Elizabeth died March 24, 1603 and was buried five weeks later with Protestant ceremonial (such as it was) in Westminster Abbey. She was succeeded by her 3rd cousin (some would say, and it is more proper but not common usage, “1st cousin, twice removed”) James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. James was the nearest relative, but there were several others who could have made a claim for the throne, notably Lady Arabella Stuart. A 1351 English law prohibited foreigners from inheriting England lands and titles—and thus the crown and its estates. Moreover, in his 1547 will, Henry VIII had specifically excluded his Scots cousins from potential inheritance of the Crown. Elizabeth, of course, died childless and had never named her heir before she died. While Lady Arabella’s claim might have been a bit stronger—given that she was English born and thus neither a foreigner nor under Henry’s ban of a Scots heir—William Cecil (aka Lord Burghley) Elizabeth’s chief minister smoothly maneuvered the succession to James who had proven experience in governing and whose commitment to the Protestant faith was unquestioned. James arrived in London on May 7th 1603 and was crowned the following July 25th.
The coronation is most interesting. The Church of England had been purged of just about everything Catholic, including the use of consecrated oils for baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. But what about the anointing of the monarch for his coronation? The anointing of the monarch, even more than the crowning, is the conferral of Kingship in Christian theology. Previous to James all the monarchs had been consecrated and crowned in Catholic rites—even Edward VI and Elizabeth, both of whom had inherited Catholic ritual and did away with it during their reigns. James was the first monarch to be crowned according to the Protestant Book of Common Prayer. It was decided that the use of chrism was too important to omit so even though it had been ruled out for every other use in the Church of England at the time, it was retained for the coronation of the king. It has remained part of the coronation rite until the present day.