Coronation Anecdotes Part 7

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Matilda, d.u.c.h.ess of Normandy, was not brought into England until William had fully subdued his refractory subjects--when, on Whit Sunday, 1068, she was crowned queen at Winchester, by the archbishop of York.

WILLIAM RUFUS, though a second son, was the Conqueror's favorite, and duly elected his successor by the prelates and barons of England. His coronation, as it was princ.i.p.ally procured by the influence of the church, was conducted with great splendour by Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster, 20th Sept, 1087.

Of this prince the Saxon Chronicle furnishes an anecdote, of which the naval excursions of his present Majesty are calculated to remind us.

While hunting in the New Forest he received intelligence of the defeat of his Norman forces by Helie de la Fleche--and would hardly suffer the messenger to conclude his tale, ere he exclaimed, "Let those that love, follow me;" and rode immediately toward the sea sh.o.r.e. He leaped into the first vessel that presented itself: the master remonstrating that the weather was very stormy, and the pa.s.sage perilous in such a bark, "Hold thy peace," said William, "kings are never drowned[84]."

HENRY I., who was near his brother at the time of his death in the New Forest, hastened to Winchester to secure the royal treasures. So precipitate was the prince on this occasion, as to neglect all care for the decent interment of William, whose body was carried in a cart to the royal city, and without any religious rites interred in the cathedral[85]. The treasurer of his predecessor seems to have been more respectful to his memory. He ventured to tell Henry that he held the money for the rightful heir, his brother Robert; and blood would have been shed but for the interference of the surrounding n.o.bles, who overcame the scruples of the minister. Having obtained possession of the royal castle and treasures, Henry proceeded to Westminster, where on the third day after his brother's death he was crowned by the bishop of London, the see of York being vacant, and Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, abroad.

This was the first of our monarchs who thought it needful to strengthen the attachment of his subjects to him by a formal charter; which seems in some measure to have been regarded as a condition of his election to the crown. It was, at any rate, promulgated on the day of the coronation, and is a doc.u.ment of no small historical importance, as professing to abolish all the grievances that had been introduced by the Norman princes, and to restore the laws of Edward the Confessor. We can only notice a few of its items. 1. The people were exempted from all taxes which they had not paid under their Saxon rulers; and the venders of base or light coin were to be punished with severity. 2. The church was reinstated in all her ancient rights, and the king engaged never to sell or farm vacant benefices, or to retain their revenues for the use of his exchequer. 3. He granted to all the barons and immediate va.s.sals of the crown (requiring them to make the same grant to their respective tenants) the right of a free disposal of personal property: that for breaches of the peace they should not be placed as heretofore at the king's mercy, but be adjudged to pay the sums prescribed by the Saxon law; that their heirs should pay the customary reliefs for the livery of lands, and not the arbitrary compensations which had been exacted by his two predecessors; that the wardship of minors, and the custody of their lands, should be committed to their nearest relations; that neither heiresses nor widows should be compelled by the king to marry, but the daughters and female relations of n.o.ble families should be given in marriage without any impediment being offered by the crown, or any fee being required for the exercise of such liberty. He at the same time granted a very beneficial charter to the citizens of London. Two queens of this prince were successively crowned.

STEPHEN was the fourth monarch in succession from the Conqueror who claimed the crown without an hereditary t.i.tle. Any settlement of the government was preferred by well-disposed men to the anarchy that usually succeeded the decease of a feudal sovereign: and the prompt.i.tude of this monarch, and his former popularity in the country, united with the antipathy of the people to a female reign, gave him an easy access to sovereign power. He was crowned at Winchester, by the archbishop of Canterbury, Dec, 22, 1135; stipulating in the coronation oath that he would not levy the danegelt[86] which his uncle had so frequently extorted, nor retain for his own profit the vacant benefices of the church, nor molest clerks or laymen in the possession of their woods or forests.

