|3rd Crown Crown|
Tapestry made by Branwyn O'Brallaghan
- 1 Reign Overview
- 2 Champions
- 3 Progress While Prince & Princess
- 4 Progress While Crown
- 5 Memories of the Reign
- 6 Reign Notes
- 7 Reign Photos
Royal Whims or Declarations
- Head of Entourage:
- Chief Lady-in-Waiting:
- Star Signet:
Jan w Orzeldom: "In those days, during your reign, you didn't have a group to provide you with clothing and accessories - for us, it was the queen and myself."
Alisandre Oliphant: "What was hilarious is that people were like, "Who was your lady in waiting?" "They didn't have them." "But who got their tent set up for them?" "NO ONE." They couldn't process it. It was hilarious."
- Middle Eastern Dance
- Kingdom Artisan
- Kingdom Warlord:
- Queen's Champion: Hans Duerrmast von der Wanderlust (OP)
- King's Champion:
- Queen's Blade of Honor:
- Royal Huntsman:
- Guardian of the Queen's Hope - Junior Division:
- Guardian of the Queen's Hope - Senior Division:
- Guardian of the King's Dream:
Progress While Prince & Princess
Progress While Crown
The Words of the Crown
Memories of the Reign
I am Jan, third king of Ansteorra. Here follow my recollections of my and Kemreth’s coronation, held in the Barony of the Steppes in June of AS XV, being 1980 of the common era. I write these at the request of my lady and the graciously persistent Zubeydah.
When Ansteorra became a kingdom we started to set our own style. Our first king, Jonathan, changed the traditional coronation format from the old Aten process. (His first coronation, as a king of Atenveldt, is a story worth telling but would be a needless digression here.) My point is that a coronation should have the drama of a new king ascending the throne and a new rule starting, not merely the changing of a club officer for the next six months.
Jonathan rode into court on a white horse, which I saw to after he dismounted. I remember thinking that, in his place, I would have liked to gallop into court, jump a kneeling shield wall, and do a sliding stop in front of the thrones. Somebody would have objected, but that’s kind of my style. I know plenty of fighters who would gladly volunteer to form the wall and I had horses trained for it.
Our second king, Lloyd, as is appropriate to both his personna and actual personality, projected strength and would brook no nonsense. His court was simple and solemn. This made humor work better and supported his way of dealing with the politics of the day. The only other coronation that I had ever attended was in Al Barran, where I delivered etched “traveling crowns” for Koris and Leah.
My time as crown prince was very short by current standards. We followed the old Aten custom of taking enough time to set up a worthy event and little more. Crown tournaments were held late in the reign, and though royalty had less time in the limelight overall, they mostly had it to themselves and could project a unique royal style. I was at the king’s side as crown prince, when, as part of his betrothal celebration, Red Orm Skjoldbidig gifted the Black Sword to the kingdom. That night, Lloyd and I experimented and found that a black sword is very hard to see and defend against in darkness and shadow.
My coronation was held in the Steppes. I’m not certain, but I think Lloyd helped arrange it. The idea back then was that king chose where to step down, if it mattered to him. The Steppes fighter practice in those days was at “flagpole hill.” Extending away from the hill is a sizable park with a stone pavilion, similar to the Joske’s Pavilion in Bjornsborg’s Brackenridge Park, only less ornate and with less mundane surroundings.
It was not a camping event, and I arrived about midday from Bjornsborg. I was popular among the people of Oklahoma (often referred to collectively as Namron, which was the only “named” group there at the time) and was greeted by many people from that area. This included the order of the Lions of Ansteorra, both of them. I was a little bit put off by people not wanting me to help with anything and was satisfied with arranging to meet with the heralds “working” the event, the landed nobility, and the knights. I also received petitions for awards and had the usual conversations about all things SCA.
Having a banner with personal arms, or even an unpassed “device” was de rigueur and, of course, they must be displayed at coronation. The autocrats were constantly pressed to keep everyone from putting their personal banners up in the area reserved for kingdom displays. It was but one chaotic aspect of the setup process, but by candle light during the ceremonies and festivities, they looked great. The sides of the pavilion were open stone arches. They were quickly filled with hangings and the aforementioned banners, except where unobstructed access was wanted.
There was no such thing as a designated herald who would accompany the crown to events in those days. The king and queen had no “retinue” and made do with what was available, as I did at this event. That’s not to say that talent was scarce. The problem was more finding proper roles for as many as possible of those available, at least at coronation.
