As you may know, our new monarchs are deeply rooted in the culture of late 14th century England. Their home is based on Bodiam Castle, which was built in 1385, and their personae “live” in that year. They wished to have as authentic a Coronation ceremony as possible, and so they turned to Master Steffan ap Kennydd of the East Kingdom for assistance. Master Steffan designed the German Coronation ceremony for Duke Maynard and Duchess Liadain three years ago, and has adapted period ceremonies for monarchs from numerous kingdoms around the Known World. For Byron and Ariella, he began with the “Liber Regalis,” originally used for the Coronation of Richard II of England in 1367. In collaboration with then-Prince and Princess Byron and Ariella, he adapted the ceremony to suit SCA customs and traditions. The result was a Coronation ceremony that incorporated many actual lines of dialog from the source ceremony, along with appropriate choral music of the time period, and featured elements that enhanced the sense of actually being in 14th century England. Many of the gentles in attendance remarked on how moving the Coronation was. In addition, the mood was aided by some modern technology. The photos in our report show the hall having stone walls and large stained glass windows, but in reality it has plain white walls and no windows. The illusion was created by a projection system, with assistance from the autocrat, THLord Thomas LeStrange, and Danielle DePalma of Unity Community Church. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on this unique ceremony and the event where it was held.
Some unseasonal light snow overnight on Friday and into the day on Saturday slowed or deterred some travelers, especially those who had to cross mountain paths, but on the morning of April 9th, the Last Court of the Imperatori, Tindal and Etain, commenced only slightly behind schedule.
The Augustus and Augusta processed in wearing garments that came as a breathtaking surprise: instead of Their usual Romano-Celtic clothing, They and Their children wore beautiful 16th century German outfits with puffs and slashes in green, black, and white.
The Imperatori gave Their last awards, which included Sigils for Their children in thanks for their excellent behavior throughout the reign, and Court Baronies to Meisterin Felicity Flußmüllnerin and her husband, Lord Fridrich Flußmüllner, for their constant service during Their time on the thrones. They also made THLady Beatrix Krieger a Court Baroness for her service as Captain of the Queen’s Guard.
Next, the Imperatori joyfully called Maestro Bastiano di Iacopo forth to be elevated to the Order of Defense. Maestro Bastiano was commended by Master Iago Benitez speaking for the Pelicans and the Order of Defense, Master Quinn Kerr on behalf of the Laurels, and Duke Timothy of Arindale on behalf of the Chivalry and Royal Peers. A coat with the insignia of his new rank was placed upon his shoulders, and he received the ancestral livery collar from the hand of Master Anias Fenne, as well as a personal collar from Master Iago. The populace greeted the new Master of Defense with great cheers.
Prince Thomas Byron of Haverford then came forward to remind the Imperatori that “Times Change” and warn that Vandals and Visigoths threatened the doorsteps of the realm, requiring new leadership. The Augustus asked if Prince Byron’s claim to the throne was just, to which the Kingdom Seneschal, Duke Christopher Rawlins, the Silver Buccle Herald, Master Kameshima Zentarou Umekai, and the one of the Ministers of the Lists who presided over the Crown Tournament in Misty Highlands last October, Baroness Aemelia Soteria, all confirmed that it was. Seeing that all was in order, Augustus Tindal asked Prince Byron to allow Him time to set His affairs in order. The Imperatori thanked Their guard and retainers and dismissed them, then called for Prince Byron to claim the crown.
Prince Byron and Princess Ariella, clad in gold, white, and red brocade garments with deeply dagged sleeves, processed into the hall under a canopy borne by eight gentles, each representing one of the Grant-level orders of the Kingdom, to the choir chanting Firmetur Manus Tua, (Let thine arm be strengthened, and thy right hand be exalted. Righteousness and equity are the habitation of thy seat: mercy and truth shall go before thy face).
The Prince and Princess were accompanied by four Knights as their escort. Princess Ariella entered with her long blonde hair flowing loose down her back, as was customary for a Queen at her Coronation. Upon reaching the dais, Prince Byron prostrated himself before the thrones in prayer while Princess Ariella knelt to do likewise. Augustus Tindal then bade Byron rise, saying “If thou be made the master, lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest.” The Prince was assisted in rising by Sir Koredono and Viscount Bear.
After affirming to the Crown and the Silver Buccle Herald that They were ready to assume the burden of the crown, Prince Byron and Princess Ariella were turned to face the populace. The Silver Buccle Herald asked the populace if it would be ruled by them, to which the assembled gentles responded heartily with “Aye!” and “So be it!”
The Prince and Princess were then asked to swear on the book of the Kingdom Laws that they would protect and defend the Kingdom, its laws, and its customs. They further promised to defend the people of the realm, whether rich or poor, to honor the peers and barons, and to dispense justice to Their people. Duke Christopher Rawlins, Seneschal of Æthelmearc, enjoined them to be wise and just rulers.
The Imperatori then removed the crowns of Æthelmearc from their brows. Augustus Tindal placed the crown upon Byron’s head and named Him King.
Augusta Etain gave the Queen’s crown into King Byron’s hands, and He crowned His lady wife, Ariella, as Queen.
The new King and Queen were escorted to the thrones by Tindal and Etain, who then departed to the cheers of the populace and the choir singing Alle Psallite Cum Luya.
Their Majesties, Byron and Ariella, then gave Their crowns into the keeping of Their pages and knelt before the Silver Buccle Herald, who anointed Them with water from the River Thames in remembrance of the lands of Their ancestors and as a reminder to rule wisely and well, after which the Crowns were once again placed on Their heads.
