Edward VI Coronation Procession

Edward VI Coronation Procession

The topic of this entry stemmed from a visit to Cowdray Park in the summer of 2012 which sparked my interest in the property (more on that in a future blog entry).  Sensing my fascination, my husband purchased a book for me as a gift titled, Cowdray: the history of a great English House …With illustrations, etc. by Julia Roundell.  While reading the book, there was a brief mention of Anthony Browne, 7th Viscount Montague giving permission for several of the murals that adorned the “parlour” to be copied.  Specific mention was of the one depicting the coronation of Edward VI.*  That triggered a connection to the painted screen of that very subject that was at Kentwell Castle—another property visited in the summer of 2012.  The quest began to discover whether they were one and the same.  I contacted Kentwell and heard from Patrick Phillips.  The emails are recreated below.

On 19 Dec 2012, at 18:23

I recently read a book about Cowdray by J. Roundell in which it was stated >that permission had been granted for an artist to duplicate the piece of art >of Edward VI coronation.  Was wondering if that was the basis for the >lovely screens at Kentwell.  Not sure if the Cowdray piece was a framed >art work or a mural but it did get me wondering. Any information would be >appreciated. Thank you.

Date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 10:12 PM

>Yes our screens came from Cowdray Park.Originally there were six early >murals in the main hall in Tudor Cowdray Park. The then owner of the >Hall allowed engravings of one of the six, namely the Coronation >Procession of Edward VI, to be engraved from tracings made by >S.H.Grimm and the engraving was published in 1788.  It is this engraving that you may find illustrated in books on Edward VI’s reign.
>Unfortunately,  Cowdray Park itself was destroyed by fire in 1793 and all >trace of the original murals was lost. These painted leather screens derive >from the engraving and (possibly) also the tracings. >Regards >PP

Talk about serendipity!  Not much more was needed to influence me to investigate the coronation procession of Edward VI and the other events associated with the celebrations.

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The coronation procession of Edward VI depicted on screens displayed at Kentwell.  Copies of the murals from Cowdray were reproduced luckily before fire destroyed the originals.

There are varied claims as to where Edward and Elizabeth were at the time their father’s death was announced to them.  Two things are consistently shown:  the children were together and their reaction was sorrowful. Hayward poetically relayed that “Never was sorrow more sweetly set forth, their faces seeming rather to beautify their sorrow, than their sorrow to cloud the beauty of their faces” (Tytler 17).

Although this blogger agrees that Edward was most likely at Hertford Castle and moved to Enfield where Elizabeth was staying, below is a sampling of accounts of the children’s whereabouts.

Linda Porter claims that Edward was living with Elizabeth at the time of Henry’s death at Hertford Castle and they both heard the news together three days after the king’s death.  The next day, February 1st, after the reading of the will to the Privy Council on 31 January, Edward VI returned to The Tower of London prior to his coronation” (Porter 278).

Sir James Mackintosh reported that the “young prince, who was at the royal mansion of Hatfield at the time of his father’s death, was brought thence in regal state, and proclaimed king of England.  His proclamation took place when he was nine years and about three months old” (Mackintosh 136).

Jasper Ridley says that Edward was taken from Hertford, the Lord Protector’s house, to Hatfield where Elizabeth was to tell them both at once.          hertford

Hertford Castle

Christopher Hibbert says that Edward was at Ashridge at the time and they thought it would be easier to tell him if he was with his sister so they took him to Enfield to break the news to the two of them in the Presence Chamber there (Hibbert 28).

Patrick Tytler confirms contemporary sources reporting that Edward Seymour and Anthony Brown (of Cowdray), went to Hertford to convey the boy to Enfield, “and there they first declared to him and the Lady Elizabeth the death of Henry their father” (Tytler 56).

David Starkey claims that Edward was at Hertford Castle when his uncle, Edward Seymour, arrived.  Instead of telling him of his father’s death, he was told he was going to London for his investiture as Prince of Wales and they would stop at Enfield where Elizabeth was staying.  They were told of their father’s death there” (Starkey 59).

  enfield

Drawing of Enfield Palace

In a letter to the Council on 30 January Edward Seymour relays, “We intend the King’s majesty shall be a-horse-back tomorrow by xi of the clock, so that by iii we trust his Grace shall be at the Tower…. “From Enwild [Enfield] this Sunday night, at xi of the clock” (Tytler 18).

Edward VI reveals in his diary that he and his sister Elizabeth learnt of their father Henry VIII’s death from his uncle Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, at Elizabeth’s Enfield residence on 30 January 1547 (Edward VI). His diary describes the grief experienced in London at the news of the death of Henry VIII but does not reveal his own feelings.  He describes the Privy Council’s choice of Edward Seymour as Protector and Governor of the King’s Person and mentions how his father’s officers broke their staffs and threw them into Henry’s grave at his burial.

