Last week, The Archbishop of Canterbury received the King James Bible that will be presented to The King during the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey.
It comes after the announcement that the Cross of Wales will lead Their Majesties in the Coronation Procession.
The Bible was commissioned by The Archbishop of Canterbury and is hand-bound in leather and decorated in gold leaf, based on the authorised translation of the text by James I in 1604 and published in 1611.
The holy book will seen during the service when it is presented to The King, who will place his hand upon the Bible as he takes the Coronation Oath. The King is the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Such a commission is line with other Coronations, dating back to the joint Coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689. The earliest produced Coronation Bible in the Royal Collection is from the Coronation of George III in 1761; since then a new Bible has been produced for each ceremony.
At the 1953 coronation, when Elizabeth II was presented with the Bible, the following words were said: ‘We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.’
The Coronation Bible was brought to Lambeth Palace, where the team who produced the Bible met with the Archbishop and spoke with him about its production. It will be kept at Lambeth Palace until it is taken to Westminster Abbey in preparation for the ceremony.
Four copies of the Bible have been made. Following the Coronation, the Bible used in the service will be kept in the Lambeth Palace Library in an exhibition to mark the historic event, while three identical copies have been produced: one will be given to His Majesty as a personal copy, and the other two will be placed in the archives of Westminster Abbey and Oxford University Press.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, said: ‘The Coronation will be a service of Christian worship, deeply rooted in the wisdom we find in Scripture. The Bible which will be presented to His Majesty The King is a reminder that Scripture is not just at the heart of the responsibilities he undertakes at the Coronation, but at the heart of Christian life. On this momentous occasion, the Bible will be the first and most important gift offered to The King. The Scriptures offer a guide and light to all – and I pray that His Majesty will continue to find them in these living words.’
The Coronation Bible will be just a small part of a much larger day on May 6th.
The Coronation Service will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11am. Their Majesties will arrive at the Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as ‘The King’s Procession’, travelling in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. They will return to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach.
The procession route will feature the largest military ceremonial operation in 70 years.
The service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will reflect the Monarch’s role today and look towards the future, whilst being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry. Buckingham Palace confirmed that His Majesty had commissioned 12 new pieces of music for the service.
We will also see a range of Coronation regalia during the ceremony, including the Orb, the Sceptre and the Sovereign’s ring. Buckingham Palace have confirmed that The Queen Consort’s regalia will also be seen: Her Majesty with be given the Queen Consort’s ring, the Queen Consort’s rod with dove and the Queen Consort’s Sceptre.
We know that The King will wear St Edward’s Crown, whilst The Queen will wear Queen Mary’s Crown. Charles will also swear the traditional oath to govern his people according to the relevant laws, as well as to defend the Protestant faith.