Duke Duncan von Halstern, King’s Champion, brought forth the Sword of State, which King Byron drew as the Silver Buccle Herald advised Him to use the sword in defense of the poor and those in need, and only in a righteous cause. His Majesty returned the sword to His Grace, saying ” I place this naked sword in your hand, that seeing it, the people will know that I will faithfully do all that I have promised.”
The new King and Queen were invested with the symbols of Their new estate, presented to Them by various peers of the realm: armills of sincerity and wisdom, rings of royal dignity, the scepter of virtue and equity, and mantles of royal estate. The Kingdom Seneschal once again admonished them to be good sovereigns, and to support and protect Their people. The choir chanted the Roll of Kings and Queens of Æthelmearc, honoring all those who have borne the weight of the Crowns in days past, and adding the names of Byron and Ariella.
The King and Queen next called for Their children. Their eldest son and Heir, Joshua of the Debatable Lands, was away on crusade, but Their daughter Leah and son Ian joined them on the dais. King Byron noted that, in ancient days, the sons of the King were known as Æthelings, and therefore instructed Ian that he and his brother would be known as Joshua Ætheling and Ian Ætheling for the duration of Their reign. His Majesty then turned toward His daughter, Leah, and pondered what title was appropriate for her. After entreating the populace for suggestions, He concluded that she could only be… Princess Leah! This caused some merriment among the populace as well as with the new Princess Royal.
Their Majesties next summoned Their Predecessors, Tindal and Etain, and recognized their rightful titles of Duke and Duchess of Æthelmearc and the Society. Mistress Felicity with Baroness Helene and a group of ladies then invested Duchess Etain with a cloak stitched with roses, and Their Graces departed to their estates.
King Byron and Queen Ariella accepted the fealty of Their Great Officers, then of each Barony in turn, and then of the peerage orders: Knights, Laurels, Pelicans, and Masters of Defense, as well as the Royal Peers. Likewise, They call forward Their retainers to swear their fealty.
Then Their Majesties summoned Their Royal Herald, Bryheres Gwendolyn the Graceful, and with Master Kameshima, the Silver Buccle Herald, invested her with the title of Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald, receiving her promise to serve Them faithfully as Royal Court Herald for the duration of Their reign.
The Silver Buccle Herald presented Their Majesties to the populace as their true and rightful monarchs, to which the populace responded “Long Live the King! Long Live the Queen! Ad Gloriam Æthelmearc!” Their Majesties then departed court to the sounds of the choir singing Gloria.
After a break for a sideboard lunch consisting of fish, mushrooms pies, fruits, and bread, Their Majesties sat in state while various artisans placed items on display for the enjoyment of the populace. Numerous gentles offered fealty, congratulations, or gifts to Their Majesties, including a small group of pilgrims who sang several new songs from the Red Book of Montserrat.
Meanwhile, the most determined fighters and fencers braved the cold and even some light snow to do combat. Lord Boden the Lost won the heavy weapons tournament, while Doña Emily of Dunvegan won the fencing tournament in a tiebreaker against Master Iago, thereby gaining a short black velvet cape of the style worn over the shoulder by 16th century dandies, crafted by Countess Elena d’Artois as the tournament’s prize.
Slide show of A&S Display entries.
In the evening, Their Majesties held their First Court as King and Queen. It began with the King’s Champion, Duke Duncan, casting his gauntlet to the floor in challenge to any who would contest the right of Byron and Ariella to rule. No challenge was made, and court continued.
Their Majesties bestowed many awards on deserving gentles, including Awards of Arms on several worthy members of the Shire of Gryffyn’s Keep, hosts of the event, as well as Sycamores and Keystones. Notable were the elevation of Lady Alimé bint Yorgi to the Millrind for her many years of service to numerous groups around the western regions of Æthelmearc, Countess Rosalinda of Castile to the White Horn for her skill in thrown weapons, and Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin to the Fleur d’Æthelmearc for her Finnish spiral beadwork.
Grant-level awards given at court. Click a photo above to see them as a slide show.
Finally, King Byron and Queen Ariella summoned Duke Timothy of Arindale before them. They asked him how long he had lived in Æthelmearc, to which he responded that he had been here for 5 years. His Majesty mused on the impact that His Grace has had on the Kingdom in such a short time, teaching, inspiring, and rallying heavy fighters to train harder and become a unified force on the battlefield, as well as encouraging gentles of all interests, from archers to artisans, to strive and achieve greatness. Their Majesties then called forth the Order of the Pelican and asked if they would have Duke Timothy numbered among them, to which there was a resounding “Aye!” His Grace received a Writ of Summons for the Pelican to be answered at a date of his choosing.
Their Majesties announced that, after due consideration, Æthelmearc will fight on the side of the East Kingdom at Pennsic 45.
After some additional announcements, including a request for assistance in creating Queen’s Favors for SCA 50 year and Pennsic, court was concluded.
A feast of three removes, cooked by Maestra Tomasia da Collavento and her staff, featured dishes ranging from whole chickens to mushroom and onion pies, pasta, venison, meatballs, and a variety of sweets. At the end of the feast Maestra Tomasia particularly commended two gentles who were attending their first event and had spent the entire day assisting in the kitchen.
The day complete, gentles wended their way homeward through a night that was cold but no longer snowy, with pleasant memories of a Coronation filled with beauty and camaraderie.