James II

23 April 1685

The coronation of James II and his queen Mary of Modena took place on 23 April 1685. Francis Sandford wrote a history of this coronation which included the names of all those who walked in the processions from Westminster Hall to the Abbey and extensive engravings of both the procession and ceremony. The Dean of Westminster, Thomas Sprat, wore a rich cope of purple velvet embroidered with gold and silver. The king was crowned by Archbishop Sancroft and the service omitted the Communion as James was a Catholic (he had been anointed and crowned following the Catholic rite in the chapel at Whitehall the previous day). There seemed to be “bad omens” on the day of the coronation – the crown appeared to be about to fall off his head and at the moment of crowning the Royal Standard at the Tower of London was torn by the wind. James reigned for only four years and finally left England in December 1688 for exile in France and he was declared to have abdicated.