It is difficult to tell from the diary if these are Edward’s own thoughts.  He may have written the diary at the urging of one of his tutors and the entries from 1547 – 1549 are simply a chronology of events that refers to Edward in the third person.  Many historians wonder if the entries were even completed by Edward. From March 1550 until November 1552, when it ends, it is more like a diary, with entries for individual days.

Historian James Mackintosh was less impressed with Edward’s scholarship as he proclaimed that his essays and letters, “might have been corrected or dictated by his preceptors” But he does acknowledge that “perhaps, somewhat brief and dry for so young an author; but the adoption of such a plan, and the accuracy with which it is written, bear marks of a pure taste and of a considerate mind” (Mackintosh 138).

edwarddiary

A page from the diary of Edward VI.  Below is a transcription of the entry.

After the death of King Henry th’eight his son Edward prince of Wales was come to at Hartford by th’erle of Hartford and S[ir] Anthony Brown Master of t’horse for whom befor was made great preparation that he might be created Prince of Wales, and after ward was brought to Enfield whear the death of his Father was first shewed him, and the same day the death of his father was shewed in London, wher was great lamentation and weping and sodenly he proclaimed King. The next day, being the _ of _ he was brought to the Towre of London whear he taried the space of three wikes… (Edward VI).  Those three weeks were spent in preparation for Henry VII’s funeral and Edward’s coronation. 57197_764549

Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth Regina, 1597, Art Institute of Chicago  The procession left the Tower of London for the Palace of Westminster about one o’clock in the afternoon of 19 February.  This was the chance for his subjects to see the new king. Edward was on horseback dressed in a gown of gold cloth with a sable-lined cloak. The clothing he wore underneath was embellished with “rubies, diamonds, and pearls arranged in lovers’ knots” (Loach 32).

Along the route near the Tower “stood members of the craftsmen’s guilds, and, on the other side of the road, priests and clerks in holy orders” stood. Houses were decked out in tapestries and banners “as Richely as might be Devysed” (Loach 33).

Making up the procession preceding the King were his messengers, gentlemen, servants of foreign ambassadors and heralds.  There followed chaplains, knights, the sons of various nobles and barons arranged by their degree. The bishops, the sons of earls, marquesses and dukes were followed by their fathers the earls, marquesses and dukes.  Those closest to the king were his Household Officers. Riding literally beside the king were the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour, the Lord Admiral, John Dudley and the King’s Master of the Horse, Sir Anthony Browne (of Cowdray).  The entire scene was depicted in a mural at Cowdray House, Sir Anthony’s home.  “Surviving only now as an eighteenth-century drawing, the procession makes its way through the winding narrow streets, stretching out across the entire length of the city”  (Skidmore 57).  Bringing up the rear were the servants of the noblemen and gentlemen. ed coronation procesisonb

Coronation procession of Edward VI in watercolor.  A copy of the original that is now lost

The pageants performed along the route were not rehearsed enough to run smoothly but that did not matter.  Their purpose was to present the imagery that “reflected a world of allegorical meaning closely pondered upon by Tudor contemporaries” (Skidmore 58). Sources tell us that Edward favored the tight rope walker and when at one stop along the route, he was presented with £1,000** in gold coins he asked, “Why do they give me this?” (Skidmore 58). A charming story and one that reiterates how very young Edward was. edward coronation processione flip it

Close-up picture of the coronation procession.

By the time Edward had reached Westminster it was six o’clock and the procession had lasted about four hours. No elaborate ceremonies or celebrations were held that evening and notice was given to all noblemen to “be at Westminster in their best array by seven the next morning” (Skidmore 59).

On 20 February, Edward entered Westminster Abbey to be crowned.  Some concessions were made to the ceremony to the age of the king so it would not make him “weary and be a hurtsome peradventure to the Kinges Majestie being yet of tender age fully to endure and bide owte” (Loach 35).  There were points within the ceremony in which he could rest and he was carried in a chair for part of the procession within the Abbey.  The ceremony itself was shrunk to accommodate the King’s young age.  The celebrations for Edward lasted seven hours when typically they lasted about twelve.