By a compact entered into with Stephen and the a.s.sembled barons, in the latter days of that prince, HENRY II., grandson of Henry I., succeeded to the throne, and was crowned at Westminster, Dec. 19, 1154, attended by a great concourse of foreign n.o.bility. His queen received the royal unction on Christmas-day, 1158.

During the disputes between this monarch and the celebrated Thomas a Becket, we find the king adopting a singular expedient for strengthening and perpetuating the authority of his family--the coronation of his son Henry. Historians are divided as to his design in this ceremony; but a probable opinion is suggested by Mr. Hume, that when the thunders of the Vatican were every day expected to dissolve the ties of allegiance between Henry's subjects and himself, he was anxious by the new oaths of allegiance now taken, to secure their obedience, at least, to his family in the person of his son.

But in the manner of conducting this unique coronation he added new matter to the existing strife. It had long been esteemed a right of the metropolitan to anoint and crown the kings of England; and Becket had been diligent enough to procure the pope's letters prohibitory against the interference of any other prelate with his privileges on this occasion. The coronation however proceeded; the archbishop of York feeling no scruple in supplying Becket's place:--all the royal makings of a king were bestowed on the young prince, at Westminster, June 15, 1170, and his father waited upon him during the coronation feast, at table. It being remarked to the prince how great was the honour for him to be thus attended, he is said to have replied haughtily, "That he thought it no such great condescension for the son of an earl to wait on the son of a king."

This coronation also involved the father in a rupture with the court of France. Prince Henry had married a daughter of that crown, to which the omission of her coronation with her husband was in the highest degree offensive: the king of France entered the Norman territories of Henry in consequence, and it was not until that monarch had promised to supply the omission, and that the prince and princess should be together crowned by Becket, that either the French king or the primate were appeased. The ultimate issue of this circ.u.mstance, in the a.s.sa.s.sination of Becket, we have noticed in another part of this work. Hume remarks on the whole affair--"There prevailed in that age an opinion which was akin to its other superst.i.tions, that the royal unction was essential to the exercise of royal power. It was therefore natural both for the king of France, careful of his daughter's establishment, and for Becket, jealous of his own dignity, to demand in the treaty with Henry some satisfaction on this essential point[87]." The second coronation of the prince (in which his consort was duly a.s.sociated) took place Aug. 27th, 1172.

Nor did the calamitous consequences of this event thus terminate. It seems to have sown deeply the seeds of ambitious discord in the family of Henry. The young prince, after a visit to France with his consort, formally demanded of his father some substantial share of the royal power with whose insignia he had been invested. The intrigues and civil commotions that followed, it is not within our plan to detail; but the conduct of his different children, instigated by the example of this unworthy first-born, eventually brought the parent to his grave.

The coronation of RICHARD I., is the earliest upon which our historians dilate. It took place September 3, 1189, at Westminster; differing in no material point from the modern ceremony. The archbishop is said to have solemnly adjured the king at the altar, "not to a.s.sume the royal dignity unless he were resolved to keep the regal oath." An infamous outrage on the unoffending and oppressed race of the Jews closed the coronation day in London, and was followed by equally cruel treatment of them in several large towns. They seem on this occasion to have tempted the cupidity, by appealing to the generosity and humanity of the court.

Numbers of them came to the metropolis with presents for the young king, who forbade them, however, to appear at his coronation. In the evening a few of the richer Israelites endeavoured to pa.s.s into the hall of the palace; when they were repulsed, insulted, and pursued into the city. A report now spread that the king, regretting the unhallowed forbearance of his father toward this apostate race, had given orders for a general attack upon them. The populace quickly murdered the first that had appeared; they then attacked the houses of all the richer Jews, and after stripping them of every thing valuable, left them in flames. At York, five hundred of this hapless nation who had retired into the castle for protection, and eventually seized it from the governor, murdered their own wives and children, to prevent their falling into the hands of their enemies, and then despatched each other nearly to a man.

