Today, June 1, 1533, the last queen to be crowned separated from her husband was coronated at Westminster Abbey.
The queen in question, due to the year and the place, was of course Anne Boleyn. Another thing that separated Anne´s coronation from that of other queens was that she reputedly was crowned with the original crown of St. Edward, but as there exist several theories about this crown – that it on one hand was among the crown jewels lost by king John and on other hand that it was locked up in the royal treasury of Westminster all along and therefore used by Anne.
As I´m not in a position to prove or disprove either way, I´ll be content by stating that she may have been crowned with the crown of St. Edward. In the event of the latter, it has been suggested that the reason for this particular honour was that she was not only pregnant, but also expected to be carrying a son.
In any event, the medieval crown was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War, and the current St Edward´s crown was made in 1661.
The day previous to the coronation, Anne had taken part in a procession through London where she shaded by a canopy of cloth of gold, carried by the Barons of Cinque Ports, rode on a litter of white cloth of gold rested of two palfreys which in their turn were decorated in white damask reaching all the way to the ground. Anne Boleyn herself were wearing white with a golden coronet on her head. The public who witnessed the procession was said to be less than enthusiastic.
On the actual day of the coronation, Whit Sunday 1533, she wore crimson and purple coronation robes trimmed with fur. Once again under a canopy of cloth of gold, Anne walked from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey.
Followed by a train of noble women and men as well as bishops, abbots and yeomen of the Kings Guards, Anne walked along a red carpet which reached all the way to the altar of Westminster Abbey, where she after arrival in the abbey sat on enthroned on a raised platform.
After the ceremony, during which Cranmer anointed her and put the crown on her head. When the coronation itself was over, it was followed by a lavish banquet in Westminster Hall which lasted for hours. Seated alone at the centre of the top table, where she ate three out of 28 plates.
The coronation festivities went on for days with hunting, tournaments, dancing and banquets as Anne embarked on her 1 000 days as the queen of England.
But on this very day, even if not for the first time, the Nun of Kent – Elizabeth Barton – publically prophesised the doom for the King and his new Queen.
It should be pointed out that the crown in the image is NOT the crown of St Edward. It is however, unlike the crown from 1661, a medieval crown, and may look more like the one Anne Boleyn possibly wore than the now existing crown of St Edward.
The Drama of Coronation: Medieval Ceremony in Early Modern England – Alice Hunt
Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey – Arthur Penryhn Stanley
The six wives of Henry VIII – Alison Weir
The wives of Henry VIII – Antonia Frasier