Around 1:00 pm on Thursday, 29 May, approximately fifty barges of the London livery companies set out from Billingsgate, accompanied by a group of smaller boats. These barges, as Eric Ives describes, were not only huge (roughly 60-70 feet in length), but elaborately decked out with all the pomp and circumstance that one can imagine. The procession's destination was Greenwich Palace, where the soon-to-be Queen of England awaited them.
About two hours later, Anne Boleyn was stepping onto her own elegant barge, along with some of the most notable ladies of the court. Behind them was another barge carrying the rest of the ladies, followed by the King's barge, and trailed by a final barge containing many courtiers. Along with the coronation party, trumpeters and minstrels travelled along the river as well, providing entertainment on what was to be one of the happiest days of the year. Ives describes in his book The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, the decorations and overall splendor of the occasion as being more elaborate than the procession for the Lord Mayor. Flags, gold foil hangings, bells, and cloths of gold and silver draped from the barges and instruments, making it a truly lavish sight. He also describes one of the most impressive parts of the procession - "the fleet was led by a light wherry in which had been constructed a mechanical dragon that could be made to move and belch out flames," (p. 173). Of course, a giant banner was also flown from the barges, depicting the coat of arms for both Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
Once the procession reached the Tower of London, Anne Boleyn and her ladies entered the reception party, where she thanked the many people involved in the celebration and greeted her husband. According to reports, Henry was beaming when he saw his wife, and the amount of pride he had in her must have been bubbling over at this point. The first part of the coronation festivities were over, and Anne could rest and relax in the company of those whom she loved, after spending the entire day in the eye of the public. She wouldn't be crowned at Westminster Abbey for a few days, but for the days in between, she would celebrate with her friends and family and watch several men who were close to her be given the honor of a knighthood. These were truly a special few days for her, and I can almost feel her excitement, pride, and possible nerves about the occasion just as I write this.
Eric Ives argues (and I agree) that Henry may have had more support for this second marriage and Anne's coronation than many people think. Given the great amount of spectators that turned out to catch a glimpse of Anne and her party, it is clear that the English people certainly were not snubbing her or the King on this most special of days. If anything, they were celebrating with the royals. So far, there was no indication from the public that they were uneasy with the new Queen. As Ives says in a sentence that I absolutely love, "all had bowed the knee to the King's new goddess," (p. 175).