The Queen in cloth of gold

Today in History: 11th April 1533

Dressed all in gold...Today – 11th April – in 1533 was Good Friday. On this day, Henry VIII appeared before his Royal Council and told them plainly that he had married the Marchioness of Pembroke – the Lady Anne Boleyn – and that henceforth she was to be recognised as Queen of England and afforded all royal honours.

Henry had at least had the decency to tell his “ex” before going public with his scandalous marriage. Two days before he’d sent a delegation to Katherine of Aragon – exiled from his presence and living at “The More” in Hertfordshire – advising her that the he had married (note: not remarried, as of course, his ‘marriage’ to Katherine herself had been annulled, making it as if it never were; Henry considered himself a bachelor). Katherine was warned she must not refer to herself as the Queen, but rather the Dowager Princess of Wales, in recognition of her short-lived teenaged marriage to Henry’s elder brother, Prince Arthur, who had died in 1502, less than half a year after their wedding.

Famously, of course, Katherine refused; she signed the letter she wrote Henry on her deathbed “Katherine the Queen”…

So on Easter Saturday – 12th April 1533 – Anne made her first public appearance as Queen, attending mass wearing a resplendent gown in cloth of gold and dripping with jewels, attended on by sixty (!!) of the highest born ladies of the land. The coveted position of train carrier was taken by her cousin, Mary Howard, who was shortly to be married to Henry’s illegitimate son and become Countess of Richmond and Somerset. The cleric preaching the service asked the congregation to pray for “Anne the Queen”.

With the king’s heir safely in her womb, the court and council forced to acknowledge her as Queen and plans for her lavish coronation already underway, I imagine Anne felt rather on top of the world, that weekend 480 years ago…

Check out the ‘Perseverance’ page for all the Anne tidbits I’ve mustered whilst writing my novella starring this controversial queen.

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