It is not long now until King Charles III is crowned in Westminster Abbey, watched by hundreds of people in the church and by millions of people on television on Saturday 6th May. Yet, it is less than a year since we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne of the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a Jubilee Afternoon Tea on Sunday 5th June. Now, on Sunday 7th May we shall be doing it all again to mark the coronation of King Charles III, which will take place on the Saturday.
Tickets for the Right Royal Celebrations of King Charles’ Coronation – the Afternoon Tea in The Rectory Garden are now on sale from Binkys, the Church and the Rectory, Burgh Castle Village Hall Tea Rooms and Bill Richmond of the JGI. Thanks to the generosity of the Village Voice grant and a donation from the trustees of the JGI, prices for this amazing event have been kept low: £3 for adults or children and £9 for a family ticket (for a maximum of 2 adults plus children). Let’s hope the weather is better than last year and the sun shines on us!
So, will you be watching the Coronation on TV? I hope to do just that, preparations for the following day allowing. I’ve been reading about the symbolism involved in the church service, as King Charles is anointed, crowned and enthroned, and acknowledged as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Just as the late Queen undertook preparation for her coronation; reading bible passages and reflections prepared for her by the Archbishop of Canterbury, so Charles will undertake the same kind of preparation. It is all very similar to a priest preparing for ordination.
I am looking forward to discovering what music the King has chosen for his coronation, and to praying with the Archbishop, the King and all those present for the King’s reign; that God will help the King and Queen in all they undertake on behalf of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Much of the service will be as it has been since 973 and the coronation of King Edgar in Bath, but in English now, rather than Latin.
Olive oil pressed from olives grown on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem will be used to anoint the King. When his mother was anointed, a significant part of the coronation, she wore a plain white dress as a sign of humility and in recognition of her need for God’s help in carrying out her duties as Queen. Kings in the Old Testament (before Jesus) were anointed with olive oil with God’s approval; Jesus’ name of the Christ also means “anointed one”. I believe the significant part of the coronation is when Charles is anointed, blessed and consecrated, although for many it will be when the crown is placed on his head. The King is also handed the orb– a gold globe with a cross on the top–and a sceptre, which has a cross on top too. Both are symbols of power and authority; the orb showing that the whole world is under the power of Christ’s authority and the sceptre stands for earthly authority in the service of God.
The King will also be handed a Bible. At our late Queen’s Coronation she was told that the Bible was more valuable than anything this world affords. The symbols and words, linked in with the music, clearly and deliberately connect the coronation with Christian themes and stories in the Bible. No doubt this will be a spectacular occasion; we do pomp and ceremony so well in the UK.
King Charles has had a long wait to become King due to his Mother’s strength and good health; time to consider the important aspects of what a King should be. For me, his best example and the person to imitate would be King Jesus, who had all the power and authority and yet was prepared to serve the people around him, caring for them and transforming their lives. My prayer is that King Charles will enjoy his day and then continue to work for the good of the people and the good of the planet, in every way that is open to him.