One of the saddest of all English crownings was that of the nine-year-old Henry III. The occasion was melancholy enough. The late King, John the Evil, had died at war with God and all the world, the realm was torn by anarchy and fierce factions - the fruits of his wicked life and irresponsible tyranny - and a French army had invaded the country.
The forlorn little band of Englishmen who surrounded the infant King was determined to waste no time in having him crowned. But there were many difficulties. The Regalia had been lost in the waters of the Wash with all the personal possessions of the late King, and there were doubts as to how far men would accept a Coronation away from the home Abbey of Westminster or by the hands other than those of the English Primate.
But no time was to be lost if the Crown of England was not to fall to a French prince, and little Henry was crowned on the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude (Oct. 28), in the Church of St. Peter's, Gloucester, with a simple golden fillet by the hand of the Bishop of Winchester.
Only three English Bishops and half a dozen of the English nobility were present. The sacred unction was not administered, to avoid in-fringing the rites of Canterbury more than was necessary, but an edict was issued that no subject should appear in public for a month without wearing a chaplet in token of his allegiance to the new-crowned King.