On the return of Richard from his romantic expedition to Jerusalem, in 1194, he is said to have been crowned a second time; "to put awaie, as it were, the reproofe of his captivitie[88]." A solemn council was held at Nottingham, to review the affairs of the kingdom, and the conduct of his brother John during the king's absence; the last or third day being occupied in discussing the question, whether it were necessary that the king should be crowned a second time; the king voted in the negative, but his peers and prelates were of the contrary opinion, and the ceremony was accordingly performed at Winchester, by Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury[89].

JOHN was declared by Richard, on his death-bed, to be his legitimate successor: but the people being divided between his claims and those of Arthur, his nephew, a great council was held at Northampton, in which the n.o.bles resolved unanimously on swearing fealty to him; and the coronation was ordered to take place at Westminster, 27th of May, 1199.

The primate introduced the ceremony by a speech intended to maintain the claim of John. He observed, that all his auditors well knew the crown to be elective, and could only be held by the unanimous agreement of the nation with regard to the personal merits of the wearer: that it was the gift of the people, who chose generally from the members of the reigning family the prince who appeared most deserving of that honour.

Such was the selection in the scriptural case of David, and others: and that having that day met to perform this important duty, they, on these principles, brought forward their future sovereign, John, earl of Montaigne, brother to the deceased king[90]. John, who was present, signified his concurrence with these sentiments; and a few days afterwards, (June 7) we find a law published from Northampton in which he a.s.serts, that 'G.o.d had given him the throne by hereditary right, through the unanimous consent and favour of the clergy and people[91].'

The friends of Arthur made a faint resistance to the claims of John, as duke of Normandy, but that unhappy prince, we know, soon met an untimely death, by the means, if not by the dagger of his uncle.

This prince, having procured a divorce, on the pretext of consanguinity, from a wife to whom he had been married twelve years, negociated a new marriage in 1200 with the princess of Portugal. Ere his overtures, however, could be answered, he was by accident diverted to another choice. Isabella, daughter of the count of Angouleme, was a celebrated beauty of the day, who had been publicly promised and privately espoused to Hugh, count of La Marche. But John, in one of his visits to Normandy, became enamoured of her: and the lady found the crown of her new lover an irresistible recommendation. The princess of Portugal was disappointed, the count de La Marche enraged, and all Europe surprised at the event, when the monarch conducted his bride in triumph to Westminster early in the month of October, and a.s.sembled his peers for her coronation, on the 8th of that month. Hoveden represents king John himself to have partaken of the benediction on the occasion: some writers state, that he was a second time crowned.

Soon after this event, we have a formal demand of feudal homage made by John on William king of Scotland, with which the latter promised promptly to comply. The two monarchs met at Lincoln, and, on an eminence near that city, in the presence of the a.s.sembled n.o.bles of both kingdoms, the king of Scotland swore fealty of life and limb to John--against all men, saving his own right. He, at the same time, is said to have acknowledged by a written doc.u.ment the feudal superiority of the English crown, to have engaged to keep the peace with its king and kingdom, and to have bound himself not to marry his son without the permission of John, as his liege lord[92]. But this is a little inconsistent with another recorded fact--rising from his knees, he explicitly demanded of John the restoration of the three counties of Northumberland, c.u.mberland and Westmoreland, as the heir of his grandfather David, from whom he alleged them to have been unjustly wrested in the wars of Matilda and Stephen. The kind of homage rendered by the Scottish princes to the English crown, in this and succeeding ages, was always proportioned to the strength or weakness of the respective governments, and was hardly construed to mean the same thing during two successive reigns. On the whole, this singular interview seems to have been consented to on the part of the wily Scot, princ.i.p.ally with a view to sound the dispositions of the new sovereign.

The profligate and pusillanimous John is well known to have exposed his own rights, and the liberties of his people, to all the evils of protracted civil wars, and foreign invasion. At the period of his decease, the capital and the southern counties were in the hands of Louis, king of France.

