Coronation: What is it and why does it matter?
A coronation is a ceremony that marks the formal investiture of a monarch with regal power. It usually involves the placement of a crown on the monarch's head, as well as the presentation of other items of regalia, such as scepters, orbs, rings, and swords.
The coronation is not only a symbolic act, but also a religious one. It signifies the monarch's role as the head of the Church of England and their duty to uphold the faith and protect the realm. The coronation also binds the monarch to their subjects, who pledge their loyalty and allegiance to them.
1. The history of coronation
The tradition of coronation dates back to ancient times, when kings and queens were anointed with oil or water to signify their divine right to rule. The first recorded coronation in England was that of Edgar in 973, who was crowned at Bath Abbey by Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Since then, every English and British monarch has been crowned at Westminster Abbey, except for Edward V and Edward VIII, who were never crowned, and Mary I and William III and Mary II, who were crowned elsewhere.
The coronation ceremony has evolved over time, but some elements have remained unchanged for centuries. The most important part of the ceremony is the anointing, when the monarch is consecrated with holy oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The oil is kept in a golden eagle-shaped container called the Ampulla, which is believed to have been used since the 12th century.
Another key element is the crowning, when the monarch receives the St. Edward's Crown, which was made for Charles II in 1661 and contains 444 precious stones. The crown is named after Edward the Confessor, whose shrine is at Westminster Abbey and whose regalia was used for coronations until they were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649.
1.1 The monarch also receives other items of regalia during the ceremony, such as:
- The Scepter with the Cross, which symbolizes temporal power and justice
- The Scepter with the Dove, which symbolizes spiritual power and mercy
- The Orb, which represents the world and Christian sovereignty
- The Ring, which signifies royal dignity and faith
- The Sword of State, which denotes military authority and defence
- The Spurs, which signify chivalry and knighthood
- The Armills, which are bracelets that represent sincerity and wisdom
2. The significance of coronation
The coronation is not only a celebration of a new reign, but also a reaffirmation of the constitutional monarchy and its values. It reflects the continuity of history and tradition, as well as the adaptation to modern times and challenges.
The coronation also showcases the diversity and unity of the United Kingdom and its people, as well as its relationship with other countries and regions. The ceremony involves representatives from various sectors of society, such as parliament, judiciary, military, clergy, nobility, civil service, media, arts, sports, charities, and more.
The coronation also invites participation from people across the UK and beyond, who can watch it on television or online, attend public events or street parties, or join in prayers or pledges of allegiance.
The coronation is a rare and historic occasion that marks a new chapter in the life of a nation and its people. It is a time to celebrate, reflect, and look forward to the future.