archbishops of canterbury


January 10th 1645: William Laud executed

On this day in 1645, the Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud was executed for treason at the Tower of London. He was appointed to the archbishopric in 1633, during the reign of King Charles I. Laud worked closely with the King, and his tenure was marked by conflict with Puritans in England. The latter group felt so threatened by remaining in their home country that many set sail for the North American colonies to be free from persecution. Laud’s focus on ceremony led to rumours that he held ‘popish’ (Catholic) sympathies and his overbearing dominance of religious policy made him a target of popular hostility. King Charles had to call Parliament in 1640, and on 18th December Laud was impeached for high treason by the Commons. By the time of his execution in 1645, the English Civil War was in full swing. Laud was buried in a London church, but after the Restoration his remains were moved to the more prestigious chapel of St John’s College, Oxford.


Radiotimes, 27 February - 4 March 2016

Why James Norton Makes the Perfect…
Interviews by Ellie Austin

by James Runcie, Author of the Grantchester Mysteries
As the Rev Sidney Chambers is loosely based on my father [who was Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie], I was picky about who played him. I wanted someone good-looking, compassionate, with a sense of humour and who knows about religion. Demanding, I know.
I was very keen on James - mainly because of his looks. It’s important Sidney is Anglican, so he can get married. I wanted there to be love and sexual tension in the series, but I didn’t realise quite how sexy James would make him!
It helps that James studied theology. When he’s faced with crime, he’s very good at being lovingly disappointed. My father used to say, “You must hate the sin but love the sinners.” James really captures that, but he’s good at anger, too.

by Sally Wainwright, creator of Happy Valley
I first saw James on stage playing Stanhope in [RC Sherriff’s First World War play] Journey’s End.
He had fabulous presence and I noted his name.
Then he auditioned for Happy Valley. We had about 25 people audition to play Tommy Lee Royce, but the majority of them wore Tommy’s evilness on their sleeve. James did a very subdued, vulnerable performance. It was incredibly subtle and clever.
After we cast him, James spent a lot of time with a psychotherapist thinking about what makes someone act as extremely as Tommy does. James is a thinker. It’s not enough for him to accept that Tommy is evil. He wants to know why. He loves talking things through to get his performance spot on - and it shows.

by Andrew Davies, adapter of War and Peace
James is soulful, intelligent and very nice. And in a way that’s a problem for him. Prince Andrei in War and Peace isn’t very nice to lots of people - including his wife. Director Tom Harper spent a lot of time telling James not to smile. The fact that he succeeded shows what a bloody good actor he is.
I wrote the Winter Palace ballroom scene to be impossibly romantic and I hoped the audience was going to fall in love with James. He said that I set him up as a heart-throb before the series started by comparing his character to Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice - but all I meant was that Prince Andrei was standoffish and haughty.
I didn’t mean James was going to make women across the country swoon. But of course he did!