HENRY III., his son, had but just completed his tenth year when the t.i.tle of a king descended to him. But his youth and innocence conciliated that regard to his person, which the conduct of John had long estranged from himself; the claims of Louis were disowned by the holy see; and the more powerful of the barons saw an object worth contending for in the direction of the young king's affairs. Ten days after the death of his father, (October 28, 1218), he was brought in procession to the cathedral of Gloucester, and crowned by the papal legate Gualo, a.s.sisted by the bishops of Winchester, Exeter, and Bath.

It is remarked by the contemporary historians[93], that a plain circle of gold was used on this occasion in lieu of the crown, which had been lost with the other jewels and baggage of John in his pa.s.sage across the wash near Wisbech. A proclamation was next day issued, lamenting the dissensions that had existed between the king's father and his barons, and promising, on the part of Henry, to bury them in oblivion. By the same instrument he commanded the tenants of the crown forthwith to appear, and do him homage; and enjoined upon all persons appearing in public, to wear a white fillet round their heads during the ensuing month, in honour of his coronation.

Henry was crowned a second time, on the final deliverance of his kingdom from the French invaders, _i.e._ in May 1220; by Langton, archbishop of Canterbury:--"all the estates and subjects of his realme," meeting him at Westminster--"to the end; it might be said, that now after the extinguishment of all seditious factions, he was crowned by the general consent[94]."

At the late age of twenty-nine, a bride was provided for the young monarch: her father, who accompanied her to England, was only bishop elect of Valence; but the beauty of the queen seems in this case to have been the sovereign recommendation; and all the eloquence of the historian is exerted by Matthew Paris, in describing the ceremonies of her marriage and coronation. The n.o.bility of both s.e.xes, the clergy in their various orders, all the va.s.sals of the crown and the citizens are a.s.signed their several places and offices, with an amusing precision; nor does he forget the trumpet's clang, or the minstrel's pipe: the various banners that streamed in the procession; or the viands and wines of the banquet. Eleanor, the pride of the day, was a queen amongst beauties--the whole world, he says in conclusion, might be challenged to produce a spectacle equally glorious and enchanting.

This monarch rebuilt the whole of the abbey church at Westminster from its foundations; and was interred in the tomb out of which he had removed the bones of Edward the Confessor. At his funeral his successor was proclaimed by the earl of Gloucester; who, before the deceased king's body was covered, stept forward, and putting his hand upon it, swore fealty to the then absent prince.

EDWARD I., at this period returning to Europe from the Holy Land. He is said to have received the news of his father's death with those tears of sincere grief, which surprised some of his princely companions; and did not much appear to quicken his progress toward England. Being challenged to a tournament, by the count of Chalons, the exhortations of the reigning Pontiff could not induce him to forego the combat; he felt his honour, as the champion of the cross, at stake; and appeared in the lists at the appointed day, attended by a thousand knights. The trial of skill was converted into a deadly battle, in which the count seriously attempted the king's life; and out of which, the English only came victorious after a sanguinary conflict. Edward succeeded to the throne in November 1272; but did not arrive in England, until August 1274, when his first object was to receive, with his consort, Eleanor of Castile, the regal unction. He was crowned with this affectionate[95] companion of his crusade, at Westminster, on the 19th; Alexander, king of Scotland, being present, and doing homage as a va.s.sal of the English crown. Several of the orders for provisions required for the coronation feast, are preserved in Rymer, among which are, 380 head of cattle; 430 sheep, 450 pigs, 18 wild boars, 278 flitches of bacon; and 19,660 capons and fowls. Holinshed informs us, that there were five hundred horses "let go at libertie" on this occasion, "catch them that catch might." In Rymer we also read of a singular stipulation originally made by Richard I., that, whenever a king of Scotland should attend at the summons of the English king, to do homage, or service at his court, he should be attended, and provided for, by the bishop, sheriffs, and barons of each county, through which he came; 5_l._ per day being allowed for his expenses on the road, and 30_s._ per day so long as he remained at the English court, together with twenty-four loaves, four s.e.xterces of the best, and eight of inferior, wine, four wax tapers, forty better, and eighty inferior, candles, two pounds of pepper, and four pounds of cinnamon. At this time, it appears, the Scottish party received regularly the 5_l._ a day, and purchased their own provision: Alexander's whole disburs.e.m.e.nt was 175_l._

