The King is to continue the tradition of reusing historic items of clothing (vestments) at next week’s Coronation.
Worn by his ancestors, the vestments will feature as Charles is crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Coronation Chair.
The oldest piece to be worn was used by George IV at his crowning of 1821: the Imperial Mantle.
The Imperial Mantle has been worn by George V, George VI and Elizabeth II, and is made of cloth of gold, gold, silver and silk thread, silk, gold bullion fringe, with a gold eagle-shaped clasp.
Woven with roses, thistles, shamrocks, crowns, eagles and fleurs-de-lis, the mantle was made by John Meyer with Royal Goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell suppyling the gold eagle clasp.
The Supertunica is the next oldest piece, created for George V and his 1911 coronation. In the form of a full-length, sleeved gold coat, it is worn under the Imperial Mantle. Its design harks back to those of mediaeval coronations, with small embroidered leaf details and is largely based on religious vestments, which symbolises humility in the midst of a grand service.
Both The King’s mother and grandfather used the same tunic.
The Sovereign is invested with the Supertunica following the anointing with oil, and it is fastened with the Coronation Sword Belt, which had belonged to George VI. A sword is later fixed into the belt before being removed and placed on the altar.
The Monarch will also be invested with the Colobium Sindonis after the anointing, also created for George VI. The white linen shift-like tunic has a plain collar fastened with a single button, ‘intended to represent a priests’ alb’. This will be the first of the items to be used of this group.
We will additionally see the Coronation Glove, made specifically for the right hand. The King has decided to reuse the Coronation Glove made for George VI, ‘in the interests of sustainability and efficiency’, the palace explains.
Used when Charles holds the Sovereign’s Sceptre, he will remove the white leather glove it before processing to the Throne Chair, making it the last item of the group to be used.
It was presented by the Worshipful Company of Glovers, made by Dents, and embroidered by Edward Stillwell & Company in 1937 with the British floral emblems of the rose, thistle, shamrock oak leaves and acorns. The back of the hand features an embroidered ducal coronet in red velvet above the coat of arms of the family of the Dukes of Newcastle, while the wrist is lined with red satin.
It has received conservation treatment ahead of the big day this week.