Archbishop of Canterbury, coronation, Crown of St. Edward, Gold State Coach, Imperial State Crown., King Charles III of the United Kingdom, the prince of Wales, Westminster Abbey
From The Emperor’s Desk:
I really needed a day or two to process my thoughts and feelings on this week’s coronation of King Charles III.
First of all, I was overwhelmed with the sense of the magnitude and grandeur of it all and how I was witnessing a ceremony that has been performed in that exact location gong back many centuries! It could have been King Edward I or Richard III or Charles II sitting there! Continuity and how it connects us to the past is, for me, one of cornerstones of the concept of monarchy.
For example, the Crown of St. Edward that was used to crown King Charles II and was specifically made for his coronation. This crown sat on the heads of seven monarchs (including King Charles). After King Charles II James II-VII (1685), William III (1689), George V (1911), George VI (1937) and Elizabeth II (1953) have all been crowned with this historic relic.
Mary II and Anne were crowned with small diamond crowns of their own; George I, George II, George III and William IV were crowned with the State Crown of George I. King George IV was crowned with a new large diamond crown made specially for the occasion; and Queen Victoria and Edward VII chose not to use St. Edward’s Crown because of its weight and instead used the lighter 1838 version of the Imperial State Crown.
One of the things that surprised me about St Edward’s Crown was that to me it looked dull and not shiny gold like I thought it was!
Yes I hope the king will continue to wear the Imperial State Crown at the opening of Parliament. What is interesting to me is that the arches were not altered for the coronation.
If you look at pictures of the Imperial State Crown from Queen Victoria to George sixth The arches were raised, or at least up higher. I’ve read where the arches were lowered for Queen Elizabeth II to give it a more feminine look.
So I was thinking that the arches would have been returned to a little more higher position for the king. Although I love that crown it does seem a little odd on Charles and it may take a little bit to getting used to. I hate to say it but it did seem a little bit feminine in my opinion.
Here is a link to my blog entry. If you scroll down a bit you can see the picture of king Edward VII George VI and Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown and see how the arches are set.
I’ve also heard some people say that Queen Camilla should have worn a smaller crown and that this one seemed a bit too big for her head and in that case I do agree. So I do hope she wears it without the arches for the state opening of Parliament.
The British do pomp extremely well and the coronation was very evident of that. I really appreciated seeing The Jubilee Coach used to bring the king and queen to Westminster Abbey. I was especially amazed to see The Return of the newly crowned king and queen back to Buckingham Palace in the 1761 gold coach built during the reign of King George III. With the massive amount of soldiers and guards along the way it was quite an impressive spectacle!
Although a spectacular as it was I need to take into account the fact that this was a trim down coronation. For example there were not a massive group of peers wearing their coronation robes and dining they’re coronets. I have to be honest and say I really did not miss this aspect of the coronation. This is now getting into the territory of modernizing the coronation.
I did spend a lot of time online reading other people’s perspective and opinions on the coronation. I’m not taking into account the anti-monarcus and people who absolutely were against the coronation. I’m speaking of people that support the monarchy and the coronation yet also realize that the moniker needs to be cognizant of the times in which we live and continually needs to be updated to stay relevant.
I have read some opinions that felt that much of the coronation is to archaic for our day and age. I’m not sure I agree with that. I sincerely hope in the future there will be more coronation of British monarchs. However, as I said I do understand the need for the monarchy to stay relevant. I believe this can be a topic all on the song which I will address in a future blog entry.
Another aspect that I liked was the use of the regalia during the ceremony. The spurs , armills and rings were only presented to the King. Traditionally, when a King is crowned, the spurs are supposed to touch his heels. It did not happen. And the King did not wear the armills and the ring.
The Spurs are now very fragile and it was decided that the King would just touch them. The Armills and both rings would have needed to be adjusted to fit the King and Queen. Rather than adjusting them and possibly causing damage they were just presented to Their Majesties.
By being presented to His Majesty where he touched them, I thought that was a nice way to honor the old but also bringing something new.
The coronation ring needs to be modified for each person. On a ring this old fragile that is not always practical so this time it was rightfully chosen not to alter the ring. In reading about the coronation of Queen Victoria she stated that the Archbishop forced the ring on her finger and it was quite painful.
The liked the part of the ceremony where the Prince of Wales was prominent was in paying homage to the king. In the past this part of the coronation would have taken up a lot of time with each peer of the realm coming up to the king and paying their homage and loyalty to him. To me it seems practical to only have the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Prince of Wales pay homage to the king. I did think it was a nice gesture that a pledge of homage and loyalty to the king, which was completely voluntary, was offered for all to participate in. For me that very much personalized this aspect of the coronation.
The next area, the clothes that people wore, seem to be an area of controversy and mixed opinions. I’m not sure how to categorize the way women were dressed back in other coronations, or even how men were dressed if they were not dressed in the robes of the period, the majority of people were dressed in formal day wear. I’d seen some people express that they wished the people were dressed in more formal evening wear with white ties and formal gowns and tiaras would have been better was the opinion of some people.
I’m actually mixed about that. I was absolutely fine with the way people dressed and I didn’t lament the lack of tiaras or other accoutrements generally worn at a coronation. However, I certainly wouldn’t have complained if the dress for the coronation was more traditional
I did like how men of the royal family were dressed. The King asked most of the Royal Ladies to wear the Robe of the Royal Victorian Order. The Princess of Wales, Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Gloucester also wore the Robe of the Royal Victorian Order. The only odd one out was the Princess Royal who wore the Robe of the Order of the Thistle. I personally think that was so Scotland was represented. As the Duke of York and other royal males wore their Order of the Garter Robe (English Order).
I am not sure what the Princess of Wales and her daughter princess Charlotte of Wales was wearing on their head. To me it looked like some Romanesque laurel wreaths. I like what they were wearing although I read where some did not.
All in all I was very moved and even at times choked up and in tears about this coordination. I think I’ll close right now I rambled on a bit and I’m sure I will write more in the days to come!
God Save the King!