Edward, in the first year after his coronation, forbade the Jews to erect, or hold any synagogues in his dominions; to hold fiefs, or any free tenement; or to demand interest for the loan of money: at seven years of age they were to wear two pieces of woollen cloth, sown into their outward garment, and at twelve to be subject to a capitation tax of three pence, to be paid annually at Easter. Thus cut off from their ordinary modes of living, they had recourse to the clipping of money and other illegal modes of debasing the coin; and after trials, fines, and executions of the most oppressive and unjustifiable description, were finally banished the realm, A.D. 1290.

EDWARD II. ascended a throne that, by the energies of his father, had extended its sway over almost the whole island of Great Britain. At the period of his decease, Edward I. was prosecuting the conquest of Scotland, and left, according to Froissart, a solemn charge to his successor, "to have his body boiled in a large cauldron, until the flesh should be separated from the bones; that he would have the flesh buried and the bones preserved; and that every time the Scots should rebel against him, he would summon his people, and carry against them the bones of his father: for he believed most firmly, that as long as his bones should be carried against the Scots, those Scots should never be victorious[96]." The young prince first visited the court of France, and married Isabella, the French king's daughter; whom he brought to England with her two uncles, and a magnificent train of foreign n.o.bility, to partic.i.p.ate in the splendors of their joint coronation, which was celebrated at Westminster, February 25, 1308. It was well attended also by the English n.o.bility; but the king's marked preference for a personal favourite, (Piers Gaveston) was resented as a general insult. He appeared the sole dispenser of all the honours and favours of the day; for the promotion of his friends and dependents, the claims of inheritance and the precedents of former reigns were alike disregarded.

Three days afterwards, the barons met in the refectory of the monks, at Westminster, to pet.i.tion for the banishment of Gaveston, and thus began the unhappy differences between this monarch and his n.o.bles, which resulted in his final deposition.

This involved the singular circ.u.mstance of the barons formally withdrawing their homage. The favourites of the king, against whom they had armed, being slain,--a parliament was called by the queen Isabella, and _her_ paramour; which was opened by a long speech from the bishop of Hereford. He painted in strong terms the incapacity, and what he called the vindictive and treacherous disposition, of the king; and declared, that to liberate him from the confinement under which he was now placed, would be to expose to certain death, a princess, who, by her wisdom and courage, had been the salvation of the state. He, therefore, desired them to retire, and to consider, by the next morning, whether it were not better to deprive the father of the crown, and elect, forthwith, his son. On the following day this motion was carried by acclamation; the temporal peers, and many of the prelates, swore fealty at once to the young Edward: a bill of impeachment, containing six articles, was drawn up against the old king; and the reign of Edward of Carnarvon was declared to have terminated, and that of Edward of Windsor to have begun.

But the queen now affected great scruples and grief at these proceedings; declared her fears, that the parliament had exceeded its powers, and exhorted her son, it is said, to refuse the crown. On the ground of this delicacy of feeling, a deputation of both lords and commons was appointed to wait on the deposed monarch,--to give him notice of the election of his son; tender him back their homage, and "act as circ.u.mstances might suggest." Their measures are variously related by the partisans of the new and old king. They flattered and they threatened him; they exhorted him to show that greatness of mind, which could sacrifice a throne to the good of his people, and promised him an ample revenue and the indulgence of all his personal wishes, if he should freely resign the crown. At last he was brought, dressed in a plain black gown, into a room where the deputation had been arranged to receive him; and sir William Trussel, a judge, addressed him in these words: "I, William Trussel, procurator of the earls, barons, and others, having for this full and sufficient power, do render and give back to you Edward, once king of England, the homage and fealty of the persons named in my procuracy: and acquit and discharge them thereof, in the best manner that law and custom will give. And I now make protestation, in their name, that they will no longer be in your fealty, or allegiance, nor claim to hold any thing of you as king, but will account you, hereafter, as a private person, without any manner of royal dignity." Then sir Thomas Blount, the steward of the king's household, broke his staff of office, as is usual on the death of a king, and declared all persons once in his Majesty's service, to be discharged from their former duty.