The consecration was not curtailed much though and followed the Liber Regalis*** a “formula that had been used on every such occasion since 1375” and was conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer (Meyer 328).  For the first time, an English king would not pledge allegiance to Rome as he would become the head of the Church within the framework of the Protestant service.   Dale Hoak has pointed out the revisions made by Cranmer to the coronation service were for the “unprecedented advent of a protestant supremacy” (Hunt 84). The changes shifted the relationship between of the king and his people and the king and his nobles.

liber regaliac

Illustrated page of the Liber Regalis

After the nobles pledged allegiance to Edward, the events moved to Westminster for the celebratory banquet in Westminster Hall.  When the Champion, Edward Dymoke, threw down the gauntlet challenging combat to anyone questioning Edward’s right to rule, it certainly pleased the king as this episode is “described in more detail than anything else in Edward’s own account of the dinner” (Loach 38).  The rituals surrounding the banquet may not have been too appealing for a young boy. Edward’s entry in his diary is bare-boned.  He recorded that he sat with his uncle and the Archbishop “with the crown on his head” (Skidmore 63).

Liber Regalisa

liber regaliaB

Liber Regalis showing the crowning of a king and a queen.

Edward’s half-sister did not participate in any of the coronation celebrations.  Elizabeth was away from Court under the care of Katherine Parr. We are told she was “subdued and depressed, remained with her stepmother” (Perry 40).  The closeness the siblings had shared at one time could not be recreated. At one point Edward wrote to Elizabeth when their households were separated that “change of place did not vex me so much, dearest sister, as your going from me. “Now there is nothing pleasanter than a letter from you … It is some comfort in my grief that my chamberlain tells me I may hope to visit you soon (if nothing happens to either of us in the meantime).  Farewell dearest sister” (Hibbert 28).

Now not only was the age difference more than likely beginning to make a difference, Edward’s new responsibilities and the deference due to him as king altered their relationship.  We do have the charming story of them exchanging portraits shortly before their father’s death. Elizabeth wrote a letter to accompany the delivery of the painting.  “I most humbly beseech your Majestry that when you shall look on my picture you will vouchsafe to think that you may have but the outward shadow of the body before you, so my inward mind wischeth that the body itself were oftener in your presence…” (Perry 43).

elizabeth 1 by scrouts

This famous painting of Elizabeth is attributed to Guillim Scrots and identified as the painting mentioned in the above letter–both statements are in dispute. 

download Edward as Prince of Wales attributed to Guillim Scrots.  Karen Hearn states that dendrochronological evidence shows that these two paintings may have been done on panels from the same tree (Hearn 50).  The background shows Hunsdon House where Edward and Elizabeth spent much time together as children.  When Elizabeth Regina inherited the house on her accession she made her cousin, Henry Carey, First Baron of Hunsdon and gave him the property.

 Notes

*Brussels, 9th September 1785,

Mr. Newman,–Mr. Astle of the Socieity of Antiquaries will write you a Letter by a Person I have given leave to take a Copy of the procession of Edward the Sixth in the parlour at Cowdray, and I desire you will let hime have every Convenience for that purpose, but he is not to take any other Copies of paintings in the House without applying to me: in haste.—Yours, &c.,

MONTAGUE (Roundell, 97).

**The equivalent of £1,000 in 1547 would be worth £455,000 in 2010 currency of the retail price index. This was calculated using the website, Measuring Worth.com.

***The essential elements of the coronation service used in modern times can be traced back to the crowning of King Edgar at Bath in 973. That tenth-century liturgy, drawn up by St Dunstan, underwent various adaptations in the early middle ages. Around 1382, probably in preparation for the crowning of Anne of Bohemia (Richard II’s consort), a new fine copy of the order of service was made. This illuminated manuscript, known as the Liber Regalis, is one of the great treasures of the Abbey’s library. It provided the order of service for all subsequent coronations up to, and including, that of Elizabeth I. For the coronation of James I the liturgy was translated into English. Nevertheless, with occasional adaptations to suit the political and religious circumstances of the time, the Liber Regalis remained the basis for all later coronation liturgies (“History”).

References

Edward VI. “Edward VI’s Diary.” Edward VI’s Diary. British Library, Learning Timelines:  Sources from History, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Frye, Susan.  Elizabeth I:  The Competition for Representation. Oxford:  Oxford Univseity Press. 1993. Print.

Hearn, Karen. ed.  Dynasties:  Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630.  New York: Rizzoli. 1995. Print.

Hibbert, Christopher.  The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age.  New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1991.  Print.

“History.” Guide to the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Hunt, Alice. The Drama of Coronation: Medieval Ceremony in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2008. Google Books. Web. 26 Apr. 2013.

Levin, Carole.  The Heart and Stomach of a King:  Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1994. Print.

Loach, Jennifer, Penry Williams, and George Bernard. Edward VI. New Haven: Yale UP, 1999. Google Books. Web. 26 Apr. 2013.

Mackintosh, James, and R. J. Mackintosh. The History of England: From the Earliest times to the Final Establishment of the Reformation. Vol. 2. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1853. Google Books. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

Meyer, G. J. The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty.  New York:  Delacorte Press. 2010. Print.

