimmed with ermine, a jacket of cloth of gold decorated with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls and other precious stones. His horse was dressed with ermine and cloth-of-gold and the canopy held over him by the four barons of the Cinque Ports was also made of cloth-of-gold. Following Henry came his master of the horse, Sir Thomas Brandon, brother of Charles Brandon, who led the King’s charger, and then came the Queen’s procession led by the Queen herself, reclining in a litter covered by a decorative canopy.

In the Abbey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham,  presented Henry to his people who acclaimed him by calling out “Vivat, vivat rex!“, or “Long Live the King!”, four times. When asked if they would “receive, obey and take” Henry as their King, the crowd in the Abbey all cried “Yeh! Yeh!” Henry then swore the nine oaths of kingship before Warham anointed him with holy oils and crowned him.

According to Alison Weir, Catherine was dressed like a bride, wearing: ‘An embroidered gown of white satin, with her hair – ‘of a very great length, beautiful and goodly to behold’ – falling loose down her back beneath a coronet set.’ (Pg. 104) ‘Catherine was anointed on the head and breasts, the coronation ring was put on the fourth finger of her right hand, the crown on her head, the scepter in her right hand and the ivory rod surmounted with the dove in her left.’ (Starkey, Pg. 111). Inside the Abbey, two thrones had been placed on a platform in front of the high altar. The Archbishop of Canterbury, then crowned Catherine with the smaller crown of the Queen Consorts of England.

The coronation was followed by a lavish banquet at Westminster Hall and several days of festivities. Henry now had his queen, a crown and the adoration of his people, all he needed to secure the dynasty once and for all was a male heir.


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