On the return of the deputation, the new king was proclaimed in the metropolis by the heralds, in the following unprecedented form.

"Whereas, sir Edward, late king of England, of his own good will, and with the common advice and a.s.sent of the prelates, earls, barons, and other n.o.bles, and all the commonalty of the realm, hath put himself out of the government of the realm, and has granted and willed that the government of the said realm should come to sir Edward, his eldest son and heir, and that _he_ should govern the kingdom, and be crowned king, on which account all the lords have done him homage; we cry and publish the peace of our said lord, sir Edward, the son, and on his part strictly command and enjoin under pain and peril of disherison and loss of life and member, that no one break the peace of our said lord the king. For he is, and will be ready to do justice to all and each of the said kingdom, both to the little and the great, in all things and against all men. And if any one have a claim against another, let him proceed by way of action, and not by violence or force."

At the coronation, February 1st, 1327, a similar a.s.sertion of the late king having resigned by his free-will, and with the consent of parliament, was made. The medal distributed during the ceremony, represented the son resting his sceptre on the heart of his people, within the motto, "Populo dat jura volenti;" having on the reverse a hand receiving a fallen crown, with the inscription, "Non rapit, sed recipit." The best comment on the "free-will" of the deposed monarch, appeared in his being murdered by the queen's party, in the course of the year following.

EDWARD III. married Philippa of Hainault, in 1327, on which occasion she was crowned at Westminster. She bore the king a son, the celebrated Edward the Black Prince, before he had reached his 19th year.

RICHARD II. succeeded his grandfather in 1377, being then in his eleventh year; and no coronation in our annals was more magnificent.

The Liber Regalis, still preserved at Westminster, contains the ritual used on this occasion, and a record of the proceedings of the Court of Claims is also extant[97].

On the day after the death of Edward, this prince entered London in great state: triumphal arches were erected, conduits ran with wine, and the usual pageants of the coronation procession were displayed in the streets. Walsingham mentions in particular a turreted building, erected in the market of Cheap, out of which ran streams of wine, and at the angles of which, on the top, four young maidens of the age of the king were placed, dressed in white. On the approach of the sovereign, shreds of gold leaf were blown to him, and florins _of paper_ were showered on his head!--such was what at this time was regarded as the "superior ingenuity of the merchants of Cheapside."

The progress through the city on the day preceding the coronation, (15th of July, 1377) was similarly distinguished. The king dined at the Tower, from which he came forth dressed in white garments, and placed himself under the escort of the mayor and citizens, who conducted him to his palace at Westminster. On the following morning he rose early, and, having received ma.s.s in his private chapel, came down into the great hall "arraid in the fairest vestments, and with buskins only upon his feet." The procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey, was now marshalled in the usual order. While the litany was chanted the young prince lay prostrate before the altar, whence he was conducted to his throne on a platform in the centre of the nave. The entire ceremony of the coronation so much exhausted him, that he was borne back to the palace in a litter carried by knights. He soon, however, appeared at the banquet, where he created four earls and nine knights, and partook of a splendid though turbulent repast. The next morning a council of regency was formed, to exercise the royal authority, during the minority of the king. It is remarkable, that in the first parliament of this monarch's reign, we find the archbishop of Canterbury recommending the young king to the affection of his subjects, because he was not an elected sovereign, but the true heir and representative of their former kings[98].