Perry, Maria.  The Word of a Prince: A Life of Elizabeth from Contemporary Documents.  Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1990.  Print.

Porter, Linda.  Katherine the Queen:  The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr.  London:  McMillian, 2010. Print.

Ridley, Jasper. Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue.  New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation, 1989.  Print.

Roundel, Julia. Cowdray: the history of a great English House …With illustrations, etc.  London: ballantyne, Hanson and Co., 1884. Print.

Skidmore, Chris. Edward VI: The Lost King of England. New York: St. Martin’s, 2007. Google Books. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.

Starkey, David.  Elizabeth:  The Struggle for the Throne. New York:  HarperCollins Publishers. 2001. Print

Tytler, Patrick Fraser. England under the Reigns of Edward VI and Mary: With the Contemporary History of Europe, Illustrated in a Series of Original Letters Never before Printed; with Historical Introductions and Biographical and Critical Notes. London: Bentley, 1839. Google Books. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

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Rest in Peace

It is not the purpose here to debate whether or not a person can be completely prepared for death when it comes.  Each person’s preparation must be unique and based on his or her views and life-choices.  This preparation is most often done in private, but what if the person is a public figure—a sovereign? Now the natural process of death becomes a public experience. The deaths of both Henry VII and Elizabeth Regina were witnessed by a multiple people and recorded as part of the historic chronicle.  Their foibles and quirks exposed and also their immense courage.

h7 death mask   e1 death mask

Death mask of Henry VII                Replica death mask of Elizabeth I

Henry VII’s health was never robust and after he suffered the deaths of his son Arthur and his Queen, Elizabeth of York, in childbirth along with the baby he became more delicate and more frequently experienced bouts of ill-health.  The Spanish ambassador, Pedro de Ayala, declared in a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella that “the king looks old for his years, but young for the sorrowful life he has led” (Bergenroth 178).

Pedro de Ayala

Pedro de Ayala, Spanish Ambassador

In early March of 1509 Henry became unwell at Hanworth, about six miles from Richmond to where he ordered the Court to move.  By early April he was unable to eat and struggled for breath.  Some historians believe he suffered from quinsy, complications to tonsillitis.  Henry “lay amid mounds of pillows, cushions and bolsters” throughout the month of April (Penn 339).

Henry’s deathbed illness is not well-documented by narrative although we know several men who attended based on the scene depicted by Garter Herald Thomas Wroithesly.  There are 14 figures placed around the bed with three doctors identified by occupation by the flasks in their hands including Giovanni Battista Boerio and two clerics, including Thomas Wosley. The other nine had their coats-of-arms painted above their heads; they were Bishop Richard Fox, Lord George Hastings, Richard Weston, Richard Clement, Sir Matthew Baker, John Sharp, William Tyler, Hugh Denys and William Fitzwilliam.

henry 7 death bed

Henry VII on his death bed

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Henry’s eyes being closed by Fitzwilliam 

Henry lingered for some days until “having lived two and fifty years, and thereof reigned three and twenty years, and eight months, being in perfect memory, and in a most blessed mind, in a great calm of a consuming sickness passed to a better world, the two and twentieth of April 1509, at his palace of Richmond, which himself had built” (Bacon and Lumby 211).  Most of his Court was residing there and upon his death ministers went to great lengths (those maneuverings could fill another blog entry) to keep his death secret or at least unannounced, as they worked to decide who should control the realm.  Although the transfer of power was not immediate or completely smooth, enough preparations were in place for councilors to solidify their positions and to rally around the 17-year-old Henry VIII, securing the Tudor dynasty. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, assured the kingdom that Henry had handed over the throne to his son by  “wisely consyderynge this noble prynce ordred hymselfe therafter, let call for his sone the kynge that now is our governour. He called unto hym and gave hym faderly and godly exhortacion, commyttynge unto him the laborious governaunce of this realme…” (Fisher 285-86).

Henry’s will was published, luckily, in 1775 by Thomas Astle as the original is severely damaged. Only a small section of it remains.  The will is dated for March 31, 1509, three weeks before the King’s death. Scholars are sure that the will was written in real-time as the place, location and the date were written continuously with the main body of the text indicating that they were not placed in separately (Condon 107).

henry VII will 001

Fragment of the Will of Henry VII

will-of-king-henry

 Published in 1775 by Thomas Astle

The document “captures the king’s authentic voice” and the overall tone is one of contrition and remorse”  (Condon 103).  Henry VII greatly repented during his final days. Some observers wondered if he felt remorse at the stringent economic measures that were instituted during his rule. Henry requested that his Executors listen to complaints “And in caas by suche examinacion it can be founde, that the complaint be made of a grounded cause … we wol then that as the caas shall require, he and thei bee restored and recompensed by our said Executours, of such our redy money and juelx as then shall remayne…” (Henry VII 12).  Here was a man conscious of the financial hardships he imposed on many of his subjects.

