A coronation event is an event where one would be crowned to be sovereign to a certain land. This was often a significant event, as it is today with event such as the American Inauguration.

But who would attend this ceremony? Could peasants attend?

  • 3
    I seriously doubt there was a single protocol for all of Europe and all of the medieval time period.
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 7:29
  • @jwenting anywhere will do
    – tuskiomi
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 8:22
  • How about you pick one country and we'll start from there?
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:35
  • @NeMo okay, done.
    – tuskiomi
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:42
  • 4
    I hope you won't mind, I took the liberty of changing it to France. Ireland never really had a king in the classic sense. And it's generally much harder to get a question reopened than it is to keep it open to begin with
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


Although the question is about France, that was an edit to narrow things down a bit. I can only offer an example for Castille in the 14th century.

King Alfonso XI of Castille was crowned in 1332. It was not common to have coronation cerimonies in Castille, unlike France, where the sacred aspect of being a king was stronger than in the Iberian Peninsula at the time. However, decades of political turmoil favoured a more forceful imposition of the royal power.

The codex "Libro de la Coronation" (Book of the Coronation) was written for this effect in order to establish a coronation ritual for the kingdom. It was influenced by such books as the "Ordo of Constantinople", where the coronation ritual was described.

The coronation was divided into two parts: becoming a knight and being coronated. Each part happened at a different location. On the day of his crowning, the king was dressed in his royal robes and mounted a horse. There was a procession from his lodgings to the cathedral. The procession included all the important noble lineages and some less important ones that the king was trying to bring under his control. Only the nobles entered the cathedral, but the peasants participated in the decoration of the city, as was usual in royal celebrations (such as entering a town). Decorations used in royal celebrations included covering streets with plants and hanging quilts from windows.

So, yes, peasants could attend, though there wouldn't be enough room within the cathedral for them to enter. They would see the procession, participate in banquets (royal weddings were known to include large portions of food to be prepared for the peasants). The king wanted the entire kingdom to witness the celebration, whether directly (seeing the coronation moment itself) or indirectly (participating in the festivities in general).

However the most important thing, was that the nobility would pay him homage and be personally bound to his service. This was done through a communal banquet and the fact that, once coronated, king Alfonso XI knighted hundreds of nobles.


The coronation was described in detail in the "Crónica de Alfonso Onceno". I have read elsewhere descriptions of royal entrances in towns, but I can't recall the title of the book.

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