After being accompanied by thousands of military personnel to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation ceremony, The King and Queen will be led by the Cross of Wales – featuring two fragments from Jesus’ crucifixion cross – inside the Abbey.
Today, the cross was blessed by Archbishop Andrew at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno, along with the staff it will be attached to.
The Cross of Wales was given to the Church of Wales by the then-Prince in 2021, as the institution marked its centenary.
The Cross of Wales is crafted from recycled silver bullion, which was provided by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and a stand of Welsh slate.
There is also an inscription on the back of the Cross, which reads: ‘Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain’ in Welsh, and translates as: ‘Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.’
Made of silver, the cross features the traditional hallmark in recognition of this. The London hallmark (a leopard’s head) was applied by The King in November 2022, when visiting The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.
However, the Cross has since undergone a new addition: two shards of the True Cross – what is believed to be the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified – has been gifted by Pope Francis to King Charles III for his coronation.
It is said the mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine I, found the three crosses between 326AD and 328AD, one of which was said to have Jesus’ name on it. Tiny fragments, shaped like crosses themselves, have since been shared among Catholic organisations around the world.
The shards from Pope Francis have been set into the larger silver cross behind a rose crystal gemstone in the centre.
Charles has long been a proponent of inter-faith dialogue, not only amongst different religions, but amongst the Christian faith too. This Papal gift is a reflection of this work.
The Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, Mark O’Toole, said: ‘With a sense of deep joy we embrace this Cross, kindly given by King Charles, and containing a relic of the True Cross, generously gifted by the Holy See.
‘It is not only a sign of the deep Christian roots of our nation but will, I am sure, encourage us all to model our lives on the love given by our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We look forward to honouring it, not only in the various celebrations that are planned, but also in the dignified setting in which it will find a permanent home.’