On the 22d of January, 1382, this monarch espoused Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the late emperor Charles IV., and sister of Winceslaus, king of the Romans. As usual, she was crowned at the same period; and is said so entirely to have possessed, during the twelve years of her union with him, the affections of her husband and his people, as to be long remembered among the latter by the t.i.tle of the good Queen Anne.

The tragic close of this prince's reign will never be forgotten while

---- ----"The hallowed crown Shall round the mortal temples of a king,"

or Shakspeare's celebrated "Richard II." be extant. The march of his successor, Bolingbroke, from Ravenspur to London, and the rapid increase of his followers from twenty men to sixty thousand, his peaceful entry into the metropolis, and ultimate possession of the kingdom, without striking a blow, have only been exceeded, in modern times, by the celebrated march of Napoleon from Cannes to Paris.

HENRY IV. challenged the crown partly by right of conquest[99]. In his coronation, which took place on the 13th of Oct. 1399, he caused the sword which he wore when he landed at Ravenspur to be carried naked, on his left hand, by the earl of Northumberland. Froissart's description of "the progress" of this monarch we have before noticed.

Of HENRY V., Holinshed says, "This kyng, this man, was he whiche, (accordyng to the old proverbe) declared and shewed that honour ought to change maners: for incontinent after that he was stalled in the siege royall, and had received the crowne and sceptre of this famous and fortunate region, [he] determined with hymself to put on the shape of a new man, and to use another sorte of livyng, turning insolence and wildnesse into gravitie and sobernes, and wavering vice into constant virtue." It was this prince, our readers will recollect, who, while "the immediate heir of England," was committed into custody by the Lord Chief Justice, for disturbing the court in which he sat as judge, and who afterwards, when king, so n.o.bly commended that officer's conduct.

Shakspeare has a similar train of thought with the old chronicler.

----"Princes all, believe me, I beseech you, My father is gone wild into his grave; For in his tomb lie my affections; And with his spirit sadly I survive, To mock the expectations of the world, To frustrate prophecies, and to raze out Rotten opinion, which hath writ me down After my seeming. Though my tide of blood Hath proudly flowed in vanity till now; Now doth it turn and ebb unto the sea, Where it shall mingle with the state of flood, And flow henceforth in formal majesty[100]."

Fabian gives a splendid account of the coronation of Katherine, the queen of Henry V. "upon whose ryght hande satte at the ende of the same table the archebyshop of Cauntorbury, and Henrye, surnamed the ryche cardynall of Wynchester. And vppon the lefte hande of the quene satte the Kynge of Scottes in hys estate, the wyche was served wythe covered messe, like vnto the forenamed byshoppes, but after them." "And ye shall vnderstande, that this feaste was al of _fyshe_." Each course had its "sotyltye," however, embodying the wit of other parts of the creation; as "a pellycane syttyng on his nest with her byrdes, and an ymage of saynte Katheryne holdyng a boke and disputyng with the doctoures, holdyng a reason in her ryghte hande, saiynge: 'Madame le roigne' and the pellycan as an answere, 'Ce est la signe et du roy, partenir joy, et a tout sa gent, elle mete sa entent,'--a sotyltye named a panter with an ymage of saynte Katheryne with a whele in her hande, and a rolle wyth a reason in that other hande, sayeng: 'La royne ma file, in ceste ile, per bon reson, aves renoun.'" &c.

