Coronation of the British monarch

Coronation of the British monarch
British coronations are held in Westminster Abbey.

The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony (specifically, initiation rite) in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia. It corresponds to coronation ceremonies that formerly occurred in other European monarchies, which have currently abandoned coronations in favour of inauguration or enthronement ceremonies.

The coronation usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch, as it is considered a joyous occasion that would be inappropriate when mourning still continues. This also gives planners enough time to complete the elaborate arrangements required. For example, Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953, despite having ascended the throne on 6 February 1952, the instant her father died. British law states that the throne is not left vacant and the new monarch succeeds the old immediately.

The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior cleric of the Church of England. Other clergy and members of the nobility also have roles; most participants in the ceremony are required to wear ceremonial uniforms or robes. Many other government officials and guests attend, including representatives of foreign countries.

The essential elements of the coronation have remained largely unchanged for the past thousand years. The sovereign is first presented to, and acclaimed by, the people. He or she then swears an oath to uphold the law and the Church. Following that, the monarch is anointed with oil, crowned, and invested with the regalia, before receiving the homage of his or her subjects.



The timing of the coronation has varied throughout British history. The first Norman monarch, William I "The Conqueror", was crowned on the day he became King — 25 December 1066.[1] Most of his successors were crowned within weeks, or even days, of their accession. Edward I was fighting in the Ninth Crusade when he acceded to the throne in 1272; he was crowned soon after his return in 1274.[2] Edward II's coronation, similarly, was delayed by a campaign in Scotland in 1307.[3] Henry VI was only a few months old when he acceded in 1422; he was crowned in 1429, but did not officially assume the reins of government until he was deemed of sufficient age, in 1437.[4] Under the Hanoverian monarchs in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was deemed appropriate to extend the waiting period to several months, following a period of mourning for the previous monarch and to allow time for preparation of the ceremony.[5] In the case of every monarch since, and including, George IV, at least one year has passed between accession and coronation, with the exception of George VI, whose predecessor did not die but abdicated.[6] The Coronation date had already been set; planning simply continued with a new monarch.[7]

Since a period of time has often passed between accession and coronation, some monarchs were never crowned. Edward V and Lady Jane Grey were both deposed before they could be crowned, in 1483 and 1553, respectively.[8] Edward VIII also went uncrowned, as he abdicated in 1936 before the end of the customary one-year period between accession and coronation.[6] Under British law, however, a monarch accedes to the throne the moment their predecessor dies, not when they are crowned. i.e. "The King is dead. Long live the King."[9]

The Anglo-Saxon monarchs used various locations for their coronations, including Bath, Kingston upon Thames, London, and Winchester. The last Anglo-Saxon monarch, Harold II, was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1066; the location was preserved for all future coronations.[10] The basic elements of the coronation ceremony have also remained the same for the last thousand years; it was devised in 973 by Dunstan.[5][11] When London was under the control of the French,[12] Henry III was crowned at Gloucester in 1216; he later chose to have a second coronation at Westminster in 1220.[13] Two hundred years later, Henry VI also had two coronations; as King of England in London in 1429, and as King of France in Paris in 1431.[4]

Following the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell declined the crown but underwent a coronation in all but name in his second investiture as Lord Protector in 1657.[14]

Coronations may be performed for a person other than the reigning monarch. In 1170, Henry the Young King, heir to the throne, was crowned as a second king of England, subordinate to his father Henry II;[15] such coronations were common practice in mediaeval France and Germany, but this is only one of two instances of its kind in England (the other being that of Ecgfrith of Mercia in 796, crowned whilst his father, Offa of Mercia, was still alive).[16] More commonly, a king's wife is crowned as queen consort, though the husband of a queen regnant is never crowned. If the king is already married at the time of his coronation, a joint coronation of both king and queen may be performed.[5] The first such coronation was of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1154; seventeen such coronations have been performed, including that of the co-rulers William III and Mary II.[17] The most recent was that of George VI and the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1937. If the king married, or remarried, after his coronation, or if his wife were not crowned with him for some other reason, she might be crowned in a separate ceremony. The first such separate coronation of a Queen consort in England was that of Matilda of Flanders in 1068;[18] the last was Anne Boleyn's in 1533.[19] The most recent King to wed post-Coronation, Charles II, did not have a separate coronation for his bride, Catherine of Braganza.[20]

Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 was televised by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Originally only events as far as the choir screen were to be televised live, with the remainder to be filmed and released later after any mishaps were edited out. This would prevent television viewers from seeing most of the main events of the coronation, including the actual crowning, live. This led to controversy in the press, and even questions in Parliament.[21] The decision was subsequently altered, and the entire ceremony televised, with the exception of the anointing and communion, which had also been excluded from photography at the previous coronation. It was not revealed until 30 years later that the about-face was due to the personal intervention of the Queen. It is estimated that over twenty million individuals viewed the programme in the United Kingdom, an audience unprecedented in television history. The coronation greatly increased public interest in televisions.[22]

The monarch is simultaneously crowned as sovereign of multiple nations; Elizabeth II was asked, for example: "Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?"[23]


Attendees include foreign and Commonwealth dignitaries as well as Britons, some of whom will participate in the ceremony directly. For Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953, 7,500 guests were squeezed into the Abbey and each person had to make do with a maximum of 18 inches (460 mm) of seating.[24]


The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has precedence over all other clergymen and over all laymen except members of the Royal Family,[25] traditionally officiates at coronations;[26] during his absence, another bishop appointed by the monarch may take his place.[27] There have, however, been several exceptions. William I was crowned by the Archbishop of York, since the Archbishop of Canterbury had been appointed by the Antipope Benedict X, and this appointment was not recognised as valid by the Pope.[28] Edward II was crowned by the Bishop of Winchester because the Archbishop of Canterbury had been exiled by Edward I.[29] Mary I, a Catholic, refused to be crowned by the Protestant Archbishop Thomas Cranmer; the coronation was instead performed by the Bishop of Winchester.[30] Finally, when James II was deposed and replaced with William III and Mary II jointly, the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to recognise the new Sovereigns; he had to be replaced by the Bishop of London.[31] Hence, in almost all cases where the Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to participate, his place has been taken by a senior cleric: the Archbishop of York is second in precedence, the Bishop of London third, the Bishop of Durham fourth, and the Bishop of Winchester fifth.[25] Elizabeth I was crowned by the Bishop of Carlisle (to whose see is attached no special precedence) because the senior prelates considered her birth illegitimate.[32]

Great Officers of State

The Great Officers of State traditionally participate during the ceremony. The offices of Lord High Steward and Lord High Constable have not been regularly filled since the 15th and 16th centuries respectively; they are, however, revived for coronation ceremonies.[33][34] The Lord Great Chamberlain enrobes the Sovereign with the ceremonial vestments, with the aid of the Groom of the Robes and the Master (in the case of a King) or Mistress (in the case of a Queen) of the Robes.[23]

The Barons of the Cinque Ports also participated in the ceremony. Formerly, the Barons were the Members of the House of Commons representing the Cinque Ports of Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. Reforms in the nineteenth century, however, integrated the Cinque Ports into a regular constituency system applied throughout the nation. At later coronations, Barons were specially designated from among the city councillors for the specific purpose of attending coronations. Originally, the Barons were charged with bearing a ceremonial canopy over the Sovereign. The last time the Barons performed such a task was at the coronation of George IV in 1821. The Barons did not return for the coronations of William IV (who insisted on a simpler, cheaper ceremonial) and Victoria. At coronations since Victoria's, the Barons have attended the ceremony, but they have not carried canopies.[35]

Other claims to attend the coronation

Many landowners and other persons have honorific "duties" or privileges at the coronation. Such rights are determined by a special Court of Claims, over which the Lord High Steward traditionally presided. The first recorded Court of Claims was convened in 1377 for the coronation of Richard II. By the Tudor period, the hereditary post of Lord High Steward had merged with the Crown, and so Henry VIII began the modern tradition of naming a temporary Steward for the coronation only, with separate commissioners to carry out the actual work of the court.[33]

In 1952, for example, the Court accepted the claim of the Dean of Westminster to advise the Queen on the proper procedure during the ceremony (for nearly a thousand years he and his predecessor abbots have kept an unpublished Red Book of practices), the claim of the Lord Bishop of Durham and the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells to walk beside the Queen as she entered and exited the Abbey and to stand on either side of her through the entire coronation ritual, the claim of the Earl of Shrewsbury in his capacity as Lord High Steward of Ireland to carry a white staff, and the claim of the Queen's Scholars of Westminster School to be the first to acclaim the monarch on behalf of the common people (their shouts of "Vivat! Vivat Regina!" were incorporated into an anthem).[36]


Sovereign's robes

Portrait of Queen Victoria wearing a Robe of State and the George IV State Diadem
The robes of HRH The Duke of Clarence, a Royal Duke (later William IV), included a train borne by a page.

