Thursday, December 12, 2013

Funeral of Elizabeth of York

A most beloved English Queen dies and passes into legend. To quote:
The bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral echoed across London, the mournful toll plunging the entire nation into grief. King Henry VII ordered his council to prepare the Queen’s funeral and went into seclusion. Her “departing was as heavy and dolorous as to the King’s Highness as hath been seen or heard of”. “Solemn dirges and Masses of requiems” were heard, Henry ordered 636 masses to be offered for her soul in London alone on the day after her death. Over nine thousand yards of black cloth were ordered for the Great Wardrobe. Her State funeral was one of the most lavish ever seen.

Henry ordered clothing in blue and black, blue being the royal colour of mourning, and even had his books bound in blue velvet. It would be more than a year before the King’s grief would begin to subside, shortly after her death he became seriously ill and was close to death. He emerged a changed man. The Tower of London was abandoned as a royal residence. Every year Henry marked the anniversary of her death. On February 11th a requiem mass would be sung, the bells would be tolled and 100 candles would burn in her honour. He retained the services of Elizabeth’s minstrels, who played for him at every New Year celebration up to his death. (Read more.)

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