HENRY VI. had the high honour of being solemnly crowned as king, both at London and in Paris--"in infant bands." In the ninth year of his age "he was leyde upon the high scaffold" in Westminster Abbey, "and that was covered all with red soy between the high autere and the quere. And he was set in his astate in the middes of the scaffold there, beholdynge the people all abowte sadly and wisely." The archbishop "made a proclamacion on the iiij quarters of the scaffolde, seyend in this wyse: Sirs, heere comyth Henry, kyng Henryes sone the Vth, on whos sowle G.o.d have mercy, amen. He homblyth hym to G.o.d and to holy cherche, askynge the crowne of this reame by right and defence of herytage; if ye hold ye pays with hym, say ya, and hold up handes. And than all the people cryed with oon voyce, Ye, ye. Having been crowned, he rose vp ayen and wente to the shryne; and there was he dyspoyled of all his bysshopp's gere, and arayd as a kynge in rich cloth of gold, with a crowne on his hede; which crown the kyng dyd doo make for hymself[101]." The following account of the appearance of the champion at the coronation feast, will show the antiquity of the present observances. "Settynge at the mete the kyng kept his astate; and on the right hand sat the cardynall with a lower astate, and on the left hande satt the chaunceler and a bysshop of Fraunce, and no mob at that table. And on the righth hand of the table at that boord sat the barons of the V. portes. And so forth the clerkes of the same chauncery. And on the lefte hande of the hall sat the mayre of London with the aldyrmen. And so forth worthy cominers: and in the myddes of the hall sat the bisshoppes, justices, and worthy knyghts and equyers. And so they filled bothe the midde boordes of the hall. And upon a scaffold stoode the kynges herawdes of armes all the tyme with crownes on thyr hedes; and at the fyrst cours they came down from her scaffold, and they wente before the kynges champyon Sir Phelip Dymok that rode in the hall bright as saynte George! And he proclaimed in the iiij quarters of the hall that the kyng was a rightfull kyng and heyre to the crowne of Engelond: and what maner man that wyll say the contrary he was redy to defende it as hys knyght and hys chaumpion, for by that offyce he holdith his lande[102]."

At Paris, in his eleventh year, this prince was "honourably accompanied to the church of our Lady, where he was anointed and crowned by the cardinal bishop of Winchester, after which he departed to the palace, having one crown on his head, and another borne before him." "But what should I speake," continues Grafton, "of the honorable service, the dayntie dishes, the pleasant conceytes, the costly wynes, the sweet armony, the musicall instruments which were seene and shewed at that feast, sithe all men may conjecture, that nothing was omitted that might be bought for golde, nor nothing was forgotten, that by man's wyt could be invented[103]."

Our fourth EDWARD, like John, affected an elective right to the crown.

What is now called the Recognition, being at this period what Burnet terms, "a rite of an election, rather than a ceremony of investing one, who was already king." "A question was asked of the people then present," says Fabian, "if they would admitte hym for their kyng and soveraigne lorde, the which with one voice cried Yea, yea."

RICHARD III. and his consort Anne, were crowned with great state at Westminster, 6th of July, 1483; there being an unusual concourse of n.o.bility at this festival, according to Walpole, including three d.u.c.h.esses of Norfolk. Some preparations seem also to have been made for the appearance of his deposed nephew, Edward V., in the procession, but whether he in reality wore his "apparel and array" there, will ever remain, among "Historic Doubts." The circ.u.mstance of such an arrangement being publicly made, however, demonstrates the confidence of Richard in his own t.i.tle. Lord Orford, who first brought forward the evidence of this singular arrangement, says, "Though Richard's son did not walk at his father's coronation, Edward V. probably did. I conceive all the astonishment of my readers at this a.s.sertion, and yet it is founded on strongly presumptive evidence. In the coronation roll itself, is this amazing entry: 'To lord Edward, son of late king Edward IV., for his apparel and array, that is to say, a short gowne made of two yards and three quarters of crymsyn clothe of gold, lined with two yards and three quarters of blac velvet, a long gowne made of six yards of crymsyn cloth of gold, lynned with six yards of green damask, a shorte gowne made of two yards and three quarters of purpell velvet, &c.' Let n.o.body tell me that these robes, this magnificence, these trappings for a cavalcade, were for the use of a prisoner. Marvellous as the fact is, there can be no doubt but the deposed young king walked, or it was intended should walk, at his uncle's coronation[104]."

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Coronation Anecdotes Part 7 summary

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