May 2023
Vol 44 No 5
Memories – and mishaps – of earlier coronations; the Royal Peculiar in which they took place; the gowns worn by queens regnant and consort; Churchill's difficult relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh; the King and Queen's state visit to Germany.
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Ingrid Seward
Editor-in-Chief of Majesty Magazine
Ingrid is acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent writers and commentators on the royal family and has published over 15 books and contributed numerous articles to publications worldwide. Ingrid is in the unique position of knowing many members of the royal family personally and through Majesty enjoys a special relationship with the Royal Household.
Letter from the Editor

In the United Kingdom more than thirty-eight thousand church bells will ring out over the weekend of 6-7 May to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. Church bells are believed to be one of the monarch’s favourite sounds, so it is appropriate that as many as possible will ‘Ring for the King’. Schoolchildren will be learning some of the ancient coronation rituals, including the King’s grandchildren George, Charlotte and Louis, all of whom will be travelling in the Coronation Procession after the ceremony. 

Prince George, two months away from his tenth birthday, will be one of the four pages of honour who will form part of the King’s procession through the nave of Westminster Abbey. The others are Lord Oliver Cholmondeley and Nicholas Barclay, both aged thirteen, and twelve-year-old Ralph Tollemache.

The Queen’s grandsons – thirteen-year-old twins Gus and Louis Lopes and their cousin Freddy Parker Bowles, also thirteen – will be her pages of honour, as will her ten-year-old great-nephew Arthur Elliot, grandson of her recently widowed sister, Annabel.  

The children will have learnt a simplified version of the six stages of the coronation: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture (which includes the crowning), the enthronement and the homage. 

The recognition is when the King will ‘show’ himself to the people by turning around in an anticlockwise circle in a raised central space of the abbey, known as a theatre. The Archbishop of Canterbury will proclaim Charles ‘the undoubted King’ and the choir will be the first to cry out ‘God Save King Charles’. Afterwards, the King will move to the altar, kiss the Bible and sign the oath. 

Then comes the anointing, which is the central religious ceremony. The monarch, wearing a plain linen shift – the Colobium Sindonis – will sit beneath a canopy on the Coronation Chair while the archbishop anoints him with oil in the form of a cross. 

After being sanctified the King will put on a gold robe, the Supertunica. He is presented with a jewelled sword and golden spurs and armills – wide gold bracelets that represent sincerity and wisdom. He will then receive the orb, the coronation ring, the sceptre and the rod. The archbishop will then crown the King, placing the historic St Edward’s Crown on his head, at which point the congregation will exclaim ‘God save the King’. After the blessing, the monarch is lifted on to his throne. 

The final act is the homage, which is when the Prince of Wales and senior peers will place their hands between His Majesty’s and swear allegiance by touching the crown and kissing the King’s right hand.    

The Queen will sit alongside her husband and be anointed and crowned in a similar but simpler ceremony. The King insisted that although the ceremony should be spectacular, it had to be cost-sensitive and reflect the times in which we live. As the coronation is a state occasion it is financed by the government, who will use the ceremony as an important opportunity to present Great Britain to the world in the very best light.

This Issue's Features
MEMORIES: Prince Charles and Princess Elizabeth’s childhood recollections of their parents’ big day, by Ingrid Seward
CORONATION DAY: Much consideration was given to the crowning of Elizabeth II, as revealed in Jane Dismore’s behind-the-scenes account
CORONATION CHURCH: On 6 May King Charles III will become the fortieth monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey since 1066
DRESS TO IMPRESS: The beautifully crafted coronation gowns worn by the late Queen and earlier royal generations, by Coryne Hall
PHILIP AND WINSTON: All was not well between Her Majesty’s husband and her first British prime minister, as Tessa Dunlop points out
SOLE SURVIVOR: Why is the United Kingdom the only European country to still have coronations, wonders Trond Norén Isaksen
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! The unseasonal weather failed to dampen the spirits of those who lined the procession routes on Coronation Day
BEST-LAID PLANS: Over the centuries, not all coronation ceremonies have taken place without a glitch, as Lucinda Gosling discovered
HIS MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT: Our new monarch got to know his ministers in somewhat unusual circumstances, as Nigel Fletcher explains
WILLKOMMEN: The King and Queen receive the warmest of welcomes on their state visit to Germany, by Victoria Murphy
Our round-up of photographs shows royal families of the world at work and play
Robert Golden reflects on various aspects of regal life, both ancient and modern

See more issues

Vol 45 No 7
Vol 45 No 6
Vol 45 No 5
Vol 45 No 4
Vol 45 No 3
Vol 45 No 2
Vol 45 No 1
Vol 44 No 12
View More

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