The St Edward’s Crown, the crown used by many monarchs at the moment of coronation (including Elizabeth II) is due to be taken out of the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey for today’s coronation anniversary service.
The solid gold 253-year-old crown has not been used since 1953. Ordinarily, after the Monarch is crowned with the St Edward’s crown (though many chose to be crowned with other crowns), it is never used again during that Monarch’s reign and the Imperial State Crown is used in such events as the State Opening of Parliament.
The Dean of Westminster, The Very Rev Dr John Hall, said the crown would provide “a powerful symbol of the moment of coronation”.
He told The Telegraph: “I think having the crown on the altar and the ampulla there, those are extraordinary and it will be wonderful to have them there, to have that central focus of St Edward’s Crown just feet away from St Edward’s shrine, where he is buried.”
The Ampulla is also going to be present at today’s service. The Ampulla is a vessel of fine gold in the shape of an eagle and is the oldest piece in the Coronation jewels (dating back to the 14th century). It contains the holy oil which is used to anoint the Sovereign. The head unscrews to admit the oil which is poured out through the beak.
Today’s coronation service at Westminster Abbey will be attended by many members of the Royal Family and will begin at 11am.
The Royal Family will travel by car both ways, an unusual choice, omitting the usual carriage procession one way.
The Duchess of Cambridge will also be attending the service today.
The decision against carriages probably was twofold. First, anytime the carriages are used their are costs involved; meaning it becomes a parade, with costumes, horses, manpower, security, tying up traffic, etc. Travelling by car is much cheaper and Her Majesty is very aware of the cost of the modern monarchy and is keen that the public get good value for their money. Secondly, the carriages are not very comfortable and if their is not going to be a major turnout to see them along the route, why subject their bodies to the rigors of the process when the Bentleys are there at a fraction of the cost, and can get them there in albeit less flashy elegance?
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