August 26, 1533: Queen Anne Boleyn Enters Confinement

On August 26th, in 1533, Anne Boleyn entered confinement to prepare for the birth of her child. During Tudor times, women usually would go into confinement, also known as “taking to their chamber,” about four to six weeks before their due date. However, Anne took to her chamber on August 26th, 1533, which was less than 2 weeks before Elizabeth was born. This could have been because Anne miscalculated her due date, or because Elizabeth was born prematurely. She also could have entered confinement later than was normal, in order to show that Elizabeth had not been conceived out of wedlock and therefore, her child would be legitimate.
Historian Eric Ives has suggested that Anne Boleyn realizing that she was pregnant led to her hurried, secret marriage to Henry on January 25th, 1533, as well as Thomas Cranmer’s rapid ascendance to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Audley’s promotion to Lord Chancellor of England, and the burst of parliamentary drafting. But since the early stages of pregnancy made it difficult to recognize that conception had occurred, this burst of activity may simply have been because the couple were sleeping together and were therefore risking pregnancy.
The ceremony of Anne taking to her chamber took place at Greenwich Palace. Before taking to her chamber, she attended a special mass at the palace’s Chapel Royal. After mass, she was escorted to her great chamber, as were her ladies. Once there, the group was given spiced wine, after which, Anne’s lord chamberlain prayed that God would grant her a safe and easy birth, finishing with a pledge “to the Queen’s good hour”. After this, a procession formed to walk Anne to her chambers. Upon arrival at the Chamber doors, the Chamberlain and other gentlemen stood respectfully aside as Anne retired to her chamber with her ladies. From that moment on, until 30 days after delivering her baby, her chamber would be occupied only by women, an ordinance created by Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry VIII’s paternal grandmother. She added several rules about how the birthing chamber should be prepared in the 15th-century “Royalle Book.” These rules were intended to ensure a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Lady Margaret Beaufort added the following ordinances in regards to the birthing chamber:
1. It should be carpeted.
2. It should have its walls, ceilings and windows covered with blue arras (also known as tapestries) that had calming and romantic images embroidered on them.
3. One window in the birthing room should be slightly uncovered, in order to let in light and air when needed.
4. It must be furnished with a bed for the Queen, as well as a pallet at the foot of the bed – The Queen would give birth on the pallet, so it was set at a height appropriate for the midwife to do her work. It would also be set up close to the fire and away from cold draughts.
5. The room should have soft, comfortable furnishings of crimson satin with embroidered gold crowns and the Queen’s arms
6. There should be an altar for the Queen and her ladies to use for prayer and worship.
7. The must be a tapestry covered cupboard that would hold the birthing equipment and swaddling bands*.
8. It must have a font* in case of a sickly baby needing to be baptized straight after the birth·
9. Since it was important for the Queen and her baby to be surrounded by symbols of wealth and the Queen’s high status, the room would have a display of gold and silver plate items from the Jewel House.
Since fresh air was thought to be harmful to the mother and her child, the birthing rooms were fastened up against it using tapestries and other window coverings. Candles would be used to light the darkened rooms, and special objects like saint’s relics (there was a girdle said to ease birthing pains, amulets, and certain herbs. The idea was that this womb-like environment would protect the baby from any evil spirits when it came into the world. The birthing chamber would have undoubtedly been stifling, hot, and uncomfortable since fresh air was “harmful”! However, Anne was lucky in the fact that she gave birth to Elizabeth two weeks after entering confinement, instead of the usual four to six weeks, so she could leave that stifling chamber after a month and a half, instead of two to two and a half months!
It was also advised that the woman remove all types of fastenings, knots, rings, buckles, and laces, so that they wouldn’t get in the way and so that they would not restrict her in any way. It was also a symbolic gesture, since their removal was seen as promoting an easier birth. There was a practice of having everyone remove or untie any knots, fastenings, etc., as well as opening doors and windows, if a woman was having an especially difficult birth.
David Starkey describes how the Anne Boleyn’s chambers would have been prepared for the impending birth in his book “Elizabeth”:
“The walls and ceilings were close hung and tented with arras – that is, precious tapestry woven with gold or silver threads – and the floor thickly laid with rich carpets. The arras was left loose at a single window, so that the Queen could order a little light and air to be admitted, though this was generally felt inadvisable. Precautions were taken, too, about the design of the hangings. Figurative tapestry, with human or animal images was ruled out. The fear was that it could trigger fantasies in the Queen’s mind which might lead to the child being deformed. Instead, simple, repetitive patterns were preferred. The Queen’s richly hung and canopied bed was to match or be en-suite with the hangings, as was the pallet or day-bed which stood at its foot. And it was on the pallet, almost certainly that the birth took place.
Carpenters and joiners had first prepared the skeleton by framing up a false ceiling in the chamber. Then the officers of the wardrobe had moved in to nail up and arrange the tapestry, carpets and hangings. At the last minute, gold and silver plate had been brought from the Jewel House. There were cups and bowls to stand on the cupboard and crucifixes, candlesticks and images for the altar. The result was a cross between a chapel and a luxuriously padded cell.”
David Starkey also describes this ritual confinement as “a sort of purdah” and writes of how it “emphasized that childbirth was a purely female mystery.”
Despite how stifling Anne’s chambers would have felt, they were magnificent to behold. Her floors were carpeted, beautiful tapestries lined the chamber walls and ceiling, a special cupboard was built “with three shelves for the queen’s plate to stand upon”, there was a “false roof made in the queen’s chamber for to seal and hang it with cloth of arras”, and while the windows were covered, one was left open or “hanged that she may have light when it pleaseth her.” Chapuys reported that, “the king has taken from his treasures one of the richest and most triumphant beds which was given for the ransom of a duke of Alençon.” There was also a pallet bed next to the first bed that had a crimson canopy hanging over it. The pallet bed was where Anne would actually give birth. And in her presence chambers, a new state bed, which was hung with a lavish ceiler, tester, and counterpane, “all richly embroidered upon crimson velvet”, had been built for her to receive visitors and well-wishers after her delivery. There were also two cradles for the future royal baby waiting in Anne’s chambers, one a “great cradle of estate” that was upholstered in crimson cloth of gold and had an ermine-lined counterpane, and the other a carved wooden cradle painted gold.
Her confinement, while it must have been rather claustrophobic, was a social occasion, with her female relatives and her ladies keeping her company. They would occupy themselves by playing cards, reading, giving Anne emotional support and encouragement, reminiscing over their own experiences giving birth, sing, and discourse on other various topics pleasing to Anne. Once labor began, her ladies would have immediately jumped to action, preparing a caudle for Anne to drink to give her strength during her labor, as well as assisting the midwife in bringing the mother and child safely through the delivery.
One can imagine what an exciting time this was for Henry and Anne, as they eagerly awaited the day that Anne gave birth to the much desired son and heir. And despite the fact that she gave birth to a girl, they did succeed in conceiving one of England’s greatest monarchs.