The Sovereign wears a variety of different robes and other garments during the course of the ceremony:

  • Crimson surcoat – the regular dress during most of the ceremony, worn under all other robes. In 1953, Elizabeth II wore a newly made gown in place of a surcoat.[37]
  • Robe of State of crimson velvet or Parliament Robe – the first robe used at a coronation, worn on entry to the Abbey and later at State Openings of Parliament. It consists of an ermine cape and a long crimson velvet train lined with further ermine and decorated with gold lace.[37]
  • Anointing gown – a simple and austere garment worn during the anointing. It is plain white, bears no decoration and fastens at the back.[37]
  • Colobium sindonis ("shroud tunic") – the first robe with which the Sovereign is invested. It is a loose white undergarment of fine linen cloth edged with a lace border, open at the sides, sleeveless and cut low at the neck. It symbolises the derivation of Royal authority from the people.[37]
  • Supertunica – the second robe with which the Sovereign is invested. It is a long coat of gold silk which reaches to the ankles and has wide-flowing sleeves. It is lined with rose-coloured silk, trimmed with gold lace, woven with national symbols and fastened by a sword belt. It derives from the full dress uniform of a consul of the Byzantine Empire.[37]
  • Robe Royal or Pallium Regale – the main robe worn during the ceremony and used during the Crowning.[23] It is a four-square mantle, lined in crimson silk and decorated with silver coronets, national symbols and silver imperial eagles in the four corners. It is lay, rather than liturgical, in nature.[37]
  • Stole Royal or armilla – a gold silk scarf which accompanies the Robe Royal, richly and heavily embroidered with gold and silver thread, set with jewels and lined with rose-coloured silk and gold fringing.[37]
  • Purple surcoat – the counterpart to the crimson surcoat, worn during the final part of the ceremony.[37]
  • Imperial Robe of purple velvet – the robe worn at the conclusion of the ceremony, on exit from the Abbey. It comprises an embroidered ermine cape with a train of purple silk velvet, trimmed with Canadian ermine and fully lined with pure silk English satin. The purple recalls the imperial robes of Roman Emperors.[37]

In contrast to the history and tradition which surround the Regalia, it is customary for most coronation robes to be newly made for each monarch. The present exceptions are the supertunica and Robe Royal, which both date from the Coronation of George IV in 1821.[38]

Official costume

An earl's coronation robes

Several participants in the ceremony wear special costumes, uniforms or robes. Peers' robes comprise a full-length crimson velvet coat, and an ermine cape. Rows of sealskin spots on the cape designate the peer's rank; dukes use four rows, marquesses three and a half, earls three, viscounts two and a half, and barons and lords of Parliament two. Royal dukes use six rows of ermine, ermine on the front of the cape and long trains borne by pages. Peeresses' ranks are designated not by sealskin spots, but by the length of their trains and the width of the ermine edging on the same. For duchesses, the trains are two yards (2 m) long, for marchionesses one and three-quarters yards, for countesses one and a half yards, for viscountesses one and a quarter yards, and for baronesses and ladies one yard (1 m). The ermine edgings are five inches (127 mm) in width for duchesses, four inches (102 mm) for marchionesses, three inches (76 mm) for countesses, and two inches for viscountesses, baronesses and ladies. The robes of peers and peeresses are used only during coronations.[39]

Crowns and coronets

Peers wear coronets, as do most members of the Royal Family; such coronets display heraldic emblems based on rank or association to the monarch. The heir-apparent's coronet displays four crosses-pattée alternating with four fleurs-de-lis, surmounted by an arch. The same style, without the arch, is used for the children and siblings of Sovereigns. The coronets of children of the heir-apparent display four fleurs-de-lis, two crosses-pattée and two strawberry leaves. A fourth style, including four crosses-pattée and four strawberry leaves, is used for the children of the sons and brothers of Sovereigns. The aforementioned coronets are borne instead of any coronets based on peerage dignities. The coronets of dukes show eight strawberry leaves, those of marquesses four strawberry leaves alternating with four raised silver balls, those of earls eight strawberry leaves alternating with eight raised silver balls, those of viscounts sixteen silver balls and those of barons six silver balls. Peeresses use the same design, except that they appear on smaller circlets than the peers' coronets.[40]

