On Sunday, 1 June 1533, a young woman came to Westminster Abbey to be crowned. She wore a kirtle of crimson velvet under a surcoat of purple velvet trimmed with ermine. Her train was carried by the dowager Duchess of Norfolk as she walked to the Abbey from nearby Westminster Hall. The canopy held above her head was made from cloth of gold.
When she came to the Abbey, the young woman advanced up the nave until she arrived at the central crossing point of the original Abbey. William the Conqueror was crowned here in 1066. All but two of his successors have been crowned here too, just in front of the altar. It is the most historic spot in all England.
The young woman sat in St Edward’s chair for the coronation. Archbishop Cranmer performed the ceremony. It dragged on for what seemed like eternity. At one point the young woman was required to lie prostrate in front of the altar – not easy, when she was six months pregnant.
Afterwards, 800 people sat down to a sumptuous coronation banquet in Westminster Hall. Trumpets sounded as the Duke of Norfolk rode his horse between the tables, superintending the proceedings.
The new Queen sat on a throne at the high table on the dais, 12 steps above the floor of the Hall. Eight noblemen and the Countesses of Oxford and Worcester attended her. From time to time, Lady Worcester held a cloth to the new Queen’s face ‘when she list to spit or do otherwise at her pleasure’.
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 123. Name this pregnant, gobby new Queen.