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The San Francisco Sunday Call
Mounting Britain’s Throne COBtONATHiDN CEREMONIES AMD) CUSTOMS WHICH HAVE JUST WOW MAWN THE EYES/ Off ALL THE WOffiJL© / Samuel James Hume London, Saturday. "Thou has set a crown of pure gold upon his head." —Psalms. NOT a century and a half ago you might have heard our ancestors in some New England village cheering "God save King George!" as heartily and lustily as they shouted it during the last few days in the streets of London. True, we have eschewed all the regal trappings, de nounced kings and royalties, and our chief executives have vied with one another. in giving to the nation ex amples of democratic simplicity. How ever, the love of show, the wonderful fascination which pageantry has for all of us Is eternal in the human breast, no matter how outward observances may belle it, and so it is but natural 'that we turned with somethi »g more than ordinary Interest to view the coronation of Great Britain's king king whose subjects are our brothers in blood and language, who is the of ficial head of the greatest empire of modern times and monarch of domains so vast that on them the Bun never sets. Although scripture does not state that Saul, the first Jewish king, was crowned, yet we read later In refer-* ence to David, or rather Job, that he subdued Rabbah. arid that after the victory the crown of Rabbah was taken and placed on David's head. The most ancient form of inaugura tion consisted merely in the election of a new sovereign by the elders of the nation, after which he was elevated on the shields of the soldiers and carried by them among the people. State dig nitaries were finally substituted for the eoldlers, and as the civilization of western Europe emerged from semi barbarism thrones became more firmly established and greater importance be -4 gan to attach to the Installation of the monarch and a more elaborate cere ,' mony naturally : evolved. It does not ' appear who ; was\ the '>. first Christian^ prince to be anointed and crowned by the bishops of .the'church, but we do know that the imposition of the crown or diadem was no new thing to western nations, and after the emperors be came Christian their inauguration would naturally be accompanied with sacred rites and a blessing at the hands of the chief bishop. The earliest re corded coronation Is that of Leo the Great at Rome, 457 A. D.. while the earliest recorded instance in western Europe of an ordination of a king at the hands of a bishop Is that of Aldan, king of the British Scots, by Saint Co lumba In 574 A. P. In 800 Charle magne was crowned with, great pomj» .by the Pope In St. Peter's. Home. The French kings were crowned at Rhelms, the monarchs of Spain ac Toledo and Madrid; of Poland at Gruzen; of Hun gary at Pressburg; of Russia at Mos cow; of Denmark at Frledericksburg. and of Sweden at.Upsala. The ancient kings of Ireland were generally Inaugurated on the summit of one of the sacred hills. In Scotland the kings of old were Inducted on the sacred stone of Scone, which was after ward brought by Edward from Scotland and now rests In the coronation chair of England. King Arthur of round table fame was twice crowned. Coming from the dim ..shadows of legendary history into historical times, we know that Ethelstan, the first monarch" of England, was crowned ■at Kingston by Anthelin, 925 A. D. We know that the , ceremonies attendant on ' the Investi tures of the king, symbolical In their nature, have been handed ■, down .■ from the Jewish ritual observed on' such occasions. The order of coronation of the kings of England is the oldest in Christen dom, having been in use for more than 900 years. On the English -ceremony was founded the inauguration ritual of the kings of France. t&BKB&U \ : The i robes, \ the; swords, the . scepter and ; other objects constituting the, re galia are all symbolical of spiritual and temporal powers,; which appertain . to the king as the head of church andy state. Many .of the old pageants and festivities once connected with the cor onation have died out. but very few changes have been made' in the actual ' rites of the ■ installation ' ceremony. After the reformation the Anglican service was substituted for ; the mass, but with a few slight changes ; the service Is the same which has been per formed ■ over all the sovereigns . that have ever worn the crown of England. To Westminster abbey, rich in historic associations; i the scene of so many great events In the nation's history, the English sovereigns have been conduct ed In state to be formally invested with the ancient regalia and solemnly crowned in the presence of the high dignitaries of the nation and the rep resentatives of the people. Here a platform called the theater is erected in the choir between , the transept and on it are set the thrones for the king, and queen, the king's being a few steps higher than that of his consort. The peers and peeresses are seated in the transept in strict order of precedence. Their dress Is most carefully regulated even to the length of the trains worn by < the peeresses; their coronets,' which they carry in their hands; are of plain gold unadorned with precious stones. •, No one In mourning attire In allowed to enter. On the arrival of the king the procession is placed in order. First, the choir, followed by the abbey clergy/ the prelates; and the high offi cials of state, move slowly• up _'.