Royal History: The Coronation of King George V
|King George V's coronation. Image: Wikimedia Commons|
An English sovereign is placed in legal possession of his rights by the Act of Settlement, by his proclamation, by his acceptance in the Privy Council, and by the oath of allegiance taken by the two houses of Parliament. The position is one of enormous responsibility. The Lords and Commons are his advisers; in his name and by his authority power to act is given to judges, magistrates, the colonial parliaments, the navy, the army and all the vast brances of the civil service.
His personal influence with his Minister, as himself the permanent head o the State, should be very great. The effects of his personal character and example are unlimited.
Kings in like manner were annointed with oil. They were annointed on the head, breast and arms as a sign of glory, holiness and courage. The oil used upon kings is an outward sign whereby he received the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit. It was from having been annointed that our kings have received the style "Del Gratia," by the Grace of God, which, according to one medieval writer, could never be given to anyone else in the laity.
The coronation oath was for several centuries taken on a Latin copy of the Four Gospels.
The service as used for King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra was somewhat shorted from previous forms, and may be divided into 19 sections, namely: the preparation, the entrance, the recognition, the litany, communion services, the sermon, the oath, the annointing, the presenting of the spurs and sword, as well as the offering and redeeming of the sword, the investing with the armilia and imperial cope, the investiture of the ring, sceptre with the cross, scepter with the dove and the gloves, putting of the crown by the archbishop of Canterbury, the benediction and te deum, the homage, the coronation of the queen by the archbishop of York, the communion, the recess.
For the coronation service itself, of course, great preparations are needed in the Abbeyl for four five or five months previously it is placed in the hands of the Lord Chamberlain, for the erection of galleries wherever they can be erected; the peers occupy the south transept, the peeresses the northl the princesses and their suites the south side of the choir, especially privileged persons in the north.
About six months before the coronation the Earl Marshal (Duke of Norfolk) opens his court at St. James' Palace for consideration of claims for special offices in the great ceremony which has grown up in the course of centuriesl he is supported by the great officers of State and Court, and other influential and distinguished personages.
(An abridged version of an article written by the Venerable W.M. Sinclair, Archdeacon of London and Canon of St. Paul's)
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