With Saint Joan of Arc at His Side, Charles VII Is Crowned King of France

May 28, 2020

Charles VII, the Victorious

The preparations for the coronation had to be undertaken in some haste—in such haster, in fact, that those concerned had but one night to make ready. Up till the very afternoon before the actual ceremony the citizens of Reims had not decided whether to deliver their keys to the Dauphin or not. . . .

Statue of St. Joan of Arc with her banner in the Notre-Dame Reims Cathedral, France

At nine in the morning [of July 17th, 1429], Charles rode to the cathedral in full procession, accompanied by the Duke of Alençon, the Duke de la Trémoïlle, the Count of Claremont, the Count of Vendôme, and the young de Lavals, representing the peers of France. The maréchal de Saint-Sévère, the maréchal de Rais, the seigneur de Graville, and Louis de Coulen, Admiral of France, had already gone to St. Rémy to escort the Abbot bearing the miraculously holy oil. They brought him, dressed in his pontifical vestments, richly ornamented with gold, to Notre Dame, where they were met by the archbishop, surrounded by his clergy, who, receiving the vessel from the abbot, placed it upon the altar. There were present also such other dignitaries of the Church as the Archbishop of Châlons and the Bishops of Seez and Orleans, and an enormous concourse of knights and soldiers filling the vast cathedral.

Painting by Ladislaus Bakalowicz

The ceremony was conducted with all its accustomed pomp. The Duke of Alençon knighted the King; the seigneur d’Albret held the sword. The Archbishop of Reims performed his traditional duty. But a single figure drew all eyes, the cause, as they said, after God, of this coronation and of all that assembly: Jeanne d’Arc, who kept her place standing beside the King, in armour, her standard in her hand. “Il avait été à la peine,” she said, when they asked why her standard had figured at the sacre, “c’etait bien raison qu’il fut à l’honneur.” [Since it was at the fight, it well deserves to be at the honor.]

 

  1. Sackville-West, Saint Joan of Arc (New York: The Literary Guild, 1936), 220, 222–3.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 728

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