The coronation of a monarch should be an eventful and joyous occasion. However, there are many stories that take place before this happens which can sometimes unexpected happens. Read these coronation tales:
William I’s Coronation
William I was the first monarch crowned at Westminster Abbey, which has been the site of every coronation since. William was crowned on Christmas Day 1066 just a few months after the battle of Hastings. Snow fell through the unfinished roof. hen the French-speaking Normans and English-speaking Saxons shouted their support for the new King (a tradition that lasts) the Norman soldiers outside thought it was an attempt at assassination and set alight the houses around the abbey. The minster filled with smoke and the congregation fled the riots but William remained to complete his coronation.
Charles I’s Coronation
Charles I was crowned in the abbey in1626, but following his execution in 1649 the ancient coronation regalia was sold or melted down by Cromwell. The Scots had already crowned Charles II in 1651, the last coronation in Scone, but he had to leave rapidly as the English army advanced. With the death of Cromwell and the end of the republic, Charles II returned from exile in May 1660, although it took a year to make a set of coronation regalia. He was eventually crowned in April 1661.
George IV’s Coronation
George IV having had to hang around as prince regent eventually gave himself an extravagant Coronation in 1821. The train of his robe was 27 feet long and was carried by nine attendants. All this did not stop his estranged wife turning up uninvited and literally beating on the abbey’s door for entrance. She was refused and died weeks later. Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838 was a shambles. A lack of rehearsals lead to numerous mistakes and the clergy losing their way in the complex service.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation
Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation had no such problems, and although delivered in post-war austerity was still a well-planned display of British end of empire pomp. There were still some odd details, such as the bishop of Durham hiding his sandwiches in his hat.
Learn more about coronations through the ages in my Royal Coronation Tour of London.