I was looking through my photos for this week’s photo challenge on the theme of a ‘good match’ when I came across some that I took last summer in Gloucester. I was there to enjoy the spectacular celebrations to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the coronation of the 9-year-old King Henry 111.
In the Cathedral, there is a stained-glass window depicting the original event, which took place in St Peter’s Abbey on 28th October 1216. It must have been overwhelming for the young Henry to go through this ceremony just 10 days after his father, King John, had died.
The celebrations started with a splendid procession through the streets led by Knights on horseback. This was followed by a spectacular performance of the anointing, enthronement and crowning of the boy King in what is now the Cathedral.
The Cathedral was decorated beautifully with pungent herbs, grasses and flowers which would have grown locally in medieval times. Walking on the herb-strewn stone floor created a heady aroma from the crushed rosemary and lavender.
A local schoolboy, Fraser Martin, played the part of the boy king. He was very majestic in the role and yet vulnerable looking. In fact, everyone was dressed so beautifully and took the occasion so seriously, that the atmosphere was literally awe-inspiring and very moving.
There was entertainment in the cloisters after the ceremony and a medieval tournament in the grounds. The very authentic looking ‘Barons’ and ‘Knights’ put on a wonderful show of fighting with medieval weapons. They really were a good match.
Henry 111 went on to rule for 56 years and 29 days until 1272.