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British RoyalsFeaturesHistory

The Coronation Chair, an ancient symbol in the royal story

Several notable objects and regalia feature in British coronations. While the Imperial State Crown and the Orb and the Sceptre are the most discussed pieces, another item used in the Coronation ceremony is nearly 800 years old and has been used in every coronation since its creation in the thirteenth century. 

The Coronation Chair can be seen on display at Westminster Abbey when not in use for coronation ceremonies. King Edward I ordered the chair to be created in 1297- its specific purpose was to hold the Stone of Scone, a Scottish stone used in Scottish coronations until it was seized in 1296. 

It is made out of oak and features elaborate Gothic carvings. Although it was originally gilded, the gilding has since worn off. 

For some reason, the chair was varnished in preparation for Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838, severely damaging the outside of the chair. After the event, Parliament did call an inquest into how it happened, but unfortunately, the chair was then damaged further when the varnish was stripped. 

The Coronation Chair has been used by every monarch during their coronation since 1399, except for Queen Mary II. She was crowned in a joint ceremony with her husband and co-ruler, King William III, and William sat on the Coronation Chair. 

This chair is an incredibly important item used during the ceremony. This is where the monarch is sitting when they are invested with their regalia and crowned during the ceremony. 

Other chairs and thrones are often made for coronation ceremonies. The throne made for Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation is now in the Garter Throne Room at Windsor Castle, and her parents’ 1937 thrones are in the Throne Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. However, it is the Coronation Chair that is a constant at all British coronations. 

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