Another historic moment in the history of the United Kingdom, other Realms and Territories as well as the Commonwealth countries is unfolding as the coronation of King Charles III approaches. The name Queen Elizabeth II has become a synonym of the name monarch for the past 70 years. Those of us who were born after the 6th February 1952 know no other monarch except Elizabeth II. Her death on the 8th September 2022 paved the way for the ascendance of Prince Charles to the throne. This is a new era following the end of the longest serving monarch in the history of England.
King Charles III and his wife Camilla’s coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey in London on the 6th May 2023 and the service is expected to start at 11 am. Royal ceremonies are the most prestigious ceremonies in the world and 6000 armed forces members are expected to take part in the proceedings. This year’s coronation is expected to be much shorter than Queen Elizabeth’s coronation more than 70 years ago.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will officiate over the coronation service as he has the role of anointing the King’s hands, breast and head with holy oil. The recipe of this holy oil remains a secret though it is believed that it contains ambergris, orange flowers, roses, jasmine, and cinnamon. It is a highly symbolic service as it brings the secular and sacred world together. For example, his investiture includes the following; Royal orb which represents religious and moral authority, the Sceptre which represents power, the Sovereign Sceptre, a Rod of gold which is also topped with a white enamelled dove representing justice and mercy, and finally the archbishop of Canterbury crowns the king with St Edward’s crown. It is a great privilege for one to witness such a colourful and historic event which probably took place twice or thrice in a century.
The British Monarch holds a special leadership position in the Church of England as the Church’s Supreme governor with privileges of approving the appointment of archbishops and other church leaders. Therefore, his coronation is not just the dawn of a new era in the British Monarchy but also in the Church of England. I still remember that at my licensing as the new chaplain of St Philip and St James I had to pay my allegiance to the monarch. King Charles III will also be playing the role of the defender of faith of the Church of England and this is the reason why in our intercessions at our eucharist service we will also pray for him together with the archbishops and bishops of the church of England. In joining the rest of the Church of England, the chaplaincy of St Philip and St James will be live treaming the coronation service at church. Tea will be provided as well as a bring and share lunch for those attending the live streaming event. We received a donation of a high-resolution projector and big screen for the event from the retired Revs Ron and Viv Larkin. Several members of the congregation have pledged to bring some food items for the day.
The following Sunday (7th May 2023), a special thanksgiving service for the coronation of the king will also be held at church at 11am and the British Vice Consul is expected to attend the service and take part in reading the Old Testament lesson. The gospel reading of the day is Luke 22:24-34 and it is important because it reminds us that though the king’s position is of authority and power, he should remember that it is a position of humility, service, justice, and mercy. We pray that the king will humble himself before the authority of Jesus Christ who is King of Kings. During His three-year earthly ministry, He demonstrated to us what it means to be a humble leader. We pray that at the end of his monarchy he will leave the legacy of humility, love, and service that was left by his mother Queen Elizabeth II. May the Almighty God Save the King. I shall close with the collect for the coronation of King Charles III and his wife Camilla.
Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, bless Our Sovereign Lord, King Charles and all who are in authority under him; that they may order all things in wisdom and equity, righteousness and peace, to the honour of your name, and the good of your Church and people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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