Perhaps, as his life drew to a close, he realized money was not the answer to all life’s questions or he was fearful of eternal punishment.  Whichever reason, he wanted to ensure that “also if any psone of what degree foevir he bee, shewe by way of complainte to our Executours, any wrong to have been doon to hym, by us, oure commaundement, occasion or meane, or that we helde any goodes or lands which of right ought to apperteigne unto hym; we wol that every such complainte, be spedely, tenderly and effectually herde, and the matier duely and indifferently examyned…” (Henry VII 11).

Besides the King’s preoccupation with righting possible wrongs, the other main provisions of his will were to complete the Lady Chapel, build the Savoy hospital and complete King’s College, Cambridge.  Added were the stipulation for alms to be given between the time of his death and burial…” (Condon 104).  Contemporaries believed that he was “a great almsgiver in secret; which shewed, that his works in public were dedicated rather to God’s glory than his own” (Bacon and Lumby 212).  Furthermore, he gained praise for granting a general pardon for less Earthly rewards “expecting a second coronation in a better kingdom” (Bacon and Lumby 211).  To ensure he covered all his bases, Henry stipulated for a “continual and continued edifice of prayer” for his soul (Condon 104).

chapel alms for h7    chapel prayer 001

Illustrated document (and enlargement) of Henry VII requesting prayers and giving alms for the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey

Edward Hall was confident that, because of Henry’s “noble acts and prudent policies”, when he died “he has the sure fruition of the godhead, and the joy that is prepared for such as shall sit on the right hand of our savior, for ever world without end” (Loades 97). Although as previously mentioned, Henry appeared repentant, perhaps he was fearful of final judgment for evidence of his religious devotion in his final days included hearing several Masses a day and taking the sacrament when “he was of that feblenes that he might not receive it again”, saying confession and kissing the crucifix “not the selfe place where the blessed body of our lorde was conteyned, but the lowest parte of the fote of the monstraunt, that all that stode aboute hym scarsly might conteyn them from teres and wepyng” (Fisher 274).

Henry’s concern was reflected in the Reverend John Fisher’s funeral sermon in which he claimed that, while awaiting his death, Henry “was not without drede” in the face of God’s judgment even though he received “sacraments of crystes chyrche whiche with full grete devocyon…” (Fisher 277).

john fisher

Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher                      

After his death 22 April, the ex-king’s body was laid in state at Richmond until 9 May when it was taken by barge as far as London Bridge.  From here the casket was processed, in a carriage drawn by horses draped in black velvet, to St. Paul’s Cathedral on 10 May.  Atop the coffin was a life-sized effigy worked from Henry’s death mask and draped in parliamentary robes with the scepter and orb.  Heraldic banners and flags displaying Henry’s titles and dominions decorated the hearse and route.  Inside St. Paul’s, the coffin was laid at the high altar where a Mass for the dead was sung and a vigil kept throughout the night.  The funeral service was held on 11 May with the sermon given by Bishop Fisher.  Margaret Beaufort, Henry’s mother, was so pleased with the sermon she ordered it to be printed and distributed around the country.

From St. Paul’s the body was again taken in procession, this time to Westminster Abbey for burial to join Queen Elizabeth of York who was already laid to rest there.  Several more Masses were sung with the requiem led by Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham.  Once the services were completed, the body was interred at Henry’s stipulation “in the Chapell where our said graunt Dame laye buried, the which Chapell we have begoune to buylde of newe, in the honour of our blessed Lady” (Henry VII 4).  The ex-king’s household officers broke their staves of office and threw them in the tomb before it was sealed.

williamwarham

William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury

Posthumous reflections stressed the final days of Henry’s life when he showed remorse for some of his administrative policies.  Bishop Fisher revealed that worldly pleasures brought Henry unease that “al his goodly houses so rychely dekte & appareyled, his walles & galaryes of grete pleasure, his gardyns large … were paynfull to hym” (Fisher 278).  Not to be outdone, Bacon let us know that he was “born at Pembroke castle, and lieth buried at Westminster, in one of the stateliest and daintiest monuments of Europe, both for the chapel, and for the sepulcher.  So that he dwelleth more richly dead, in the monument of his tomb, than he did alive in Richmond, or any of his palaces” (Bacon and Lumby 221).

