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Coronation Avenue

The Coronation of the British Monarch is a ceremony (specifically, initiation rite) in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia.

It corresponds to coronation ceremonies that formerly occurred in other European monarchies, which have currently abandoned coronations in favour of inauguration or enthronement ceremonies.

The coronation usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch, as it is considered a joyous occasion that would be inappropriate when mourning still continues.

This also gives planners enough time to complete the elaborate arrangements required.

For example, Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953, despite having acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952, the instant her father died.

British law states that the throne is not left vacant and the new monarch succeeds the old immediately.

The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior cleric of the Church of England.

Other clergy and members of the nobility also have roles; most participants in the ceremony are required to wear ceremonial uniforms or robes. Many other government officials and guests attend, including representatives of foreign countries.

The essential elements of the coronation have remained largely unchanged for the past thousand years. The sovereign is first presented to, and acclaimed by, the people.

He or she then swears an oath to uphold the law and the Church.

Following that, the monarch is anointed with oil, crowned, and invested with the regalia, before receiving the homage of his or her subjects.


The timing of the coronation has varied throughout British history.

The first Norman monarch, William I "The Conqueror", was crowned on the day he became King — 25 December 1066.

Most of his successors were crowned within weeks, or even days, of their accession.

Edward I was fighting in the Ninth Crusade when he acceded to the throne in 1272; he was crowned soon after his return 
in 1274.

Edward II's coronation, similarly, was delayed by a campaign in Scotland in 1307.

Henry VI was only a few months old when he acceded in 1422; he was crowned in 1429, but did not officially assume the reins of government until he was deemed of sufficient age, in 1437.

Under the Hanoverian monarchs in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was deemed appropriate to extend the waiting period to several months, following a period of mourning for the previous monarch and to allow time for preparation of the ceremony.

In the case of every monarch since, and including, George IV, at least one year has passed between accession and coronation, with the exception of George VI, whose predecessor did not die but abdicated.

The Coronation date had already been set; planning simply continued with a new monarch.

Since a period of time has often passed between accession and coronation, some monarchs were never crowned.

Edward V and Lady Jane Grey were both deposed before they could be crowned, in 1483 and 1553, respectively.

Edward VIII also went uncrowned, as he abdicated in 1936 before the end of the customary one-year period between accession and coronation.

Under British law, however, a monarch accedes to the throne the moment their predecessor dies, not when they are crowned.

The Anglo-Saxon monarchs used various locations for their coronations, including Bath, Kingston upon Thames, London, and Winchester.

The last Anglo-Saxon monarch, Harold II, was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1066; the location was preserved for all future coronations. 

The basic elements of the coronation ceremony have also remained the same for the last thousand years; it was devised in 973 by Dunstan.

When London was under the control of the French, Henry III was crowned at Gloucester in 1216; he later chose to have a second coronation at Westminster in 1220.

Two hundred years later, Henry VI also had two coronations; as King of England in London in 1429, and as King of France in Paris in 1431.

Following the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell declined the crown but underwent a coronation in all but name in his second investiture as Lord Protector in 1657.

Coronations may be performed for a person other than the reigning monarch.

In 1170, Henry the Young King, heir to the throne, was crowned as a second king of England, subordinate to his father Henry II; such coronations were common practice in mediaeval France and Germany, but this is only one of two instances of its kind in England (the other being that of Ecgfrith of Mercia in 796, crowned whilst his father, Offa of Mercia, was still alive).

More commonly, a king's wife is crowned as queen consort, though the husband of a queen regnant is never crowned. 

If the king is already married at the time of his coronation, a joint coronation of both king and queen may be performed.

The first such coronation was of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1154; seventeen such coronations have been performed, including that of the co-rulers William III and Mary II.

The most recent was that of George VI and the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1937.

If the king married, or remarried, after his coronation, or if his wife were not crowned with him for some other reason, she might be crowned in a separate ceremony.

The first such separate coronation of a Queen consort in England was that of Matilda of Flanders in 1068; the last was Anne Boleyn's in 1533.

The most recent King to wed post-Coronation, Charles II, did not have a separate coronation for his bride, Catherine of Braganza.

Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 was televised by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Originally only events as far as the choir screen were to be televised live, with the remainder to be filmed and released later after any mishaps were edited out.

This would prevent television viewers from seeing most of the main events of the coronation, including the actual crowning, live.

This led to controversy in the press, and even questions in Parliament. 

The decision was subsequently altered, and the entire ceremony televised, with the exception of the anointing and communion, which had also been excluded from photography at the previous coronation.

It was not revealed until 30 years later that the about-face was due to the personal intervention of the Queen. 
It is estimated that over twenty million individuals viewed the programme in the United Kingdom, an audience unprecedented in television history.

The coronation greatly increased public interest in televisions.

The monarch is simultaneously crowned as sovereign of multiple nations; Elizabeth II was asked, 
for example: "Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?"

edward cross crown

The sovereign is always crowned with St. Edwards Crown.  This is golden crown encrusted with diamonds, rubies, pearls, emeralds and sapphires.  It replaced the one destroyed vy Cromwell.

The crown has been used in the coronation of every Monarch since Queen Victoria, by whom it was considered too heavy, she was crowned with the lighter state Crown.

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