The Coronation Ceremony and Regalia

For the last 900 hundred years, the Coronation ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey in London

The first act of the Coronation is the recognition, in which the Archbishop of Canterbury presents the Sovereign to the people present in the Abbey, who respond with ‘God Save The King/Queen!’.

The Sovereign then takes the Coronation oath, in which they undertake to rule according to law, to exercise justice with mercy (promises symbolised by the Swords of State, Temporal Justice, Spiritual Justice and Mercy) and to maintain the Church of England.

Following the taking of the oath, the Sovereign sits in King Edward’s Chair, which was made for King Edward I in 1300 and is built around the ancient Stone of Scone.

The Sovereign is then anointed, blessed and consecrated by the Archbishop using the ampulla, which contains the holy oil, and anointing spoon. The ampulla and spoon are said to be the most ancient items in the Coronation regalia, dating from the fourteenth and twelfth centuries respectively.

During the anointing, the choir sings the anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’ set to music by Handel for the Coronation of King George II in 1726.

The Sovereign then puts on a sleeveless white garment and a robe of cloth of gold called the Dalmatic or Supertunica.

The Lord Chamberlain presents the golden spurs, which are symbols of chivalry, after which the Archbishop of Canterbury presents the jewelled Sword of Offering and the armills, golden bracelets representing sincerity and wisdom.

Finally, the Sovereign puts on the Imperial Mantle of cloth of gold and receives the orb, representing Christian sovereignty, the Coronation ring and the two sceptres.

The Sceptre with the Cross represents the Sovereign’s temporal authority, while the Sceptre with the Dove symbolises the Sovereign’s spiritual role.

The climax of the ceremony comes when the Archbishop of Canterbury places St Edward’s Crown on the Sovereign’s head.

This done, all the princes and princesses, peers and peeresses put on their coronets and the Kings of Arms put on their crowns.

After receiving homage from the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Lords Spiritual, the consort (if the Sovereign is female), princes, representatives of the Lords Temporal and senior peer of each rank each in turn places his hands between the Sovereign’s, swears allegiance, touches the crown and kisses the Sovereign’s right hand.

After taking Holy Communion, the Sovereign withdraws to St Edward’s Chapel to change into the robe of purple velvet and to put on the lighter Imperial State Crown ready for the procession back to Buckingham Palace.

A Queen consort is crowned with the King in a similar but simpler ceremony in which she is anointed and crowned and receives a smaller version of the Sceptre with the Cross and an ivory rod with dove.

If the new Sovereign is a Queen, her consort is not crowned.

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