Aside from kings and queens, the only individuals authorised to wear crowns (as opposed to coronets) are the Kings of Arms, the United Kingdom's senior heraldic officials.[41] Garter, Clarenceaux, and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms have heraldic jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland;[42] Lord Lyon King of Arms is responsible for Scotland.[43] In addition, there is a King of Arms attached to each of the Order of the Bath, Order of St. Michael and St. George and the Order of the British Empire. These have only a ceremonial role, but are authorised by the statutes of their orders to wear the same crown as Garter at a coronation.[44] The crown of a King of Arms is silver-gilt and consists of sixteen acanthus leaves alternating in height, and inscribed with the words Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam (Latin: "Have mercy on me O God according to Thy great mercy", from Psalm 51).[41] The Lord Lyon King of Arms has worn a crown of this style at all coronations since that of George III. Prior to that he wore a replica of the Crown of Scotland. In 2004 a new replica of this crown was created for use by the Lord Lyon at future coronations.[45]

Other participants

Along with persons of nobility, the coronation ceremonies are also attended by a wide range of political figures, including the Prime Minister and all members of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, all Governors-General and Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth realms, all Governors of British Crown Colonies, as well as the Heads of State of dependent nations. Dignitaries and representatives from other nations are also customarily invited.[5]

Recognition and oath

George IV's train was borne by eight eldest sons of peers and by the Master of the Robes. From left to right: The King, Earl of Surrey, Marquess of Douro, Viscount Cranborne, Earl of Brecnock, Earl of Uxbridge, Earl of Rocksavage, Earl of Rawdon, Viscount Ingestre and Lord Francis Conyngham.

The Sovereign enters Westminster Abbey wearing the crimson surcoat and the Robe of State of crimson velvet.

Once the Sovereign takes his or her seat on the Chair of Estate, the Garter Principal King of Arms, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Lord High Constable and the Earl Marshal go to the east, south, west and north of the Abbey. At each side, the Archbishop calls for the Recognition of the Sovereign, with the words, "Sirs, I here present unto you ..., your undoubted King. Wherefore all you who are come this day to do your homage and service, are you willing to do the same?" After the people acclaim the Sovereign at each side, the Archbishop administers an oath to the Sovereign.[23] Since the Glorious Revolution, the Coronation Oath Act of 1688 has required, among other things, that the Sovereign "Promise and Sweare to Governe the People of this Kingdome of England and the Dominions thereto belonging according to the Statutes in Parlyament Agreed on and the Laws and Customs of the same".[46] The oath has been modified without statutory authority; for example, at the Coronation of Elizabeth II, the exchange between the Queen and the Archbishop was as follows:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?"
The Queen: "I solemnly promise so to do."
The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?"
The Queen: "I will."
The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?"
The Queen: "All this I promise to do. The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God."[23]

The monarch additionally swears an oath to preserve Presbyterian church government in the Church of Scotland. This part of the oath is taken before the coronation.[27]

Once the taking of the oath concludes, an ecclesiastic presents a Bible to the Sovereign, saying "Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God."[23] The Bible used is a full King James Bible, including the Apocrypha.[47] At Elizabeth II's coronation, the Bible was presented by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Once the Bible is presented, the Holy Communion is celebrated, but the service is interrupted after the Nicene Creed.[23]

Anointing and crowning

The 1st Marquess of Anglesey carried St Edward's Crown at George IV's coronation.

After the Communion service is interrupted, the crimson robe is removed, and the Sovereign proceeds to King Edward's Chair,[23] which has been set in a most prominent position, wearing the anointing gown. (In 1953, King Edward's Chair stood atop a dais of several steps.)[48] This mediaeval chair has a slot in the base into which the Stone of Scone is fitted for the ceremony. Also known as the "stone of destiny", it was used for ancient Scottish coronations until brought to England by Edward I. It has been used for every coronation at Westminster Abbey since. Until 1996 the stone was kept with the chair in Westminster Abbey between coronations, but it was returned that year to Scotland, where it will remain on display in Edinburgh Castle until it is needed for a coronation.[49]

Once seated in this chair, a canopy is held over the monarch's head for the anointing. The duty of acting as canopy-bearers was performed in recent coronations by four Knights of the Garter.[23] This element of the coronation service is considered sacred and is concealed from public gaze;[50] it was not photographed in 1937 or televised in 1953. The Dean of Westminster pours consecrated oil from an eagle-shaped ampulla into a spoon; the Archbishop of Canterbury then anoints the Sovereign on the hands, head, and heart.[23] The filigreed spoon is the only part of the mediaeval crown jewels which survived the commonwealth.[51] The Archbishop concludes by stating a blessing.[23]

The Sovereign is then enrobed in the colobium sindonis, over which is placed the supertunica.[23]

