The Coronation of Charles II
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"Infinite and innumerable," wrote Heath, the chronicler of that day, were the acclamations and shouts from all the parts as Charles II. passed along, to the no less joy than amazement of the spectators, who beheld those glorious personages that rid before and behind his Majesty.
Indeed it were in vain to attempt to express this solemnity, it was so far from being utter able that it is almost inconceivable: and much wonder it caused in outlandish persons, who were acquainted with our late troubles and confusions (to the ruin almost of three Kingdoms), which way it was possible for the English to appear in so rich and stately a manner.
It is incredible to think what costly clothes were worn that day, the cloaks could hardly be seen what silk or satin they were made of, for the gold and silver laces and embroidery that was laid upon them: the like also was seen in their foot-clothes.
Besides the inestimable value and treasures of diamonds, pearl and other jewels, worn upon their backs and in their hats: to omit also the sumptuous and rich liveries of their pages and footmen (some suits of liveries amounting to fifteen hundred pounds), the numerousness of these liveries, and the orderly march of them; as also the stately equipage of the Esquires attending each Earl by his horse - side; so that all the world that saw it, could not but confess that what they had seen before was but solemn mummery, to the most august, noble and true glories of this great day."
The kingdom's happiness in its restored monarchy was consummated in the great ceremony on the following day.
Probably never in our history has there been such a shout of acclamation to the Presentation of the Sovereign, as when the Bishop of London cried out from each of the four corners of the Throne:
"Here I present unto you King Charles, the rightful inheritor this Realm, wherefore all you that are come this day to do your homage, service and bounden duty, be ye willing to do the same?"
Pepys, who, on the day before, had watched the procession from a balcony at "Mr. Young's the flag-maker in Corne-hill", managed to squeeze himself in with the privileged spectators, and was a witness of the scene in the Abbey:
"About four I rose and got to the Abbey, where I followed Sir J. Denham, the Surveyor, with some company that he was leading in. And with much ado, by the favour of Mr. Cooper, his man, did get up into a great scaffold across the North end of the Abbey, where with a great deal of patience I sat from past 4 till 11 before the King came in.
And a great pleasure it was to see the Abbey raised in the middle, all covered with red, and a throne (that is a chair) and footstool on the top of it; and all the officers of all kinds, so much as the very fidlers in red vests.
At last comes in the Dean and Prebends of Westminster, with the Bishops (many of them in cloth of gold copes), and after them the Nobility, all in their Parliament robes, which was a most magnificent sight.
Then the Duke and the King with a sceptre (carried by my Lord Sandwich) and sword and mond before him, and the crown too. The King in his robes, bareheaded, which was very fine.
And after all had placed themselves, there was a sermon and the service; and then in the Quire at the high altar, the King passed through all the ceremonies of the Coronacon, which to my great grief I and most in the Abbey could not see. The crown being put upon his head, a great shout begun, and he came forth to the throne, and there passed more ceremonies: as taking the oath, and having things read to him by the Bishop; and his lords (who put on their caps as soon as the King put on his crown) and bishops come, and kneeled before him.
And three times the King at Arms went to the three open places on the scaffold, and proclaimed, that if anyone could show any reason why Charles Stewart should not be King of England, that now he should come and speak. And a Generall Pardon also was read by the Lord Chancellor, and meddalls flung up and down by my Lord Cornwallis, of silver, but I could not come by any. But so great a noise that I could make but little of the musique; and indeed, it was lost to everybody."
When Pepys retired to bed, very drunk, "the City had a light like a glory round about it with bonfires."
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