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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 182



ring. According io tradition, this same ring was used at the coronation of her present Majesty. Although the coronation was performed with extraordinary magnificence, in the Ìirescnce of most of the prelates, and all the eading barons and their ladies, and with every outward expression of joy, discontent secretly rankled in the breasts of many, if not all, who officiated at or witnessed the imposing ceremony, from the King and the Queen down to the poorest noble. Isabella was crabbed, peevish, and morose throughout the day ; indeed her pride had again been deeply wounded by the gross indiscretion of the King", who, because Gaveston delighted m finery, had, in defiance of her expressed wish, given to that favourite all the costly jewels and trinkets which he had received as wedding presents from his father-in-law, the French King, and which Isabella very naturally desired to retain for the use of herself and her royal lord. The cause of the Queen was espoused by the noble ladies, some of whom openly cried out, " Shame upon the King and his base minion !" whilst several of the leading barons whispered their determination to withhold their oaths of allegiance if the favourite was not banished, which so alarmed Edward, that he promised, immediately after his inauguration, to call a parliament, with a view to arrange matters to their satisfaction. To heighten the ill-feelings which, out of respect to the occasion, few dared openly to express, the arrangements of the ceremonial were made entirely by Gaveston, the whole business was under his control, and, from some cause or other, the scene was one of wild confusion and disorder. Everything was out of place, or out of time : nothing went right. The offices at the ceremony had been distributed without regard to the claims of inheritance or the precedents of former reigns ; and what, above all, was bitterly galling to the barons, the highest place of honour—that of walking immediately before the King, and bearing the crown of St. Edward —was conferred on Gaveston, who outvied the king himself in the splendour of hie attire. The consecration of the King and Queen was not over till past three o'clock. The barons were famishing of hunger, and when, at last, the banquet was spread, although profuse in quantity, it was bad in quality, and so illserved, that no regard was paid to ceremony or order; and those that did not help themselves to what they liked as they best could, stood a fair chance of getting nothing. Scarcely a dish was properly cooked, some being over and some under done, whilst, whether from design or accident, not a morsel was placed on the Queen's table till after dark, and then, such was the rudeness and hot haste of the attendants, that a steaming dish was overturned, and in the bustle and confusion that ensued, her Majesty's apparel was soiled and torn. The provisions to prevent accidents from the crowding of the numerous spectators, all eager to obtain a glimpse of their young Queen, appear to bave been as ineffectual as the other arrangements of the day, as, besides broken limbs, maims, bruises, faintings, and other casualties, Sir John Bake well, a knight, was trampled to death. But despite mishaps and confusion, the coronation was gorgeous in the extreme, and the feast gigantic. Two hundred pounds were paid for cloth, two hundred pounds for poultry, one hundred pounds for large cattle and boars, one hundred pounds for sheep, two hundred pounds for wine, and the enormous sum of fifty pounds for wood and coals. This magnificent display and mighty feast ended, the French princes and nobles, exasperated at the insults heaped upon Isabella, hurried home in disgust. The young Queen herself, burning to be avenged, senta letter full of bitter complaints against her neglectful lord and his Gascon favourite to her father, Philip the Fair, and that monarch, enraged at Gaveston's daring to usurp the affections due from King Edward to his consort, at once aided, with all his power, the efforts of the discontented barons to bring about the downfall of the King's minion.


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