Coronation of King George IV, 1821

The Coronation of King George IV was crowned King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover on this day in 1821, which was the most expensive and extravagant Coronation in British History with a number of traditional ceremonial elements conducted for the last time.

The George IV State Diadem

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At the head of the Coronation procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey came the King’s herbwoman, and her six attendants, scattering flowers and sweet-smelling herbs in a traditional ceremony to ward off plague and pestilence, followed by the Officers of State bearing the iconic orb, sceptre, crown and sword and then three bishops carrying chalice, bible and paten, with the King, followed by Barons of the Cinqu Ports carrying the Coronation Canopy, all followed by the peers of the realm and other other dignitaries.

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Meanwhile Queen Caroline, the estranged wife of the King, arrived at Westminster Hall but was denied entry, after making quite a scene:

At 6 am, her carriage arrived at Westminster Hall and was received with applause from a sympathetic section of the crowd and “anxious agitation” by the soldiers and officials supervising the door, which after some confusion was closed. The queen approached on the arm of Lord Hood, but was asked for her ticket by the commander of the guard. Replying that she was the queen and didn’t need a ticket, she was firmly turned away. When Caroline and Lord Hood tried to enter by a side door, it was slammed in their faces. Their attempt to find another entrance was blocked by a line of armed soldiers, so they then made for the House of Lords, which was connected to the hall, but when she was denied entry there too, the queen returned to her carriage. After about 20 minutes the party arrived at the abbey, and approached the door which leads into Poet’s Corner. Lord Hood addressed the doorkeeper, who was probably one of the professional boxers who had been hired for the event, announcing; “I present to you your queen, do you refuse her admission?” The doorkeeper replied that he could admit no one without a ticket. Lord Hood had his own ticket, but the doorkeeper was insistent that this would only allow one person entry and the queen refused to enter alone. After further fruitless argument, the queen’s party retreated, the crowds shouting “Shame! Shame!” as she left in her carriage. Queen Caroline died in humiliation two weeks later.

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The Coronation ceremony was described:

Queen or no queen, the monumental procession eventually reached Westminster Abbey where King was subject to the traditional and ancient Coronation ceremony; the day was stifling and George the King under the weight of his robes and flamboyant hat (with the George IV State Diadem), almost losing consciousness on one occasion. Still, the King kept himself together and five hours of ceremony culminated in the anointment of the new monarch whilst seated in King Edward’s chair. With the crown placed on his head, England could finally celebrate the Coronation of George IV, with the Abbey erupting in a spontaneous cheer that onlookers commented both pleased and perhaps surprised the new Sovereign.

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After the Coronation Ceremony, the newly crowned King George IV headed a Procession back to Westminster Hall for the traditional Coronation Banquet, the last time it was ever held. The two rows of tables on either side of the Hall were occupied by 330 peers, while the peeresses and gentry were seated in the two tiers above, and did not eat. The king sat at the top table, with men on horseback including a knight in armour in the central aisle, thanking the assembled guests and did them “the honour of drinking their health and that of his good people”. You can register to attend a talk about the Banquet later today HERE.

Coronation of King Edward VII | Coronation of King George V | Coronation of King George VI | Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 


Madame Gilflurt

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