Scepters, throne and cross: a crowning laden with symbols

Sceptres, throne and cross a crowning laden with symbols

In addition to the three crowns worn by Charles III and Camilla, the coronation ceremony will feature symbolic objects, relics and impressive jewels embodying the longevity of the British monarchy.

The dove scepter

This scepter, made up of a golden stick, adorned with a globe, a cross and a dove at its top, represents the spiritual and pastoral power of the sovereign. It has been used at each coronation since that of Charles II in 1661. 110 centimeters long, it weighs 1.150 grams.

The scepter at the cross

Also used since 1661, the scepter represents the temporal power of the sovereign. It weighs 1.170 grams for 92 centimeters long. In 1911 the 530,2 carat Cullinan I diamond was added, so heavy that the scepter had to be reinforced to support its weight.

The royal orb

This 27,5 centimeter globe surmounted by a cross symbolizes the Christian world. It consists of a hollow gold sphere set with precious stones and pearls. A cross set with diamonds, with a sapphire in the center on one side and an emerald on the other, surmounts the globe. During the coronation ceremony, the orb is placed in the right hand of the monarch, before being placed on the altar.

The Dove Cane

Used for all queen consort coronations since 1685, this small ivory scepter surmounted by a dove will be held by Queen Camilla during the ceremony, despite calls not to use it in opposition to the ivory trade. Camilla will also be given a gold scepter surmounted by a cross.

The Bulb

This golden object in the shape of an eagle with outstretched wings contains the oil used during the anointing of the sovereign, considered the most sacred moment of the coronation. The Archbishop of Canterbury pours oil from the eagle's head into a spoon, before anointing the monarch. The figure of the eagle comes from a legend according to which the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Thomas Becket, and gave him a golden eagle and a vial of oil intended for the anointing of future kings of England.


These gold spurs, symbolizing chivalry, have been used since the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189. They are attached to the ankles of sovereigns, and in the case of queens simply placed on the altar.

The state dress

This large purple silk and velvet cape is embroidered with the monarch's monogram, ears of wheat and olive branches. Made especially for the coronation, it required 3.500 hours of work by twelve seamstresses from the Royal School of Couture.

King Edward's chair

Commissioned by King Edward I in 1300, this oak throne, over 2 meters high, has been at the center of royal coronations for over 700 years. It originally encapsulated the "Stone of Destiny", a block of sandstone symbolizing the Scottish monarchy and brought from Scotland as spoils of war by Edward I.

Briefly stolen by Scottish students during a daring undertaking in 1950, the stone was symbolically returned to Scotland in 1996, in the midst of the rise of independence sentiment. But it is agreed that she will return from Edinburgh Castle to Westminster for the coronations.

The Cross of Wales

Another symbol of the king's spiritual power, this silver cross contains fragments, according to the Vatican, of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, and offered by Pope Francis as a gift to mark the coronation of Charles.

These fragments were fashioned into a small cross appearing behind a pink rock crystal.

The Cross of Wales will be used at the head of the Coronation Procession, which will lead the newly crowned King from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock/ Salma Bashir Motiwala

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