Richmond 1562

Richmond Palace 1562

Founding the Lady Chapel had been an ambition of Henry VII for some time.  His last will and testament is the central text for the creation of the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey (what is now referred to as Henry VII Chapel).  For a detailed explanation of the creation and building of the chapel please refer to the text, Westminster Abbey: The Lady Chapel of Henry VII edited by T. W. T. Tatton-Brown and Richard Mortimer.

henry 7 chapel exterior

Exterior of the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey, known as the Henry VII Chapel

From the onset, there was going to be no doubt who was the benefactor of the building of the Chapel; starting at the gates the King’s arms, badges, emblems would be shown and repeated throughout the chapel (Condon 64). Pietro Torrigiano was commissioned in 1512 to create Henry VII’s tomb. Seven years later the chapel was completed.

henry 7 chapel celing

Fan-vaulted ceiling of the Henry VII Chapel

His tomb was in the place of honor as his will decreed “And we wol that our Towmbe bee in the myddes of the same Chapell, before the High Aultier…” (Henry VII 4).  Yet, despite imploring his Executors to “full and entrie perfourmyng and executing of this our present Wille, and every thing conteyned in the same,” the tomb was moved to the side (Henry VII 27).  Henry VIII moved it behind the altar, “reserving the more prominent space for his own tomb…” (Penn 377).

henry 7 chapel tomb     henry 7 tomb

Tomb of Henry VII & Elizabeth of York, placed behind the altar rather than in the middle to allow space for the monument of Henry VIII

As things in life do happen, Henry VII’s son was not buried at Westminster in the carefully planned testimonial to the Tudor dynasty but his granddaughter, Elizabeth Regina, famously was.

Like her grandfather, Elizabeth grew depressed after the deaths of several people close to her: the Earl of Essex’s execution was a severe blow; the deaths of several of her women, Lady Peyton, Lady Skolt, Lady Heyward and in late February 1603 her cousin Katherine, Countess of Nottingham, granddaughter of her aunt Mary Boleyn and one of her closest attendants.

k of nottingham

Katherine Carey Howard, Countess of Nottingham

Her melancholy increased causing attendants (and later historians) to speculate upon the continual causes.  Was it the political losses in Ireland?  Was it the neglect of Courtiers who were lined up to offer services to James VI of Scotland? Was it the physical ailments which curtailed her activities such as riding and hunting? Was it the deaths of many from her council members? Was it the care and worry of the kingdom?  Was it insomnia?

Elizabeth-I-Allegorical

Allegorical painting of Elizabeth I done after 1620 during a revival of interest in her reign

Elizabeth had caught cold in early January which had turned to bronchitis.  On January 21 the Court moved to Richmond. The records we have from this time period are pretty extensive from contemporaries’ writings.  William Camden was given the Queen’s Rolls, Memorials and Records by William Cecil to use in compiling an historical account of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  He wanted to do her justice, he wanted to obey Cecil and he wanted to tell the truth as he attested on the third page of ‘The Author to the Reader’ note.  A noble ambition and one that is hard to argue against.  We have from him that in the beginning of Elizabeth’s illness the “Almonds in her Throat swelled, and soon abated again; then her Appetite failed by degrees; and withal she gave herself over wholly to Melancholy, and seemed to be much troubled with a peculiar Grief for some Reason or other” (Camden 659).

william camden

William Camden

Her godson, John Harington, tried to cheer her up with verses and light-hearted talk but, according to a letter he sent his wife, Elizabeth told him, “When thou dost feel creeping Time at thy gate, these fooleries will please thee less; I am past my relish for such matters; thou seest my bodily meet doth not suit me well; I have eaten but one ill-tasted cake since yesternight” (Sitwell 453).

johnharington

John Harington  

Her kinsman, Robert Carey, the son of her cousin Lord Hunsdon, also visited her at Richmond and he found her “in one of her withdrawing chambers, sitting low upon her cushions.  After greetings he wished her in health and she said ‘No, Robin, I am not well’; and then discoursed with me of the indisposition; and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days; and in her discourse she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs.  I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight; for in all my lifetime I never knew her to fetch a sigh, but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded” (Carey 116).  Carey continued that “I used the best words I could to persuade her from this melancholy humour but I found by her it was too deep rooted in her heart and hardly to be removed” (Aikin 523).

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Robert Carey, surrounded by his wife and children

Carey reported that in late-March on a Sunday Elizabeth had expressed her wish to go to chapel in her closet but she could not make it.  Cushions were laid for her on the floor near the closet door and she listened to services from there. “From that day forward she grew worse and worse.  She remained upon her cushions four days and nights at the least.  All about her could not persuade her either to take any sustenance or go to bed….” (Carey 119).  Her coronation ring had to be cut off of her finger as it had grown into the flesh—perhaps hard for her to accept as she had always prided herself in her long, tapered fingers.  The removal of the ring “was taken as a sad Omen, as if it portended that her Marriage with the Kingdome, contracted by the Ring, would now be dissolved” (Camden 659).

