Hello again, Tweedy Fam!
Today, we're going to talk about an exciting event happening in just a few days time - King Charles's coronation on the 6th of May 2023.
First things first, did you know that coronations have been held at Westminster Abbey for over 950 years? That's right - since Edward the Confessor had the Abbey built in 1050, it has been the site of all British coronations. William the Conqueror even chose to have his coronation at the Abbey just two months after his victory over Harold at the Battle of Hastings to legitimize his reign in the eyes of the public.
Westminster Abbey gets a makeover for each new monarch, with interior furnishings and temporary external extensions necessary upgrades. For Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, an annexe was added featuring all the animals from her heraldry, and special grandstands had to be built within the Abbey to accommodate all 8,000 of her guests.
Now, let's talk about some fun activities people got up to in past coronations! Did you know that during Queen Victoria's coronation, coronation cupcakes were all the rage? These delightful treats were decorated with flags and the initials "V.R." for Victoria Regina. Maybe we'll see some coronation cupcakes at King Charles's coronation too! (I found images of some here!)
Speaking of fun facts, did you know that only three British monarchs have not had a coronation? Edward V and Lady Jane Grey were both locked in the Tower of London before their coronations, while Edward VIII abdicated the throne before he could be crowned. We wonder if King Charles is feeling a bit nervous about his own coronation!
The most sacred part of the coronation ceremony is when the monarch is anointed with chrism oil, but did you know that this part of the ceremony is closed to the public? It's so sacred that it has to be done in private, allowing the monarch to reflect on the responsibilities and duties they are undertaking.
Finally, we have a fascinating story about the anointing spoon used in coronations. This innocuous gilded silver spoon dates back to the 12th century and was even kept safe throughout the interregnum and ensuing civil war by Mr Kynnersl, the Yeoman of Charles I's wardrobe. He returned it to Charles II to use at his coronation, and it has been used in every coronation since!
...And here's one last fun fact for you - when preparing for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, it was discovered that the holy chrism oil that anointed her father had been destroyed during WWII. The apothecary that had created the special blend had since gone out of business, so a new blend was created based on an ancient recipe.
We hope you enjoyed learning some fun facts and activities from past coronations. Don't forget to keep an eye out for coronation cupcakes and other fun activities at King Charles's coronation on May 6th!