The Queen’s Majesty’s Passage & Related Documents

Edited with an introduction by Germaine Warkentin - TS04

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On January 14, 1559, Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England since the death of her sister Mary on November 17, 1558, entered the City of London in ceremonial procession, the traditional prelude to a monarch’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on the next day. The “royal entry” was a ritual familiar throughout Europe, identifying the sovereign to his or her people, and demonstrating the power and grandeur of the monarchy. The pamphlet published a few days later — the first virtually complete record of an English royal entry — describes the progress of the Queen through the city, the decorations and the costumes of participants, the poems and songs, the ritual presentation of gifts, and the pageants that instructed her in her new role. Elizabeth’s procession was designed by Richard Grafton and a group of Protestant London merchants. Its text was written by a talented young humanist and future schoolmaster, Richard Mulcaster, who would later teach both the poet Edmund Spenser and the great preacher Lancelot Andrewes. Staging the procession involved courtiers, city notables, guild officials and working people; the court loaned costumes, and the Queen acted her part brilliantly. Yet at the same time as they collaborated in this great public spectacle, all the parties involved were contending for mastery of the event. The circumstances of the entry procession and the political aftermath of the pamphlet have occupied historians for four centuries, yet there has never been an accurate and fully annotated version of the work available.

This edition, based on the only known copy of the first edition, presents a scholarly, modernized text, with comprehensive annotation, many illustrations, and two maps. A full introduction to all aspects of the occasion is accompanied by three appendices of related documents, including the first accurate translation of Aloisio Schivenoglia’s Italian letter (often cited from an imperfect version) describing the event from a Catholic point of view. Also included is a note on the text, a glossary and gazetteer, and a comprehensive bibliography of relevant scholarship. Both scholarly and accessible, the edition is aimed at students of Elizabethan literature, Tudor historians, and all those interested in European spectacle during the period.

Germaine Warkentin is Professor Emeritus of English in the University of Toronto. She has published widely on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature, the poet Sir Philip Sidney and his family, English and Canadian book history, and early Canadian writing.

160 pp.
ISBN978-0-7727-2024-5 softcover
Published: 2004


English Historical Review, 120:486 (April 2005), pp. 524-525. Reviewed by Sydney Anglo. (PDF)

TLS. Times Literary Supplement, 5295 (September 24, 2004), p. 26.

Early Theatre, (January 2006), pp. 173-175. Reviewed by Anthony Miller.

University of Toronto Quarterly, 75:1 (Winter 2005), pp. 252-253. Reviewed by Agnes Juhasz-Ormsby. (PDF)



The Receiving of the Queen's Majesty

Appendix I: Contemporary Narratives of Elizabeth's Entry

Appendix II: Documents Relating to the Queen's Entry, 1558-1559

Appendix III: Translations of Latin Passages

Glossary and Gazetteer

Textual Note