24th June 1509 – The Coronation of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon

On the 24th June 1509, Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon’s coronation took place. Two thrones were placed on a platform in front of the high altar at Westminster Abbey. The higher throne was for Henry and the lower for Katherine. Henry’s coronation came first and after it was Katherine’s turn. The ceremony for a queen consort was simpler than for a king. No oath was administered to her, nor, as a woman, was she invested with the sword or spurs. Katherine was still made Queen, and she was Queen as much as Henry was King. She was anointed on the head and the breasts; the coronation ring was put on her fourth finger of her right hand, the crown on her head, the sceptre in her right hand and the ivory rod surmounted with a dove in her left.

As Katherine was very religious, the words of the elaborate Latin prayers uttered over her would have meant as much as the symbols and ritual. One by one, the names and stories of the great women of the Bible were recalled and applied to her. Might her marriage endure: just as God, ‘for the good of Thy people the Jews… didst deliver Queen Hester from captivity and bring her to the bed of Ahasuerus and to the society of his kingdom’, so for the good of England, might He keep Katherine with Henry that ‘she, continuing always in the chastity of princely wedlock, may obtain the crown that is next unto virginity’. But, above all, God was begged, let her have children: like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and the Virgin Mary herself, may she ‘multiply and rejoice in the fruit of her womb’; might she have a Son, a Christ for England.

Sources

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey, 2004, p111

 Henry_VIII_Catherine_of_Aragon_coronation_woodcut

A picture of the coronation of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

 

 

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