From 1189 to 1821, Westminster Hall was the traditional venue for coronation banquets honouring newly-crowned monarchs. The earliest recorded being those of Prince Henry (crowned in the lifetime of his father, Henry II) in 1170 and of Richard the Lionheart in 1189.
Queens' coronation feasts
Queens crowned separately from their husbands also had coronation feasts, from Eleanor in 1236 to Anne Boleyn in 1533. By 1377, Westminster Hall had replaced the Lesser Hall (a ceremonial chamber in the medieval palace) as the venue for coronation preliminaries.
The monarch sat on the marble throne at the end of the Hall and was presented with the coronation regalia, and was subsequently borne in procession to Westminster Abbey.
Many features of these banquets persisted from early times until that of George IV, the last to be held in the Hall. Music was usually played by the king's minstrels.
The citizens of London acted as butlers to the King at every feast, from Richard I to George IV. The Earl Marshal always rode about on his horse keeping order, and he was sometimes accompanied by other officials on horseback.
Richard III's coronation
However, one change over the centuries was a probable decline in the numbers taking part from the 3,000 or so fed at Richard III's coronation. As the only surviving royal feast, the coronation banquet also became more of a spectacle, with new galleries built for invited guests.
The king's champion
During these banquets, it was traditional for the king's champion to ride into the hall in full armour and challenge anyone to deny the King's right to succeed.
This position has been held for over 600 years by the Dymock family; they still hold it today, although they have not been called upon to perform this ceremony since George IV's coronation in 1821.
His successor William IV abandoned the coronation banquet altogether in 1830 because he felt that it was too expensive, a precedent followed by all his successors. The presentation of regalia and the procession from the Hall to the Abbey disappeared along with the banquet.