The Coronation of Charles II – the coronation
Good morrow again, people of the future. Following yesterday’s description of the King’s Procession, today I shall describe his Coronation itself. I remain your humble servant from the past, Mr. Samuel Pepys. Remember, if you wish to read of my daily life in 1661, you can find me on the thing called Twitter at this place: @sampepys_1661. A warning for those of a nervous disposition – this report contains pissing and snogging and spewing.
23rd April 1661 –
KING’S CORONACION AT THE ABBY.
About 4 in the morning I rose. Bleeeeuuurrrghh HANGOVER. After a spew or two, I got to the abby, where I got in by pretending to be with Sir J. Denham the surveyour. Then, with much ado, I did get up into a great scaffold across the north end of the abby – where with a great deal of patience I sat from past 4 till 11 before the King came in. My only entertainment was spotting the lovely women wearing their fine dresses, and imagining them without the dresses.
And a pleasure it was to see the Abbey raised in the middle, all covered with red and throne (that is a chaire) and footstoole on the top of it. And all the officers of all kinds, so much as the very fidlers, in red vests. Red was a bit of a theme. Also gold.
At last comes in the Deane 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 scepter (carried by my Lord of Sandwich) and Sword before him, and the crowne too.
The King in his robes, bare headed, looked very fine. And after all had placed themselfs, which took a lot of shuffling,- there was a sermon and the service. And then in the Quire at the high altar he passed all the ceremonies of the Coronacion – which, bugger it all to hell and to my very great grief, I and most of the Abbey could not see. The crowne being put upon his head, a great shout begun.
And three times the King-at-armes went to the three open places on the scaffold and proclaimed that if any one could show any reason why Ch.Steward 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 none of the bloody things came my way.
There was so great a noise, that I could make but little of the Musique; and endeed, it was lost to everybody. But now I had so great a list to pisse, and could not find a place that would not wet someone’s head. So that I went out a little while before the King had done all his ceremonies, and found a corner that had become a piss-place, and did stand in a pond of it. Then I went round the abby to Westminster-hall, all the way within rayles, and 10000 people, with the ground coverd with blue cloth – and Scaffolds all the way. Into the hall I got – where it was very fine with hangings and scaffolds, one upon another, full of brave ladies. And I saw my wife in one little one on the right hand, and she looked bloody GORGEOUS in her blue dress. I did imagine her naked too, which was mighty fun.
Here I stayed walking up and down; and at last, upon one of the side-stalls, I stood and saw the King come in with all the persons (but the Souldiers) that were yesterday in the cavalcade; and a most pleasant sight it was to see them in their several robes. And the King came in with his Crowne on and his sceptre in his hand – under a Canopy borne up by six silver staves, carried by Barons of the Cinqueports – and little bells at every end.
Then clattered in three Lords, Nothumberland and Suffolke and the Duke of Ormond, coming before the feast on horseback and staying so all dinner-time; and at last, came Dymock the King’s Champion, all in armour on horseback, with his Speare and targett carried before him. And a herald proclaim that if any dare deny Charles Stewart to be lawful King of England, here was a Champion that would fight with him; and with those words the Champion flings down his gantlet; and all this he doth three times in his going up toward the King’s table. At last when he is come, the King drinkes to him and then sends him the Cup, which is of gold; and he drinks it off and then rides back again with the cup in his hand.
I went from table to table to try to get something to eat, and so my Lord did give me four rabbits and a pullet; and so I got some bread too and so at a Stall eat it, as everybody else did what they could grab.
Tell you what; I took a great deal of pleasure to go up and down and look upon the ladies – some right beauties – and to hear the Musique of all sorts; but above all, the 24 viollins. All finished eating about 6 at night, and I went up to my wife and there met with another pretty lady and kissed them both and had a squeeze of arse (threesome ahoy!).
I observed little disorder in all this; save only the King’s Footmen had got hold of the Canopy and would keep it from the barons of the Cinqueports; a fight ensued between the footmen and the barons. The Barons were dragged along the hall, and lost their places at table. By a prompt command of the King, however, the Footmen were at once imprisoned and dismissed, the poor sods.
We three went to Mr Bowyers, where we went on the roof, expecting to see the Fireworkes; but they were not performd tonight. I had a long tonguey kiss with my wife, and oh the City had a halo of light like a celestial glory round about it, with the many bonefyres all around the city.
So I took my wife and Mrs Frankelyn (who I proferred the civility of lying with my wife at Mrs Hunts tonight) to Axe yard. In which, at the further end, there was three great bonefyres and a great many great gallants, men and women. They grabbed we three, and had us drink the King’s health upon our knee, kneeling upon a fagott; which we all did, they drinking to us one after another – which we thought a strange Frolique. But these gallants continued thus a great while, and I wondered to see how the ladies did tiple. They poured the booze down. Chavs.
At last I sent my wife and her bedfellow to bed, and Mr Hunt and I went in with Mr Thornbury where we drank the King’s health and nothing else, till one of the gentlemen fell down stark drunk and there lay speweing. So I home and to bed, but no sooner a-bed but my head begun to turne and I to vomitt, and I fell asleep and sleep till morning – only, when I waked I found myself wet with my spewing. There were diced carrots and tomato skins, which I swear I did not eat.
Thus did the day end, with joy and spew unconfined; and blessed be God, I have not heard of any mischance to anybody through it all, but only to Serjeant Glynne, whose Horse fell upon him yesterday and is like to kill him. Death by horse. Oh, there was also this night, in Kingstreet, a woman had her eye put out by a boy’s flinging of a firebrand into the coach.
Now after all this, I can say that besides the pleasure of the sight of these glorious things, I may now shut my eyes against any other objects, as being sure never to see the like again in this world. My thanks to you, stranger, for listening, and I hope to see you on Twitter.