Some reported that she was losing her mental faculties but John Nichols assured that  “there was no such matter; only she held an obstinate silence for the most part, because she had a persuasion, that if she once lay down she should never rise; could not be got to go to bed in a whole week” (Nichols 604). She did not speak for several days “sitting sometimes with hir eye fixed upon one object many howres together, yet shee always had hir perfect senses and memory” (Manningham 146).

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Final days of Elizabeth 1 by Paul Delaroch, 1828

The Queen would take no medicines, but she would not go to bed to die either.  Maybe we could say it was another example of her trying to see both sides of an issue, trying to compromise, or simply trying to wait-out the events.

The Lord Admiral Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham, was brought in to persuade her to go to bed. He was successful yet all knew “there was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies” (Aikin 524).  Not long after, she had herself pulled to her feet and stood for 15 hours before returning to her cushions.  Elizabeth was fighting death with her usual tenacity.

charles howard nottingham

Lord Admiral Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham

The Venetian Ambassador, Giovanni Scaramelli said she had rallied a little 21 March.  Most speculate it was after the abscess in her throat burst allowing for her to feel better for a while.  Around this time there occurred the famous incident involving Robert Cecil.  He approached the Queen and said “Madam, to content the people you must go to bed” and the Queen rebuked him with “Little man, little man, the word must is not to be used to princes” (Perry The Word of a Prince 317).

(c) National Trust, Hardwick Hall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Robert Cecil

Carey provided that “on Wednesday the 23rd of March she grew speechless” (Aikin 524).  John Manningham, a diarist and lawyer, went to Richmond Palace on that date after the rumors of Elizabeth’s health had reached London and even stories that she was already dead.  He was acquainted with Dr. Henry Parry, Bishop of Gloucester and Elizabeth’s favorite chaplain.  Manningham dined in the privy chamber with Dr. Parry and several others learning about the Queen’s illness how “for a fortnight she had been overwhelmed with melancholy, sitting for hours with eyes fixed upon one object, unable to sleep, refusing food and medicine, and …still retained her faculties and memory” (Manningham 14).

henry parry

Henry Parry, Chaplain to Elizabeth Regina

When it appeared as if there would be no recovery, the councilors became anxious to officially secure the succession.  Therefore, when she was asked if James VI of Scotland would be her heir, she made a gesture that was taken as assent.  Many witnesses relayed with drama that she placed her hands above her head in the shape of a crown, others that she merely motioned with her hand agreement.  Regardless of the true action, the movement was taken as her sanction and preparations were made for the ascension of James Stuart. Unlike her grandfather, she left no will.  Her treasury was intact and her possessions available for James to inherit as he would her throne.

During her final days Dr. Parry, her chaplain, administered to her when she “tooke great delight in hearing prayers, would often at the name of Jesus lift up hir hands and eyes to Heaven” (Manningham 146).

The Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, came at about six in the evening of the 23March to pray with her.  He knelt at Elizabeth’s bedside and prayed until he became sore and tired and when he “blessed her, and meant to rise and leave her” she gave indication that she wanted him to continue.  He did so with “earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen to all our sight much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us all of her Christian and comfortable end” (Carey 122).  The Archbishop stayed quite late until everyone but a few of her women and, according to some reports, Dr. Parry departed.

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John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury 

She died between two and three in the morning of Thursday March 24, 1603. Manningham recorded Dr. Parry’s words when he made the death announcement.  “This morning about three at clocke, hir Majestie departed this lyfe, mildly like a lambe, easily like a ripe apple from the tree”(Manningham 146).  He continued that Dr. Parry reported he “sent his prayers before hir soule” … and concluded that he, Manningham, “doubt not but shee is amongst the royall saints in Heaven in enternall joyes” (Manningham 147).

Upon her death, Elizabeth’s body was tended at Richmond Palace by her ladies, specifically Anne Russell, Countess of Warwick, and Helena Snakenborg, Marchioness of Northampton.  Five days later, at night, it was taken along the river in a black-draped barge to Whitehall.  There it lay in State in a withdrawing chamber attended continuously by lords and ladies of the Court.  Many days later, the body was moved to Westminster Hall to await the King’s orders for the funeral.

anne russell      helena snakenborg

       Anne Russell,                                     Helena Snakenborg
Countess of Warwick                        Marchioness of Northampton

