A hell of a queen

From my 11/17/18 posting (exactly a year ago) “Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day”, with this Bizarro cartoon:


I was moved to declare November 17th Teddy Bear Picnic Day …, but it turns out that (by whatever obscure mechanism these things happen) July 10th is already taken for this occasion … [however:] Elizabeth acceded to the English throne on November 17th, 1558, so that today is unquestionably Elizabeth I Accession Day. From a Princeton Triangle Club show from a great many decades ago, the anthem for today:

I’m Elizabeth the First / Say it if you durst / I’m a hell of a queen!

I’m now thinking of (Elizabeth’s) Accession Day as Hell of a Queen Day — a much more versatile concept.

The original holiday. From the Naked History site (“Just history. Plain and simple, from us to you.”), with four contributors (Adela, ER, JJ, Phoebe), “Accession Day” from 11/17/16 by ER:

Many people in England were sick of the reign of Mary I. Protestants were being burned on a regular basis, inflation was sky high and she had lost Calais, the last outpost of English dominion in France. Mary herself was desperately unhappy as she had not provided the realm a Catholic heir and was essentially abandoned by her husband, Philip II of Spain. In her last days, she consoled by a vision of angels “like little children”. On November 17, 1558 she received Holy Communion then lost consciousness and never awoke again.

… Though the Queen was dead, the court moved on and moved on quickly. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton rode from Hatfield to London carrying Mary’s coronation ring as Elizabeth knew her half sister would never take it off while alive. Legend says she was found under an old oak tree, the symbol of England, reading a book. When they presented the ring to her with the news of her half sister’s death, Elizabeth is said to have sank to her knees and spoke the words of Psalm 118 in a voice trembling with emotion. “This is the Lord’s doing: it is marvellous in our eyes.”…

Though her formal coronation day was not until January, November 17 became known as Accession Day or Queene’s Day and was celebrated with jousting, bonfires and pageantry as early as the 1570’s. The first celebration is thought to have been a bell ringing in Oxford. Although there is also evidence that Oxford was beaten to the punch by Lambeth, who rang their bells in 1569. All of this was a spontaneous celebration of the country’s “salvation” from the Catholics. Elizabeth’s reign was rife with rumors of rebellion and Catholic plots, and this was a way to show loyalty the Queen. Other cities soon followed with bonfires being lit in York and London. This was soon turned into a new “holy day” of the Anglican church to give thanks for the Queen who delivered England from “from danger of war and oppression, restoring peace and true religion”

… [The custom largely died out in November 1602; the Queen died in March 1603, but:] Bonfires were still lit on November 17 in England and Wales for about 300 years before the celebrations ended.

The official celebrations, the tilts, from Wikipedia:

(#2) [A hell of a knight:] George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland attired as the Knight of Pendragon Castle for the Tilt of 1590, by Nicholas Hilliard. His pageant shield leans against the tree. The Queen’s “favour”, a glove, is attached to his hat. (Wikipedia photo and caption)

The Accession Day tilts were a series of elaborate festivities held annually at the court of Elizabeth I of England to celebrate her Accession Day, 17 November, also known as Queen’s Day. The tilts combined theatrical elements with jousting, in which Elizabeth’s courtiers competed to outdo each other in allegorical armour and costume, poetry, and pageantry to exalt the queen and her realm of England.

… Knights participating in the spectacle entered in pageant cars or on horseback, disguised as some heroic, romantic, or metaphorical figure, with their servants in fancy dress according to the theme of the entry. A squire presented a pasteboard pageant shield decorated with the character’s device or impresa to the Queen and explained the significance of his disguise in prose or poetry. Entrants went to considerable expense to devise themes, order armour and costumes for their followers, and in some cases to hire poets or dramatists and even professional actors to carry out their programmes. [The poets included John Davies, Edward de Vere, Philip Sidney, and Francis Bacon.]

Queen’s Day: he’s a hell of a queen. Well, yes, you saw this coming, all the way up at the top, didn’t you? From an enormous cast of possibilities, including several friends of mine, I choose just one, Adore Delano. From Wikipedia:

(#3) From RuPaul’s Drag Race

Daniel Anthony Noriega, better known by the stage name Adore Delano, (born September 29, 1989) is an American drag queen, singer-songwriter, and television personality. Noriega appeared as a contestant on the seventh season of American Idol in 2008 and later competed as Adore Delano in the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, reaching the final three.

Celebrate the day.

3 Responses to “A hell of a queen”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    In these more placid times, monarch-wise, the current monarch, Elizabeth II, does not celebrate her accession day. She is rumoured to have said to someone on this subject, “Why would I celebrate my accession day? It’s the day my father died.”

    • Stewart Kramer Says:

      In contrast, Elizabeth I and her subjects could celebrate the death of her not-so-nice half-sister Mary I.

  2. [BLOG] Some Friday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky explores queens as various as Elizabeth I and Adore […]

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