I wanted the court style of earlier periods of history rather than the elaborate excesses that were starting to trickle in from Pennsic (even then we were seeing the attitude of “it’s done at Pennsic, therefore it is THE way!”) For example, court is often opened with announcements such as, “The court of their majesties of the stellar kingdom of Ansteorra, Name and Name is now open!” I preferred not to use “majesty,” because its a very late period usage, and a shorter, less bombastic “the court of Ansteorra is open” or “Lord and Lady Ansteorra now hold court” was more to my liking. You may be thinking how one addresses royalty without saying “your majesty” - I suggest “my lord king” or “my lady queen” or the landed title “Lord Ansteorra” or “Lady Ansteorra.” In my opinion, extra words add no dignity or force to a declaration. I didn’t object to the populace doing whatever the fashion was, but heralds were my officers and needed to understand what I wanted. That being communicated, I moved on to other matters.
In those days, following Aten custom, only the landed nobles and knights swore fealty at coronation. Then at the wish of the Crown, any other persons might swear personal fealty to that particular Crown.
Fealty had been a very sore issue in old Atenveldt. Many chose not to swear to kings out of concerns for personal honor. Some knights would publicly remove their chains to express dissatisfaction with the crown. All this was taken as a very serious matter. Because of the touchiness of the issue, a standard oath of fealty could not be agreed upon and accepted by the body of knights. To avoid ugly confrontations in court, Atenveldt and early Ansteorra would usually allow knights to swear fealty in their own words. This put the problem on the back burner but was awkward when large numbers of knights were present. I didn’t try to force the issue for the knights, but did request the use of a historic oath for those swearing personal fealty to me.
At that time you didn’t kneel to swear fealty; that was a part of homage. Basically, you knelt in homage if you were receiving lands from the crown. At his coronation some years later, Simonn of Amber had those swearing fealty kneel and place their hands between his. I think this historically belonged to homage, but I went along with it at the time. This is a quibble for SCA purposes. Currently it seems that everybody kneels for almost anything.
The relationship between the Peer circles and the crown had been tainted by the Board of Inquiry (Inquisition?) near the end of Jonathan’s reign, and issues like fealty needed some care. I was fortunate to have been a member of the Laurel Circle and so had more trust than I might have otherwise. There were no villains to be dealt with, and everybody seemed to be wanting to do the right thing. What was needed was trust.
So the knights swore fealty in their own words. The landed nobles knelt and answered two questions out loud, as a group. First, did they acknowledge Kemreth and myself as their liege lord and lady; and secondly, would they represent us and enrich the lands in their care. The matter of personal fealty I will address below.
Stepping down from the throne is a difficult thing to do “in persona.” Simon and Tessa “died” as the last prince and princess of Ansteorra. Sigmund, who followed me as king, was told at the end of his second reign that he had been too generous and had no more treasure, so he left the kingdom to go a-Viking. His first reign, in his own words, ended with a production worthy of Cecil B. DeMille. Even people who thought he was too political were on their feet chanting his name as he hobbled out of the hall with his arm around Pepin the Fool.
Lloyd’s persona was as genuine as he is. This master at arms, who carved his place in the world by his strength and efficiency, tidied up the very little business to be finished, and turning to his lady, simply said “It’s time.” They stood, placed their crowns on the thrones, and he escorted her into the darkness. It was reputed that some kingdoms never had the throne unoccupied and that the crown was passed from one king to the next, hand to hand. This was reputed to show perfect continuity. In the early days of our kingdom I rather savored the moment of stillness when there was no king. That night there was only a rustling in the trees.
The hall was arranged differently than it usually is now. To the right of the throne, parallel to the main aisle, was the landed nobility, to the left the royal family, much smaller then now, facing their landed counterparts. Both would be joined by peers of the realm, their “retainers,” and pretty much anybody else who wanted that view. The populace formed a hollow rectangle in front of the thrones with a narrow aisle often filled with spectators whom the heralds would clear for formal entrances. These days, it seems that the church pew row arrangement is favored, even outdoors.
I entered with the Premier Chevalier (oldest in chivalry), in this case Sir Tarl Mapt, carrying the Black Sword of Ansteorra, followed by a herald. I walked to the throne and took the crown and held it up. We still used the principality coronet, made by Master Gwillam. It had a single projection in front with an engraved five-pointed star, each point set with a piece of polished obsidian. I declared “by the laws and customs of Ansteorra I claim my right.” The herald announced “The prince claims his right.” I then crowned myself and was proclaimed King. The populace rose and the Princess was summoned and crowned.
The traditional first act was to acknowledge the advancement of Lloyd and Joycelin to the ranks of Earl and Countess. The knights swore fealty and the Barons and Baronesses did homage.
Then followed the old Aten custom of receiving a toast from the Masters at Arms, both of them. Masters Jonathan and Lloyd had equipped themselves with tankard and drinking horn. They weren’t hard to hear. They said that I had pleased them..."You killed a lot of people!...We like that!...Yes we do!… Actually we think your pretty good with weapons! Etc." Finally "Jan King we salute you!"...and they drank deeply. As they were turning, I said, "Please stay. I would return your toast."