The funeral was held 28 April 1603.  Elizabeth’s body was processed to Westminster Abbey.  Four horses, hung in black velvet, pulled a hearse carrying the coffin which was covered in purple velvet upon which lay the life-sized wax effigy—remade in 1760.  Although spectacularly covered in Parliamentary robes, holding the scepter and orb, no hint of Elizabeth’s carefully controlled image of Gloriana remained in the true-to-life likeness from the death mask. When the effigy was seen by the tens of thousands of people along the procession route, it was responded to as emotionally as if it were the Queen in life.  John Stowe who attended the funeral left this description of “all sorts of people in their streets, houses, windows, leads and gutters, that came to see the obsequy, and when they beheld her statue lying upon the coffin, there was such a general sighing, groaning and weeping as the like hath not been seen or known in the memory of man” (“History”).  Even Scaramelli, the Venetian Ambassador thought the effigy was depicted “so faithfully she semmes alive” (Doran 249).

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Funeral procession of Elizabeth Regina, first pictorial record of a funeral of an English monarch

The funeral was organized by Robert Cecil with an estimated cost ranging between £11,305 to £25,000 (in 2010 values that would be £30,800,000 to £68,100,000*) a remarkable sum (Doran 248-249).

The impressive procession of nobles (six earls in no less, in mourning dress, supported the canopy of estate under which was the coffin) with councilors, clerics, courtiers, heralds, gentlemen, servants and 276 poor people filed behind.  Over a thousand people took their place with the peeresses of the realm, who were led by the chief mourner the Marchioness of Northampton.  Archbishop Whitgift officiated at the service which saw the interment of Elizabeth under the main altar of the chapel of her grandfather, Henry VII.  Following tradition her officers broke their staves and threw them atop the coffin before the tomb was sealed.

Three years later, Elizabeth’s body was relocated, along with her sister Mary’s to a chapel James I had created on the north aisle. This blogger had contacted Westminster Abbey to confirm via primary source evidence that Elizabeth was first buried in Henry VII’s tomb.  Miss Christine Reynolds, Assistant Keeper of Muniments, verified that there is a document in the Abbey archives, reference W. A. M. 33659 of 1605-06,  that authorized the removal of the Queen’s body from Henry VII’s vault to the present tomb. The effigy of the newer monument was sculptured by Maximilian Colt and painted by John de Critz according to some reports it too was worked from the death mask at a cost of £1485 (£4,040,000 in 2010 values*).

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Tomb of Elizabeth Regina

The Latin inscription on her tomb would have pleased her.  Below is a portion of it translated:
“Mother of her country, a nursing-mother to religion and all liberal sciences, skilled in many languages, adorned with excellent endowments both of body and mind, and excellent for princely virtues beyond her sex” (“History”).

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Monument to Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey

Elizabeth had gained the love and devotion of her people and had ruled with great popularity.  William Camden’s biography was to prove prophetic when he said: “No Oblivion shall ever bury the Glory of her Name: for her happy and renowned Memory still liveth, and shall for ever live in the Minds of men to all Posterity” (Camden 661).

Once the proclamation was made for James I, the crowds were not exuberant as “sorrowe for hir Majesties departure was soe deep in many hearts they could not soe suddenly showe anie great joy” (Manningham 147).

That sorrow manifested itself 10 years later in comments made by Edward Hall.  “Such was the sweetness of her government and such the fear of misery in her loss, that many worthy Christians desired that their eyes be closed before hers” (Aikin 529).

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It was the “new men and new manners brought in by James I served to teach the nation more highly to appreciate all that it had enjoyed under his illustrious predecessor…” and the “despicable weakness of her successor caused her decease to be regretted and deplored” (Aikin 529).

Many people saw the significance of her death date with William Camdon explaining:  “On the 24 of March, being the Eve of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, she (who was born on the Eve of the Nativity of the same Blessed Virgin) was called out of the Prison of her earthly Body to enjoy an everlasting Country in Heaven, peaceably and quietly leaving this Life after that happy manner of Departure… having reigned 44 Years, 4 Months, and in the seventieth Year of her Age; to which no King of England ever attained before” (Camdon 661).

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Stanza 21 and 22 of a poem written by Queen Elizabeth

Regret for my fault
Delivered me from sin,
For it afflicted me so
That this alone was my care—
That I did not have care enough;
Knowing better, that in joy
I had to suffer,
I turned myself to so many tears
That a thousand times my comfort
Renewed my pains.

To increase the grief
Of my follish past,
Contemplating my Creator,
I remember the making
Of me, a sad sinner;
I saw that God redeemed me,
Beign cruel against Him,
And considering well who He was,
I saw how He made Himself me,
So that I would make myself Him.
Queen Elizabeth (Marcus 419)

*Values for pounds were figured using the Measuring Worth website at http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/

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