Just as the empress had attempted to erase the embarrassment of the retreat from Westminster in June by a great court at Oxford a month later, so now the newly released King Stephen attempted to cancel out his nine-month captivity by a stage-managed reaffirmation of his kingship. A Church council was rapidly summoned by the legate for 7 December 1141 at Westminster. Here the king appeared and assumed his place among his subjects as if there had been no period of captivity. They were still 'his men' as if they had not most of them - sworn loyalty to the empress the previous summer. But he did seek the Church's condemnation of those of his subjects who had turned against him and remained against him, despite the support of a bull of Pope Innocent on 1136. The legate also had his chance to vindicate the behaviour of himself and the Church in general over the previous year. He called for the excommunication of all Angevin supporters except for the empress herself. 1 Once the king had reasserted before the bishops his legitimate right to rule, he needed to demonstrate it before the rest of the world. The obvious occasion would be the coming Christmas, and a large court was indeed assembled at Canterbury, appropriate as being in the heart of loyalist Kent which had served him so well the preceding year. On Christmas Day 1141, the king was solemnly crowned by the archbishop, and in a gesture as much symbolic as appropriate, Queen Mathilda also appeared in the church wearing a gold crown on her head. 2