Dekker’s Accession Pageant for James I

Anne Lancashire

Abstract


In his printed account, The Magnificent Entertainment (1604), of the 1604 royal entry through London of James I, Thomas Dekker includes the text of a pageant he wrote to welcome the king, which was apparently not performed but 'layd by'. The general assumption today is that this pageant was originally written to be performed as the opening pageant in the planned but then cancelled 1603 coronation entry and/or in the substituted 1604 entry; but close attention to Dekker's text, and to the accessions of his two royal predecessors, Mary and Elizabeth I, reveals that the pageant was written for James’s accession entry into London in May 1603.

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