■' the church to the accompaniment \of the opening anthem. The regalia la borne in front of the /king by; the peers, , who have been especially as signed to the i duty; the four swords are carried immediately before him and he, bare headed and wearing his rich robe of state of purple velvet, edged with ermine, is supported on one side by the bishop of Durham ; and on the other by the bishop of Bath and Wells. The queen, also in i her, robes. of i state \ and L wearing a circlet of gold adorned with large diamonds, and 1 very fine pearls, ■ is also attended by two bish ops. - When the king and queen have taken their places in the I theater, the service commences. At i the conclusion >of, the anthem ; the ; archbishop : of *; Canterbury,' who has the exclusive right of officiat ing, ascends the platform and com mences the ceremony. - Passing in turn to i all the i four sides ?of •;the;; platform, he puts the question to the people, while the king rises and faces in the direction in .which ".) he; is 'speaking. The -arch bishop then says, "I;here present to you, —— —[ -—- ——, the rightful Inher itor of the crown of this realm; where- ore,; all •ye "< that ; are ; come; this may. to do your homage service and bounder) duty; are ye willing to do the same?" After a moment's pause, the answer bursts forth with loud acclamation. After the fourth and last time, the roll of drums mingles with the voices of the assembly, and a flourish of trum pets adds to the impresslveness of the scene. At the coronation of William the Conqueror, his soldiers, who were without the cathedral, misinterpreting the meaning of these cries, at once commenced to fire the buildings in the Westminster district. After the an them the king advances to the altar and presents the first oblation, which consists of an altar cloth of cloth oi gold and an ingot of gold of one pound weight The litany and the ante-com munion service follow, and then the sermon, during which the king sits cov ered. The two bishops stand one on either side of him, the lord great cham berlain stands on his left, and the four lords bearing the four swords on his right. ■'""..-. At the conclusion of the sermon the king passes to the altar, where the coronation oath is administered to him by the archbishop. Then,' laying aside his heavy mantle, he seats himself in St. Edward's chair, known as the cor onation chair, containing the famous stone of Scone, and which Is placed near the altar and facing it A rich canopy of silk or cloth of gold is held over him by four knights of the gar ter, and the ceremony of the unction Is then performed. The dean of West minster pours some of the consecrated' oil from the golden ampulla into the spoon, which the archbishop takes and anoints the king with the oil, making the slim of the cross on his head and on the palms of both his hands. He f» invested with the golden spurs; the sword of state Is girded on him; the imperial mantle of cloth of gold Is placed about his shoulders and the orb and scepter delivered Into his hands, Then the archbishop takes St. Ed ward's crown from the altar and sol 'mnly places it on the king's head. At .he same moment the peers put on their coronets anil the kings at arms their crowns; the air is rent with cheers, the drums roll, the trumpets sound and In a few seconds is heard the boom .of the' royal: salute being fired at the Tower. Then the Te Deum beln»T sung, the king takes the throne on '.he platform, where he receives the homage of the peers. Meanwhile the treasurer of the king's household, attended by the gar ter king at arms and the usher of the black rod, mounts the platform and, going to the three sides of it, throws the. coronation medal amongst the gathered assembly and a terrific scram ble ensues. High born lords and la idles," dignified statesmen In official full dress, generals In gorgeous uni form, dowagers 'resplendent in feath- v:l\ , ' .. ers and diamonds, and learned Judges In full >■ bottomed wigs, all . tumble over one ■ another and fight - fiercely for I the possession of these ; souvenirs. Obliv ious for the time being of the stately • ceremonial at which ; theyi are . assist ing,: they ' scramble; together for« them and ' dive, under ' chairs and benches ;to catch any . that may ; have '*' perchance rolled away for all-< the world like street urchins.' scrambling for £ coppers. ; Then! follows the anointing, investi ture } and coronation : of the ■ queen con- ; sort, performed by .the« archbishop .' of York. '•; He t. crowns i her with J St. Edgl tha's l crown,-. and as he places .it ; upon her l head . the peeresses ; put on * their coronets/the final benediction is pro ; nounced ,by the | archbishop ' of Canter-"" : bury and., the + ceremony -; is s concluded. The king i«ia queen resume their robes of state and, wearing their crowns, set out on their return to the palace. The regalia of today can not boast of very high antiquity,' most of it having been made for the coronation Of Charles 11. The ancient names for those por tions which were lost or destroyed dur ing the commonwealth have, however, been retained, and |an attempt made even to retain the ancient forms of the symbols. As Charles was unmarried the crown for the queen consort was not provided until later. It was made for Marie d'Este, wife of James 11, and cost $550,000. There are scepters for the king and queen; St. Edward's staff, which is carried before the* sovereign; the orb; the bracelets; the spurs and the four swords; Curtana; the point less sword of Mercy; the sword of Jus tice to the Spirituality, and the sword of Justice to the Temporality. The ring Is usually made afresh for each monarch. The ampulla, which contains the con secrated oil, is a vessel of finely chased gold In the form of an eagle, standing on a pedestal and having outstretched wings. The body of the bird is hollow. The head screws off about the middle of the neck to allow the oil to be in- troduced, and the head Is also hollow, with an opening in the beak to permit the oil to be poured through it into the spoon. s;.