By Christos Zampounis
Lately, like I imagine thousands of other journalists around the world, I’ve been investigating the Charles III Crown. Leaked information from Buckingham Palace has not, so far, given us a full picture of the ceremony, nor is there a detailed analysis on the Internet of what will happen at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. Hmm. The advantage of having an up-to-date royal library is that one can discover treasures such as the 1936 edition of Our King and Queen and the Coronation. It concerns the Coronation of George VI, Elizabeth’s father. There the complex and deeply religiously symbolic rite is clearly set out, because that is what it is about. The English monarchs are the only ones who continue to reign by the grace of God, hence their anointing by the head of the Anglican Church. ‘The Anointing’, as it is called in English, will be done with myrrh consecrated by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, derived from olives from the Monastery of St. Magdalene, where Charles’ grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, died. It is the third part. It will have been preceded by The Recognition, when the Archbishop of Canterbury will ask the congregation to chant “God Save King Charles”, and “The Oath”, when the King will kneel before the Holy Table, put his hand on the Bible, and swear to rule according to the law. This will be followed by “Investiture,” the bestowal of the Crown, and “The Enthronement,” the enthronement on the throne of St. Edward.
The last act is called the “Homage”, where those present will pay homage. The ritual has remained almost unchanged for centuries, and has its roots in the enthronement of King Edgar in 973 AD. Some rituals, such as the placing of the Kyriarch’s Orb, have Byzantine origins, while others, such as the presentation of Richard the Lionheart’s caves, are medieval. There was concern about the use of the Crown brought by Queen Mary in 1911 because of an Indian diamond, the Koh-Noor. The New Delhi government protested, recalling the colonial dimension of the affair, and Charles requested that the gemstone be removed. Otherwise, the traditions will be observed to the letter, with some exceptions, such as the use of the modern carriage, the all-gold Diamond Jubilee State Coach, commissioned for Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, and the Greek Orthodox music “notes” by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble in memory of Prince Philip of Greece, Duke of Edinburgh. For more details, please turn on your TV sets on Saturday, May 6, at 1 o’clock local time, on the Antenna frequency, where I will be participating in the live broadcast of the Coronation.