The Coronation of Elizabeth I, 15th January 1559

15 January 2011

The new Queen of England was just twenty five years old and had survived bastardy, calumny, plots and accusations of treason while deftly navigating through the many and various iniquities and dangers of the Tudor court.

One of her finest biographers, Professor Neale, described her triumphant and moving Coronation procession through the snow covered streets of London on a rich purple carpet that the people cut apart to take as souvenirs as soon as she had passed thus:

Rich banners and streamers waved from windows, and everywhere people crowded, some of whom, their patience inexhaustible, had been waiting for hours in their places. Well were they rewarded; and not by a spectacle only, but by a hundred little touches that stirred their loyalty and set them talking afterwards in tavern and home, reconstructing the day’s epic and inflaming their hearers with their own affection. At one place an old man turned his back and wept. ‘I warrant you it is for gladness!’ exclaimed Elizabeth; and so in very deed it was.

Another time she was seen to smile, and being asked the reason, answered that she had heard someone say, ‘Remember old King Henry VIII.’ Many a simple body moved forward to speak to her, for whom she stayed her litter. She accepted untold nosegays at poor women’s hands, and it was noticed that a branch of rosemary, given with a supplication by a poor woman near Fleet Bridge, was in her litter when she reached Westminster.”