-'-. This .' ampullaV is i believed Hto .: have been in use at all '- coronations ; since the reign of Henry IV, and' there is a curious legend attached "\ to it. When Thomas a'Becket was in banish ment in : France ." he was ; praying ; one ' night in a church at Sens, when the Virgin Mary suddenly appeared and de livered him a golden eagle and a small vial of stone : or glass, assuring him , that any king of England anointed with ; the : oil contained ,in \ them would ] prove to '-■ be }a ; merciful ruler X and a ' :valiant; champion of the church. V- The word the • chronicler uses; for "champion," rendered "r literally, would ; mean '. "prize '. fighter," '■ a j curious ' - ex* > presslon to attribute to a sacred person. He was commanded to consign these precious objects to a monk at Poitiers who would conceal them in a large stone In the church of St. Gregory. And then the archbishop died and no one seems to have known of these things until long after it was discovered to a holy man by a revelation. He brought the golden eagle to the duke of Lancas ter, by whom It was sent to the Black prince. He caused it to be conveyed to the. tower and to be kept safely in a strong chest, but being put on one side It was not discovered until 1399, when Richard II caused an Inventory to be taken of the things then in the tower. Then the eagle and vial were found together with a manuscript in the handwriting of Thomas a'Becket attesting to their authenticity. So Richard, deeply Impressed, applied to the archbishop of Canterbury for per mission to be again anointed with the new found oil. This Arundel refused. A few months later, however, on Rich ard's deposition, -it was used at the coronation of his rival, Henry IV. The crown of biblical history was probably merely a circlet of gold, while the thrice refused crown which Mark Antony offered to Caesar in the Roman rorum was not a crown at all, but a simple fillet of wool such as the priests wore In token of their office. The im perial state crown worn by George V is composed in. the following manner: It has a velvet cap lined with silk and. an ermine border. Above this is a band of Jewels edged on both sides by a row of pearls, on the upper edge of which rest four Maltese crosses Patee, alternating with four fleur de Us. These are all entirely covered with diamonds. Each fleur de lis has a large ruby in the center. The Maltese crosses have emerald centers, excepting the front cross, which carries a magnifi cent ruby. Above the crosses rise four imperial arches in the shape of oak leaves and acorns of diamonds set in silver, which meet in the center of the crown and support a mound with a cross on its summit. With the excep tion of a rose cut sapphire in the cen ter of the cross, the stones here are all either brilliants or rose diamonds. The total of the jewels in the crown is one large ruby irregularly polished, one large broad spread sapphire, 18 sap phires, 11 emeralds, 4 rubies, 1,363 bril liant diamonds, 147 table diamonds, 4 drop shaped pearls and 273 rubies. The great ruby was presented to Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward 111, by his father in law, Pedro, the count of Castile, in return for great service which the prince had rendered him. It had as well a most interesting his tory before the time it came into the hands of the Black Prince. A number of curious customs con nected with other coronations have died out during the last century. On« la particular Is of Interestthe king* champion. The champion of the king was an officer whose business it was at the coronation to ride into West minster hall at the time of the ban quet following the coronation, fully armed, and throw down his gauntlet by way of challenge, pronouncing by a herald that if any man shall deny or gainsay the king's title to the crown he is then ready to defend It in single mortal combat, eta This done, the king drinks to him, sending him a gilt cup full of wine, which the champion drinks, and has the cup for his fee. He also had for a present the suit of armor, the great courser, with its har ness and all the trappings of gold which were pertinent to his office of champion. -'">,'* J The duke of Norfolk, a hereditary earl marshal, has more to do with the arrangements for a coronation than al most any one else. The dean and chap ter of Westminster have the right of instructing the king in the rites and ceremonies of the coronation. To the archbishop of Canterbury falls the honor of crowning the monarch; to the constable of England of receiving the regalia at the commencement of the ceremony; to the lord great chamberlain of assisting at the king's toilet the morning of the coronation, for which service he receives as a present the king's "nighty." Lord Grey de Ruthven carries the spurs, and so on through the various numerous duties connected with the ceremonial. _ . King George V is the thirty-eighth ruler to be crowned In Westminster. De scendant of a famous house, ruler of a great empire and monarch of a might/ people, every true American says In his heart with his English brother, "God save the king!"