The annual service of epiphany was held today at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace. This service takes place every year on the 6th January and involves the traditional offering of gold, frankincense and myrrh by two Gentlemen Ushers to The Queen on behalf of Her Majesty.
According to the Bible, this ceremony symbolises the offerings made to Jesus by the Magi.
The origins of this service can be dated back to the time of the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century. Psalm 72 states that the three Wise Men who visited baby Jesus were kings. It has therefore been deemed appropriate by previous monarchs for the head of state to make an offering at the Epiphany service every year. For centuries the monarch attended the service in person and in the fifteenth century Epiphany became a crown-wearing day.
The Queen is never personally present at the ceremony. Instead, two Gentlemen Ushers to The Queen are accompanied by members of The Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard to the Royal Closet of the Chapel Royal. The Ushers dress in full service dress for the ceremony.
Her Majesty is currently at Sandringham with the Duke of Edinburgh and will reside there until February.
Photo credit: James Stringer via photopin
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