Erickson, C. (1984). Mistress Anne. New York: Summit Books.
Fox, J. (2009). Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford. New York: Ballantine Books.
Ridgway, C. (2012). On This Day in Tudor History. MadeGlobal Publishing.
Starkey, D. (2003). Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers.
Weir, A. (2001). Henry VIII. United States: Random House, Inc.
Weir, A. (n.d.). Six Wives of Henry VIII.


On this day in history, 12th October 1537, Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, gave birth to the future Edward VI of England. 

The young prince was born after a long and difficult labour. Queen Jane went into labour on the 9th October and finally gave birth after two days and three nights on the 12th. He was christened on the 15th of October at Hampton Court Palace and his godparents were the Princess Mary, the Duke of Norfolk and the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Edward’s father, King Henry VIII, died on 28th January 1547 making Edward King Edward VI of England. However, Henry’s death was not announced to Parliament until 31st January as arrangements needed to be made by Council. Edward was only nine years old and far too young to rule over the country himself so a Council of Regency was set up, according to Henry VIII’s will.Sixteen executors had been named by Henry to act as a regency council until Edward came of age at 18 and this council was led by Edward’s uncle, Edward Seymour, who became Lord Protector of the Realm.

By the winter of 1552/1553, it was obvious that Edward VI was seriously ill and by May the Council were panicking about the problem of the succession to the throne. Henry VIII had restored his daughters’ succession to the throne, meaning that on Edward’s death the Princess Mary should become Queen, but Dudley and his council had other ideas. Fearing the succession of a Catholic monarch who would undo all of the religious reforms of Edward’s reign, Edward was persuaded to write a document called  “My devise for the succession” which made it plain that he wished the protestant Lady Jane Grey, his first cousin once removed, to become Queen.

On 6th July 1553 Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace, aged only 15. The exact cause of his death is unknown, although theories include consumption (tuberculosis) and bronchopneumonia which led to septicaemia and other problems.

I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma, who told me that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here, and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing-gown), and alone,and saw them. Lord Conyngham (the Lord Chamberlain) then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, and consequently that I am Queen. Lord Conyngham knelt down and kissed my hand, at the same time delivering to me the official announcement of the poor King’s demise. 

The Diary of Queen Victoria, Tuesday, June 20th, 1837

“The gentleman with the thistle-down hair never grew tired of these pleasures and he never appeared to entertain the slightest doubt that Stephen and Lady Pole were equally delighted with them.
Though changeable in all else, he remained constant in two things: his admiration of her ladyship and his affection for Stephen Black. The latter he continued to demonstrate by making Stephen extravagant gifts and by sending him strange pieces of good fortune. Some of the gifts were made, as before, to Mrs Brandy on Stephen’s behalf and some were sent directly to Stephen for, as the gentleman told Stephen cheerfully, “Your wicked enemy will know nothing about it!” (He meant Sir Walter.) “I have very cleverly blinded him with my magic and it will never occur to him to wonder about it. Why! You could be made Archbishop of Canterbury tomorrow and he would think nothing of it! No one would.” A thought appeared to strike him. “Would you like to be Archbishop of Canterbury tomorrow, Stephen?”
“No, thank you, sir.”
“Are you quite certain? It is scarcely any trouble and if the Church has any attraction for you … ?”
“I promise you, sir, it has none.”
“Your good taste as ever does you credit. A mitre is a wretchedly uncomfortable sort of thing to wear and not at all becoming.”
—  Excerpt From: Clarke, Susanna. “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Queen Victoria ascends the throne | Tuesday 20 June 1837 ‘Since it has pleased the Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure, that very few have more real good will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have’ 

