Richard III and Anne Neville’s Joint Coronation

Richard III and Anne Neville.
Richard III and Anne Neville.

On Sunday, the 6th of July 1483 Richard III and Anne Neville were jointly crowned at Westminster Palace. His brother’s heir, Edward V had been placed in the Tower for his own protection along with his brother who had been taken from sanctuary where he had been with his mother and sisters.

Richard had postponed his nephew’s coronation until he decided to take the crown himself under the pretense that his brother had been pre-contracted to another woman by the name of Eleanor Butler (then deceased). The ceremonies began on the fourth of July when Richard and Anne traveled by barge from Westminster Palace to the Tower of London. The next day they rode through London. The procession was described by Holinshed as big one with almost every noble peer of the realm, although he also mentioned that their son was with them (which is false because their son was to ill to attend the ceremonies). Anne’s ushers were William Joseph and John Vavasour. Anne -as queens before her- rode in a litter while her husband rode on horseback.

“Anne sat with her hair loose, her head crowned in a gold circlet set with pearls and other precious stones. She wore white cloth of gold, with a cloak and train furred with ermine and trimmed with lace and tassels.” (Licence)

The following day, the couple rose early and set for Westminster Abbey. Among the many noble present, were Thomas Stanley and Margaret Beaufort. Margaret hoped to curry favor with the new king so she could bring her son home and he could reclaim his inheritance as Earl of Richmond along with his lands. Richard’s train was carried by Buckingham (Richard’s kinsmen and Margaret’s, the latter through her second marriage to his uncle, Henry Stafford), and Anne’s by Margaret. The coronation was worthy of the new king and queen. Anne followed her husband into the abbey shoeless, with her hair hung loose, flanked by two bishops, two duchesses and her ladies, earls, knights, and esquires. Anne was given the scepter in her right hand and the rod in her left while the crown of St. Edward was placed on Richard’s head and after they were anointed, they knelt on the floor to hear the rest of the mass and afterwards made offerings to the shrine of St. Edward.

Richard and Anne’s reign would be brief. Their son would die a year later, and the scandal over the disappearance over the princes that summer after their coronation would stir up rebellions and dark rumors that still follow them. Anne died months before Richard’s defeat by Henry VII’s forces and his stepfather at Bosworth.

Sources:

  • Anne Neville: Richard III’s tragic queen by Amy Licence
  • Blood Sisters by Sarah Gristwood
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