Just for Fun: We’re Celebrating Kings & Queens & All Things Coronation!
This weekend will see the coronation of Charles III and Camilla take place in Westminster Abbey. To celebrate, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite facts about coronations. Plus, a quick despatch and delivery update if you’re thinking about ordering Stikins ® name labels this bank holiday weekend.
The Jewels In The Crown – Our Favourite Facts About Coronations
Charles III and Camilla’s coronation takes place on Saturday. We’re celebrating with some amazing coronation facts, like:
- Coronations include the recognition, oath, anointing, investiture, enthronement, and homage. This sequence is mostly based on Edgar’s coronation (973), known as the Second Recension. A third was written for Stephen (1135) and a fourth for Edward II (1308).
- Edward VI had the first protestant coronation (1547). Catholic rites were restored for his half-sister Mary I (1553) – the first Queen Regnant (queen in her own right, not by marriage). James VI/I’s (1603) was the first conducted in English. Latin was used for George I’s (1714) as it was the only language he shared with the clergy.
- Westminster Abbey has been used for every coronation since 1066 (except Henry III (1216); the 9-year-old was crowned at Gloucester to avoid his French rival’s supporters). Charles III’s will be the 40th coronation at the abbey.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury usually performs the ceremony. Elizabeth I resorted to the Bishop of Carlisle after Canterbury died, catholic York refused, London earned the nickname Bloody Bonner prosecuting heretics, Winchester was arrested for an anti-protestant sermon at Mary I’s funeral, Chichester died in prison, and various others declined.
- Early monarchs chose Sundays and Christian holidays like Pentecost (Edgar), Christmas (William I), or Ascension (John). Elizabeth I’s astrologer chose a day when the stars and planets were in favourable positions. Charles II and Anne chose St George’s Day. Meteorologists predicted 2nd June would be sunny for Elizabeth II’s coronation (it rained).
- New clothes are made for each coronation except the supertunica and Robe Royal, which belonged to George IV (1821). The Robe Royal is 8.2 metres long and once belonged to Madam Tussaud’s Museum. Coronation clothing includes the crimson surcoat and Robe of State, white anointing gown, white shroud tunic and gold supertunica, scarlet Robe Royal and gold Stobe Royal (scarf), and purple surcoat and Imperial Robe.
- The coronation anthem (Zadok the Priest) is sung during anointing. Composed by Handel for George II (1727), it has featured in every coronation since – although the words have appeared in every coronation since 973.
- Anointing uses a secret mixture of oils poured onto the Coronation Spoon. Used since 1349, the spoon is the only medieval Crown Jewel left (having been sold before the set was destroyed in 1649).
- The Coronation Chair (used since 1399) contains the Stone of Destiny. Used for Scottish coronations at Scone Abbey, the stone was taken by Edward I in 1296. Monarchs sat on the stone itself before a wooden panel was added. In 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland and is kept with the Scottish Crown Jewels in Edinburgh Castle.
- During investiture, the monarch receives golden spurs (for chivalry) and bracelets (for sincerity and wisdom), the Sword of State, and the Crown Jewels, including the Sovereign’s Orb (1661), Ring (1831), and Sceptre (1661).
- Monarchs are crowned with St Edward’s Crown. Made for Charles II (1661), it is named after its medieval counterpart. It is 30cm tall, solid gold, features 444 stones, and weighs 2.23 kilograms. It is quickly swapped for the lighter Imperial Crown.
- If a king is married, a joint coronation may be held. Charles III and Camilla’s will be the eighteenth such ceremony. Separate, smaller coronations for queens are held if a king marries later (or remarries). The first was for Matilda of Flanders (1068) and the last for Anne Boleyn (1533). George IV banned his estranged wife from his coronation (1821).
- Coronations were first recorded by artists’ drawings. Re-enactments were also performed. Edward VII’s coronation (1902) was the first to be photographed (by Sir Benjamin Stone who also took the first photos of the recognition, presentation of swords, and homage at George V’s coronation in 1911). Elizabeth II’s was the first to be televised.
- Coronations don’t always run smoothly.
- At George III’s coronation (1761) the Bishop of Rochester almost dropped the crown; later, a large jewel fell out. The congregation started eating and their clattering cutlery caused widespread laughter. The queen found the Duke of Newcastle using her portable toilet in St Edward’s Chapel. At the coronation banquet, 3,000 candles showered guests with ash, while the Lord Steward’s horse repeatedly walked backwards into the hall.
- George IV’s (1821) lavish costume left him perspiring heavily. The choir left early. The oath manuscript went missing so George signed an order of service card instead. The banquet featured 2,000 candles in 26 chandeliers, which dripped wax onto the guests below.
- Victoria's coronation (1838) was under-rehearsed. St Edward’s Chapel was full of sandwiches and wine bottles. The Bishop of Durham gave the Orb at the wrong moment, while the Bishop of Bath and Wells turned over two pages of the order of service and Victoria had to be called back. The Coronation Ring was too big, so a smaller copy was made. Canterbury forced it onto the wrong finger and Victoria struggled to take it off. 88-year-old Lord John Rolle tripped and rolled down a number of stairs as he went to pay homage.
- Elizabeth II made a mistake so minor (forgetting to curtsey at the north pillar) only Canterbury noticed. However, she struggled to move in her heavy outfit, reportedly asking Canterbury to “get me started!”.
Despatch & Delivery This Bank Holiday Weekend
This weekend is a Bank Holiday weekend, which means we will be closed on Monday (8th May). So here’s a quick despatch and delivery update if you’re about to order Stikins ® name labels.
Our last print run before the weekend will take place at 3pm this afternoon. So if you order by 3pm, we’ll get your name labels printed and posted this afternoon. If you order after 3pm, your name labels will be printed and posted on Tuesday 9th May.
All orders are posted by Royal Mail’s first class service. Royal Mail aim to deliver first class post on the next day but items can take a few days extra. We allow seven working days for items to be delivered.