The Lord Great Chamberlain presents the spurs,[23] which represent chivalry.[51] The Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by other bishops, then presents the Sword of State to the Sovereign. The Sovereign is then further robed, this time putting the Robe Royal and Stole Royal on top of the supertunica. The Archbishop then delivers several Crown Jewels to the Sovereign. First, he delivers the Orb,[23] a hollow golden sphere set with numerous precious and semi-precious stones. The Orb is surmounted by a cross, representing the rule of Jesus over the world;[52] it is returned to the Altar immediately after being received.[23] Next, the Sovereign receives a ring representing the "marriage" between him or her and the nation.[53] The Sceptre with the Dove (so called because it is surmounted by a dove representing the Holy Spirit) and the Sceptre with the Cross (which incorporates Cullinan I) are delivered to the Sovereign.[54] As the Sovereign holds the two sceptres, the Archbishop of Canterbury places St Edward's Crown on his or her head. All cry "God Save the King [Queen]", placing their coronets and caps on their heads. Cannon are fired from the Tower of London.[23]

End of the ceremony

Elizabeth I wore the crown and held the sceptre and orb at the end of her coronation.

The Sovereign is then borne into the Throne. The Archbishops and Bishops swear their fealty, saying "I, N., Archbishop [Bishop] of N., will be faithful and true, and faith and truth will bear unto you, our Sovereign Lord [Lady], King [Queen] of this Realm and Defender of the Faith, and unto your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God." The peers then proceed to pay their homage, saying "I, N., Duke [Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron or Lord] of N., do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth will I bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God."[23] The clergy pay homage together, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Next, members of the Royal Family pay homage individually. The peers are led by the premier peers of their rank: the Dukes by the Premier Duke, the Marquesses by the Premier Marquess, and so forth.[23]

If there is a Queen Consort, she is crowned in a very simple ceremony immediately before homage is paid. A Queen Regnant's husband, however, is not separately crowned. The Communion ceremony interrupted earlier is resumed and completed.[5]

The Sovereign then exits the Coronation Theatre, entering St Edward's Chapel (also within the Abbey), preceded by the bearers of the Sword of State, the Sword of Spiritual Justice, the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Mercy (the last has a blunt tip).[55] The Crown and Sceptres worn by the Sovereign, as well as all other regalia, are laid at the Altar;[23] the Sovereign removes the Robe Royal and Stole Royal, exchanges the crimson surcoat for the purple surcoat[37] and is enrobed in the Imperial Robe of purple velvet. He or she then wears the Imperial State Crown and takes into his or her hands the Sceptre with the Cross and the Orb and leaves the chapel while all present sing the National Anthem.[23]


Music played at coronations is primarily classical and religiously inspired. The most oft-used piece is Zadok the Priest, a religious composition by George Frideric Handel based on texts from the Bible. The work was commissioned for George II's coronation in 1727, and has featured in every coronation since, an achievement unparalleled by any other piece. Hubert Parry's I Was Glad was written as the entrance anthem for the coronation of Edward VII, and contains a bridge section partway through so that the King's or Queen's Scholars of Westminster School can exercise their right to be the first commoners to acclaim the sovereign, shouting their traditional "vivat"s as he or she enters the coronation theatre. This anthem and Charles Villiers Stanford's Gloria in Excelsis have also been used regularly in recent coronations, as has the national anthem, God Save the Queen (or King).[56] Other composers whose music featured in Elizabeth II's coronation include Sir George Dyson, Gordon Jacob, Sir William Henry Harris, Herbert Howells, Sir William Walton, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Ralph Vaughan Williams and the Canadian-resident but English-born Healey Willan.[57] Ralph Vaughan Williams suggested that a congregational hymn be included. This was approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, so Vaughan Williams recast his 1928 setting of the English metrical version of Psalm 100, the Jubilate Deo ("All people that on earth do dwell") for congregation, organ and orchestra: the setting has become ubiquitous at festal occasions in the Anglophone world.[58]

Coronation banquet

George IV's coronation banquet was held in Westminster Hall in 1821; it was the last such banquet held.

