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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The coronation of Anne Boleyn on 1 June 1533 was the climax of numerous events staged over several days either side of the ceremony that were intended to reinforce the message that Anne was Henry's lawful Queen. The overt classicism running throughout the pageantry was no doubt intended to display England's cultural credentials, as an increasingly strong premium was being placed on classicism in political discourses and court festivities, particularly those with an international dimension. Several other factors determined the combined classical and biblical content of Anne's coronation pageants. The procession was simultaneously a civic event and a court celebration and so needed to engage with traditional civic iconographical motifs while also reflecting court trends. Simultaneously, the pageantry had to respond to the government's ideas about Henry's claims to spiritual jurisdiction in England and criticisms made of Henry's recent marital and ecclesiastical policies. The pageants also had to work on multiple levels for the multiple audiences observing them. The Queen, members of the Court, ambassadors, judges, the civic elite, merchants, and ordinary inhabitants of London all witnessed some of the pre-coronation celebrations; these groups will have had varying levels of knowledge of the classical and biblical allusions being made.

Keywords: Henry VIII, queen, coronation, pageantry, classicism

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