The Coronation of Alexandra of Denmark

The Coronation of Alexandra of Denmark
(public domain)

Alexandra of Denmark married the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom in 1863, but they would not become King and Queen until 1901. Their joint coronation took place on 9 August 1902.

It had originally been set to take place on 26 June 1902, but it had to be postponed after King Edward had to undergo surgery for appendicitis.

(public domain)

When the coronation finally happened, Queen Alexandra chose to wear a dress of gold Indian gauze, which had also been embroidered in India. Among the many magnificent jewels, she wore the replica of the Dagmar Cross, which she had been given on her marriage. She wrote about her dress, “I am so proud to be wearing an Indian dress for that great occasion & hope you will make this known in India.”1

The coronation service had been shortened for King Edward’s comfort but still lasted 2,5 hours. The day was reportedly quite dark, despite August, and the electric lights gave a rather startling effect.2 King Edward reportedly walked up the nave so quickly that he had to be told to slow down.3 Many guests and royal invited to the original coronation had returned home, but it was still a “consecration of the Imperial idea.”4 When he took the oath, “many ladies began to cry.”5

King Edward was still too weak to wear the heavy St. Edward’s Crown, and he wore the lighter Imperial State Crown instead. Archbishop Temple, who was 81 and nearly blind, placed the crown back to front, and the King had to help him put it right. When Edward received homage from his son George, the future King George V, he pulled his son back by his robe and kissed him twice. Above the chancel, was a box mockingly given the name “the King’s Loose Box”, which included Alice Keppel.6

After Edward came Alexandra’s coronation, which was performed by the Archbishop of York. She wore a toupet with her own hair but made sure that the Archbishop knew that the holy oil had to touch her body and not just this fake hair. She kept the oil on as long as she could and returned to Buckingham Palace with it still on her.7

Alexandra knelt before the altar underneath a canopy supported by four Duchesses, and as she was crowned, 400 peeresses put on their coronets. Alexandra was crowned with a newly designed crown featuring the Koh-i-Noor diamond, and she carried a sceptre and ivory rod. As she passed her husband, she dropped a low bow.

Their daughter-in-law Mary later wrote, “At 10.45, we started in state for Westminster Abbey. Got there at 11… Beautiful impressive service… Very fine sight… Very good reception from the large crowds in the streets… Dined at home.”8 Nine years later, Queen Alexandra wrote, “Nothing in this world comes to it – having felt and gone through it all myself only 9 short years ago – how beautiful and solemn it was & quite ineffaceable from ones mind for ever – & the heavenly music – adding to it all.”9

  1. Queen Alexandra by Frances Dimond p.417
  2. Queen Alexandra by Frances Dimond p.418
  3. Bertie: a life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley p.367
  4. Bertie: a life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley p.367
  5. Bertie: a life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley p.368
  6. Bertie: a life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley p.367
  7. Queen Alexandra by Georgina Battiscombe p.249-250
  8. Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy p.367
  9. Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy p.431

About Moniek Bloks 2740 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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