Traditionally, the coronation was immediately followed by a banquet, held in Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster (which also serves as the home to the Houses of Parliament). The King's Champion (the office being held by the Dymoke family in connection with the Manor of Scrivelsby) would ride into the hall on horseback, wearing a knight's armour, with the Lord High Constable riding to his right and the Earl Marshal riding to his left. A herald would then proclaim,[59]

"If any person, of what degree soever, high or low, shall deny or gainsay our Sovereign Lord ..., King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, son and next heir unto our Sovereign Lord the last King deceased, to be the right heir to the Imperial Crown of this Realm of Great Britain and Ireland, or that he ought not to enjoy the same; here is his Champion, who saith that he lieth, and is a false traitor, being ready in person to combat with him; and in this quarrel will adventure his life against him, on what day soever he shall be appointed."[59]

The King's Champion would then throw down the gauntlet; the ceremony would be repeated at the centre of the hall and at the High Table (where the Sovereign would be seated). The Sovereign would then drink to the Champion from a gold cup, which he would then present to the latter.[59]

The offices of Chief Butler of England, Grand Carver of England and Master Carver of Scotland were also associated with the Coronation Banquet.[60]

Banquets have not been held since the coronation of George IV in 1821. George IV's coronation was the most elaborate in history; his brother and successor William IV eliminated the banquet, and William's desire to eliminate the costly banquet has now apparently become the custom.[61] A banquet was considered in 1902 for Edward VII but his sudden illness put a stop to the plans.[60] In 1953, the dish Coronation Chicken was created for the informal meal served to the guests.[26]

Dates of recent coronations

Enthronement as Emperor

Victoria assumed the title Empress of India in 1876.[62] A durbar (court) was held at Delhi on 1 January 1877 to proclaim the assumption of the title. Victoria did not attend personally, but was represented by the Viceroy, Lord Lytton.[63] A similar durbar was held on 1 January 1903 to celebrate the accession of Edward VII, who was represented by his brother the Duke of Connaught.[64] In 1911, George V also held a coronation durbar; however, he and his wife attended in person. Since it was deemed inappropriate for the Christian anointing and coronation to take place in a largely non-Christian nation, George V was not crowned in India; instead, he wore a crown as he entered the Durbar. British law prohibited the removal of the British Crown Jewels from the nation; therefore, a separate crown, known as the Imperial Crown of India, was created for him. The Emperor was enthroned, and the Indian princes paid homage to him. Thereafter, certain political decisions, such as the decision to move the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, were announced at the Durbar. The ceremony was not repeated, and the imperial title was abandoned by George VI in 1948 (though India had become independent a year earlier).[65]

See also


  1. ^ Bates, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Prestwick, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Phillips, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  4. ^ a b Griffiths, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. ^ a b c d e Royal Household. "Coronation". Royal events and ceremonies. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  6. ^ a b "Monarchs of Great Britain and the United Kingdom (1707–2003)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  7. ^ Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  8. ^ "Monarchs of England (924x7–1707)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  9. ^ Royal Household. "Accession". Royal events and ceremonies. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  10. ^ "England: Anglo-Saxon Consecrations: 871–1066". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  11. ^ Churchill, Winston (1966). The Birth of Britain p.134. Dodd, Mead.
  12. ^ Strong, Coronation, p72
  13. ^ Ridgeway, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  14. ^ Morrill, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  15. ^ Keefe, Thomas K., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  16. ^ Spigelman, J.J. (8 October 2002). "Becket and Henry II: Exile". Fourth Address in the Becket Lecture Series to the St Thomas More Society, Sydney. Sydney: Supreme Court of New South Wales. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  17. ^ Strong, Coronation, pp xxx–xxxi, although the dates of the coronations of three queens are unknown
  18. ^ van Houts, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  19. ^ Strong, pp xxx–xxxi
  20. ^ Woolley, Coronation Rites, p199
  21. ^ See for example, The Times, 29 October 1952, p4
  22. ^ Strong, Coronation, p433–435
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Kershaw, Simon (2002). "The Form and Order of Service that is to be performed and the Ceremonies that are to be observed in The Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Abbey Church of St. Peter, Westminster, on Tuesday, the second day of June, 1953". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  24. ^ Yvonne Demoskoff. "Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Attendants". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  25. ^ a b Velde, François. "Order of Precedence in England and Wales". Heraldica. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  26. ^ a b "50 facts about the Coronation". Buckingham Palace press releases. 2003-05-23. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  27. ^ a b Maer, Lucinda; Gay, Oonagh (27 August 2008). "The Coronation Oath" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  28. ^ Hilliam, Crown, Orb & Sceptre, p16
  29. ^ Hilliam, Crown, Orb & Sceptre, p48
  30. ^ Strong, Coronation, p205
  31. ^ Strong, Coronation, p337
  32. ^ Strong, Coronation, p208
  33. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica (1911), Lord High Steward
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  57. ^ "Coronation Music". Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  58. ^ Music for the Coronation, p306
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