I was awoke at 6 o’clock by Mamma who told me that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting room (only in my dressing gown) and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham (the Lord Chamberlain) then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning and consequently that I am Queen ’. Queen Victoria’s journal


The firstborn son of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was born on July 22, 2013 at 4:24pm, weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces (3.80 kg). This marked the second time that three generations of direct heirs to the British throne have been alive at the same time, a situation that last occurred between 1894 and 1901, in the last seven years of the reign of Queen Victoria. His Royal Highness is third-in-line to the throne and on July 24, 2013, it was announced that the baby would be called His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. The Prince was baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace on October 23, 2013.

Happy 3rd Birthday, HRH Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge!


one gifset per appearance → annual diplomatic reception, buckingham palace (08/12/2015)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Queen’s annual diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace for the second time. The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing one of Princess Diana’s favourite tiaras, the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, which was originally made for Queen Mary in 1914. The white-tie Diplomatic Reception is the main ambassadorial social event of the year in London. Buckingham Palace says it ‘reflects The Queen’s importance in the country’s diplomatic relations’ and all senior members of the royal family who do not have prior engagements are expected to attend. It is the largest reception held annually at Buckingham Palace, with more than 1,500 dignitaries invited from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, past Prime Ministers, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and other public figures.


Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953: The Recognition. 

“Once the congregation had shouted its approval, what should the Queen do? The Archbishop of Canterbury had suggested a half-curtsy, but Garter King of Arms had fulminated that the Sovereign never bends to her subjects. Eventually the Archbishop asked the Queen what she thought. Apparently she replied: ‘Oh, I think a curtsy’.”

I don’t know why people are always rushing to seize the crown in Shakespeare plays? Historically, Henry IV had such bad head lice that it grossed out the Archbishop of Canterbury at his coronation. Why the heck would his son snatch the crown off his father’s infested scalp before he was even dead? Like, chill, put it in a plastic bag and wait for two weeks.


The firstborn son of TRH The Prince & Princess of Wales was born on June 21, 1982 at 9:08pm at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, weighing 7 pounds 1.5 ounces. His Royal Highness is second-in-line to the throne and on June 28th, it was announced that the new Prince would be called HRH Prince William Arthur Philip Louis. The Prince was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on August 4, 1982 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie. 

Happy 34th Birthday, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge!!


one gifset per appearance → prince george’s christening, london (23/10/2013)

Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was christened at the St. James’s Palace Chapel in London. The very small and private service was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, with only close family members, the seven godparents and their partners among the guests. Prince George wore a replica of the lace and satin christening gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter Victoria in 1841, which has been worn by royal children during their christening since. Shortly before the service, his godparents were announced: William Van Cutsem, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, Oliver Baker (all of whom are close school/university friends of the couple), their long-standing Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, William’s cousin Zara Phillips, Prince Charles’s friend Earl Grosvenor and lastly, Princess Diana’s close friend Julia Samuel. For the service, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose two hymns, two lessons and two anthems. The Hymns were Breathe on Me, Breath of God and Be Thou My Vision. The lessons were from St. Luke ch. 18, verses 15-17, read by Pippa Middleton and St. John ch. 15, verses 1-5, read by Prince Harry. The anthems were Blessed Jesu! Here we Stand (Richard Popplewell) and The Lord Bless You and Keep You (John Rutter). The Lily Font and water from the River Jordan were also used during the baptism. Following the service, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall hosted a private tea reception in Clarence House, during which guests were served slices of christening cake, which was a tier taken from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake. Later, the Royal Family posed for the official photographs of the christening, one of which included a picture of the Queen with her three heirs, something that had not happened since Queen Victoria’s time.