Anointing and Crowning the Monarch: Origin and Importance


In this blog post, we will look at the history and significance of anointing and crowning the monarch, a procedure that has been conducted in Britain for over a thousand years. We will look at the historical and religious roots of coronations, the aspects and symbolism of coronations, and the present importance and future of coronations. We’ll also look at what to expect for King Charles III’s coronation, which will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023.

Anointing and Crowning the Monarch: Origin and Importance

The Origins and History of Coronations

The Ancient and Medieval Roots of Coronations

Coronations date back to ancient times and gained popularity in Europe during the early Middle Ages. They were influenced by the practices of the Roman, Byzantine, and Carolingian empires. Coronations were ritualistic ceremonies in which a crown or a similar headdress was bestowed to symbolize royal or imperial sovereignty. They were also related to various political and religious actions like oaths, anointing, enthronement, homage, parades, gift-giving, and public presentations. Coronations were typically done by a political leader or a church figure, such as a notable local bishop or even the Pope.

The Development and Decline of Coronations in Europe

Coronations were standardized, developed, and changed during the Middle Ages until gradually declining in modern times. varied countries had varied coronation traditions and variants. Some coronations focused on divine commissioning, while others focused on responsibilities to the law and the people. Some coronations were grandiose and lavish, while others were plain and modest. Also, Some coronations were open to the public, while others were exclusive and elite. Some coronations were repeated or renewed, while others were one-time-only occasions. Some coronations were necessary by law, while others were elective or symbolic.

The Origins and History of Coronations

The British Coronation as a Unique and Ancient Ritual

The British coronation is a unique and ancient process that demonstrates the monarchy’s continuity and legitimacy. King Edgar’s coronation in Bath in 953 CE was the earliest recorded coronation in Britain. On Christmas Day 1066 CE, William the Conqueror was crowned at Westminster Abbey for the first time. Since then, most kings and queens of England, and later the United Kingdom, have been anointed with holy oil and crowned with a regal crown at Westminster Abbey. The British coronation is a solemn oath taken by the king to respect the law and the Church, and to reign with dignity, wisdom, and mercy.

The presentation and investiture of numerous regalia, such as a sword, an orb, a ring, a scepter, and a gown, is also part of the British coronation. The ritual concludes with the nobility and clergy paying their respects to their ruler, followed by a march to introduce the new monarch to the people. A British coronation is a religious event that presents the British state’s political-theological worldview as a union of nations and peoples under God.

The Elements and Symbolism of Coronations

The Preparation and Procession of the Monarch

Bathing was a ritual act of purification performed on the eve of the coronation in the Middle Ages to prepare monarchs for their big day. This was followed by a vigil in the chapel of the Tower. Both of these actions were typical of how a squire became a medieval knight. In 1399 CE, the monarch invested several new knights on the eve of the coronation, who were known as the Knights of Bath (and, from 1725 CE, members of that order). On the day of the coronation, the king would ride in a great parade from Westminster Palace to Westminster Abbey, accompanied by nobles, clergy, officials, soldiers, musicians, and onlookers. The king used the procession to demonstrate their authority and splendor to their subjects.

The Monarch’s Oath and Anointing

After being presented to and acclaimed by the people, the monarch takes an oath at Westminster Abbey to uphold the laws of God and the true profession of the gospel, to uphold the established Protestant reformed religion, and to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom and its territories by their respective laws and customs. The Archbishop of Canterbury administers the oath, after which the king is anointed with holy oil on their hands, breast, and head. The anointing is both a sign of consecration and a reminder of the monarch’s priestly vocation. The anointing is performed under a canopy of gold cloth, which is lowered over the monarch’s head to keep the sacred ritual hidden from public view.

What is the official coronation logo and what does it mean?

The Monarch’s Investiture and Crowning

Following their anointing, the king is bestowed with different ornaments that represent their royal authority and majesty. A sword of state represents their power to defend justice; an orb represents their global sovereignty; a ring represents their loyalty to God and their people; a scepter with a cross represents their temporal power under God; and a scepter with a dove represents their spiritual power and clemency. The crown is the most important item of regalia, and it is put on the monarch’s head by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The crown symbolizes honor, splendor, and majesty, as well as the monarch’s obligation and accountability to God.

The Monarch’s Homage and Presentation

The king receives homage from the nobles and clergy after being crowned, who vow allegiance and fidelity to their sovereign. Following the homage is a Holy Communion ritual in which the monarch partakes of bread and wine as a sign of their communion with God and their people. The ritual concludes with a blessing and the playing of the national song. The queen then leaves Westminster Abbey in a procession through London’s streets to Buckingham Palace.

The procession allows the king to introduce themselves to their subjects as their new ruler. The coronation day culminates with the monarch and their family making a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace, where they are greeted by applauding crowds and a flypast by military aircraft.

Coronations: Their Importance and Prospects

Coronations’ Political and Religious Implications

The Coronations are more than just ceremonial events; they have political and religious ramifications for the British state and society. They support the constitutional monarchy as a governing structure that strikes a balance between tradition and democracy, stability and change, and unity and diversity. They also support the established Church of England as a national church committed to the Christian faith and principles while respecting other faiths and beliefs. Coronations are occasions for national celebration, introspection, and international recognition and diplomacy.

Modern Monarchies’ Challenges and Opportunities

Coronations are also moments for debate, criticism, adaptation, and invention. Secularism, diversity, republicanism, human rights, environmentalism, and globalization are all threats to them. They also provide chances for modernization, reform, dialogue, participation, and rejuvenation. Coronations are dynamic and growing rituals that respond to changing times and situations, rather than static or permanent ones.

Coronations: Their Importance and Prospects

Charles III’s Coronation: Expectations and Innovations

Charles III’s coronation will be the first in nearly 70 years, since that of his mother, Elizabeth II, in 1953 CE. It will be a historic occasion, ushering in a new era for the British monarchy and nation. It will also be a reflection of Charles’ personality, vision, and ideals. Charles has been noted for his strong opinions on a variety of topics, including climate change, organic farming, architecture, interfaith dialogue, and alternative medicine. He is also noted for his contentious personal life, including his divorce from Diana Spencer (late Princess of Wales) and marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles (the Duchess of Cornwall).

It is predicted that Charles will modify his coronation ritual to reflect his interests and values. For example, he may use a simpler crown or different regalia; he may invite representatives of other faiths or civil society groups; he may address the nation or the world with a speech or message; and he may incorporate elements of environmental sustainability or social justice into the ceremony or celebrations.


Finally, we have seen that anointing and crowning the king is a rite with a long and rich history in the United Kingdom. It is a ceremony that expresses the British state’s and society’s political and religious identities. It is also a ceremony that evolves and innovates to fit the demands and expectations of today’s society. The coronation of Charles III will be a historic event that will demonstrate the British monarchy’s continuity and legitimacy, as well as its relevance and responsiveness to the problems and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

For more information and Updates visit King Charles III

Leave a Comment