Friday, September 7, 2018

British Coronation Etiquette – Henry II and Richard I

From the 1968 film “Lion in Winter,” Peter O’Toole (second from right) portrayed Henry II and Anthony Hopkins (third from left) portrayed Richard I – Richard I was the third son of Henry II and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. Richard I reigned over England from July 6, 1189 to April 6, 1199. He was also held the titles of Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes. Despite fictional representations of him, more accurate history shows him to have been at times, a violent man, but an excellent soldier. He was considered a poor King, which may explain why he spent so little of his reign in England, leaving William de Longchamp and his mother, as regents in his place.

Remarkable incidents in this most important occasion of a British ruler’s life. Striking features of ceremony from the earliest day to the last great Coronation event of the 19th Century
The Coronation of England’s Henry II

Henry II was Crowned at Westminster on the Sunday before Christmas day, A.D. 1154, by Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury. Although his hereditary right was unquestionable, he was formally elected by the clergy and people. It is said that Henry was Crowned again with his Queen, A.D. 1159, but this report arose from his having worn the Crown during the ceremony.

The Coronation of England’s Richard I

Duke Richard, having made all necessary preparations for his Coronation, came to London, where he assembled the Archbishops of Canterbury, Rouen and Tours, who had given him absolution in Normany for waging war against his father after he had taken the cross as a Crusader. First, the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbotts and clergy, wearing their square caps and preceded by the cross and holy water bearers and deacons burning incense, went to the door of the royal bedchamber and led the Duke in solemn procession to the great altar of the church of Westminster. When they reached the altar Richard swore, in the presence of the clergy and people on the holy gospel and the sacred relics, that he would observe peace, honor and respect all the days of his life to God, holy church and its ordinances. 

His attendants then stripped him to his trousers and shirt, the latter of which was left open between the shoulders on account of the anointing. Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, who wore rich buskins of cloth of gold, then anointed the King in three places, on the head, between the shoulders and on the right arm. A consecrated linen coif and a cap of estate were then placed upon his head and he was vested with the royal robes, the lamatic and the tunic. The Archbishop then delivered him a sword to restrain the enemies of the church. Two Earls then buckled on his spurs and invested him with the pall of state; after which Baldwin conjured him in the name of God and forbade him to take the crown unless he were firmly resolved in his heart and soul to observe all the promises to which he had sworn. 

The festivities were sullied by a sanguinary and disgraceful riot. Numbers of Jews had flocked to England in the reign of Henry II, where they were honorably protected by that liberal and enlightened Sovereign. Grateful for such unusual favors, they assembled at London to subscribe themselves in order to make Richard a splendid present on the day of his Coronation. Unfortunately, Richard was persuaded by some of the bigots who surrounded him that the Jews were accustomed to practice magic on Sovereigns during the time of the Coronation, and he therefore issued an edict prohibiting any Jew from entering the church while the ceremony was being performed, or appearing at the palace during dinner. Curiosity overcame prudence. Several of the most considerable Jews mingled with the crowd and gathered around the gates of the palace. One of them, endeavoring to force an entrance, was struck in the face by an overzealous Christian. This signal aroused the fanaticism of the multitude. 

A general assault was made upon the Jews, who fled in confusion toward the city. Some wretches, eager for plunder, raised a cry that the King had given orders for the extermination of the unbelieving Jews; and, as this was by no means improbable, when the King was a Crusader, it received implicit credit. The city mob, swelled by the multitudes who had come from the country, attacked the houses of the Jews, which the inhabitants defended with great courage and obstinacy. The enraged populace, when night came on, finding, that they could not break into tho houses, hurled brands and torches on the roofs and through the windows. Conflagrations burst forth in various parts of the city, which consumed not only the houses of the Jews but those of the Christians. Richard caused several of the ringleaders and most notorious malefactors to be apprehended the next day. They were hanged, as a terror to others, a proclamation was issued taking the Jews under the Royal protection, and the tranquillity of the city was restored. – San Francisco Call, 1901

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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