a Salt of gold richly garnished with pearl & stone
A pen and ink drawing from about 1560 exists of prince Edward’s christening procession, acting as a great guide to who appeared at the little prince’s christening. Thanks to this drawing, historians are able to get a good idea of who exactly was there. The line-up would have looked a little bit like this…
- The procession was led by eighty gentlemen ushers, squires and knights. These men marched in two by two, each carrying a candle.
- Next came the staff who worked in the Chapel Royal, including the dean, the chaplains and the choir.
- Next came the King’s Council, along with the foreign ambassadors and retinues.
- Next in the drawing is Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Cranmer is followed by Henry Ratcliff, the second Early of Sussex, and Lord Montague. Ratcliff carries a towel and a basin for the godparents to wash their hands.
- Next came the Earl of Wiltshire, who was Anne Boleyn‘s (who had been executed by this stage) father, carrying an unlit candle. He was joined by the Earl of Essex, who carried a beautifully decorated box of salt. Salt was used in the christening ceremony to drive out evil spirits. Both Earls carried towels around their necks.
- Princess Elizabeth, who would later become Queen Elizabeth I, was next in the procession. The princess was carried by two lords, one of whom was Edward Seymour. Owing to the fact that the picture was drawn long after the christening, Princess Elizabeth was depicted as an adult, even though she would have only been about four years old at the time!
- Next in the line-up came Prince Edward, the star of the show. The young prince was carried to the chapel under a grand canopy of gold cloth, which was carried by six gentlemen of the privy chamber. He was carried by the Marchioness of Exeter, Lady Gertrude Courtenay, along with the Duke of Suffolk. The prince’s robes trailed behind him, and were carried by the Earl of Arundel. These members of the procession were closely followed by the prince’s midwife and nurse.
- Last in the procession came Lady Mary with her ladies and gentlewomen. Mary was 21 at this stage. Henry had promised Anne Boleyn that he would never see his daughter again, but Anne Boleyn was now dead and she was included in the procession as an act of reconciliation. Although Mary’s princess status was renounced and she was instead given the title of “The Lady Mary”, this was still a dramatic statement for the royal family to make.
Interestingly, protocol required that the parents of the now “Edward, son and heir to the King of England, Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester” not attend the ceremony or participate in the procession. Instead, they were to wait in the Queen’s apartments to wait for the prince’s return!