Now I hadn’t actually planned to do this, but it seemed good at the time. I had brought a glass candy jar in the shape of a chalice, big enough to hold a large bottle of Lambrusco. I had this filled and I toasted them in return, and drained the cup without taking it from my lips without spilling a drop. I was wearing a white tunic with gold brocade. Any spill would be readily visible to the gathered Kingdom. (Years later at my wedding feast, I offered this as a challenge to any young warrior to match the deeds of their elders. Pepin de Moronis, wrapped in a white cloth, succeeded.)
I then called for anyone wishing to swear personal fealty. I was popular and a very large group came forward. I told them that if they swore fealty to me personally I would feel free to give them tasks for the betterment of the kingdom. Nobody flinched. I then had the herald read the oath that I would require, taken directly from one of my old medieval textbooks at the university with the references to God and the laws of the holy church removed. It is very similar to what is used today, with the exceptions of swearing to shun what I shun (swearing to hate something unnamed would be anathema in medieval Europe) and the overly dramatic "until the world shall end or death take me" (in old Ansteorra "death oaths" were frowned upon; they owe more to modern fantasy than true feudalism).
In any case, I thanked and excused those who had been willing to serve but could not, in good conscience, swear the historic oath. A fair number withdrew. From those who did swear personal fealty, I gave them specific tasks, and many good things were done during my reign. Some did not succeed, but as far as I know they all made an effort.
Then came what was the greatest compliment that I have ever received in the SCA . Earl Lloyd came forward, drew his sword, held the pommel towards me, and repeated the oath of personal fealty. As far as I know this was the first time he had ever done such a thing. I am still touched.
Then the Legion of Swashbucklers and with many flourishes of blades swore The Swashbuckler Oath, which seemed to be to the queen rather than the crown. I wondered if they were helping the queen cover up an indiscretion, a la the Three Musketeers. I asked for no bloodshed in the hall.
With the mood lightened, gifts were given and received. A most notable one came from the Viscountess Megan. In months prior, Laird Conall McNaughten had journeyed to the wilds of the Midrealm and returned with a recording that included the song "Carlow." We were much taken with the tune but the singer’s heavy accent kept us from understanding all the lyrics. Using the technology of the time we played "drop the needle" until we had a fair version. It became a popular campfire and feast tune in Bjornsborg, and when we traveled to the lands north of Namron, Finn Kelly expressed delight in it. At the coronation, the Viscountess brought forward a choir that performed “Carlow,” as a special gesture. They added good atmosphere for the rest of the evening.
My memory fails me, if there were other distinguishing "then and now" comparisons. The candle light flickering on the field stone walls and the stirring of the banners gave a good ambiance to the politicking and persona play of a coronation.
This is a tale of my days as King of this land. Shadows lengthened as Queen Kemreth and I walked through the pine forest toward the main gathering area. The Earl Marshal, Earl Lloyd von Eaker, strode in front of me in his mail. “My liege!” he declared, “It has been too long since you have had a challenge!” With that, he threw his gauntlet, which hit me full on the chest. Picking up the gage, I called back to the camp and bid my squire, Lord Riccardo, bring my armor and a seat for the Earl while he waited. This was totally unscripted. I asked Kemreth and told Riccardo to keep passersby at a distance. Lloyd and I would marshal ourselves (it’s good to be king!).
For me, a bout with Lloyd was never about “who’s better.” It was always a trial of arms with a worthy opponent. I put my armor on over my court tunic and we proceeded. It was a short affair as man-to-man exchanges go. On the second or third clash I gave a stout blow to his thigh. Lloyd was a short man and was very skilled at defense against attacks from above. I had just put him in his element. I, on the other hand, was known for being “stingy” with the number of blows that I would throw. After a few moments of mental chess at very close range, I succeeded in landing a fast, clean, and very solid blow to his side, with my full body behind it (no mean trick that!). Lloyd met my gaze and said “Good Shot!” with an overtone of admiration in his voice.
This was one of the two best blows I ever dealt in the SCA and this one was against someone that is my peer if not my better at weapons play.
The Words of the Populace
I was the herald for the presentations to the Crown. (I was a very new herald at the time.) One of my strongest memories is that one lord evidently wanted to be called up for a presentation from him, again for his household, and a third time for his ship. Evidently, I misunderstood, and only had him called into court twice. When he complained about this to the Crown after court, King Jan defended my actions as his herald, while still treating the third presentation (after court) with grace and politeness.
-Robin of Gillwell
Jan: "And who made the gloves that were given during your reign?" The Queen and I! "Who made the gauntlets for your reign?" The Queen and I! We made them up early in the reign and we wore them, so that they would be associated with me. And then I took it off and gave it to someone. It wasn't, "this was made by so and so" - but it was my personal gauntlet.