What is popularly known as the Coronation ceremony- -a ceremony the stately and impressive magnificence of which is most admirably appropriate to the dignity and greatness of a world-w i d e Empire-had its origin in the very ancient custom of anointing with oil the newly elected Sovereign. While this rite, less familiarly known as sacring or hallowing, has always been retained as an essential, if, indeed, it be not the most essential and significant, as it is the most solemn part of the ritual, the service or ceremony itself has., with the lapse of years, been gradually elaborated, every additional rite and observance increasing and intensifying its solemnity, and at the same time investing it with a deeper and more wonderful symbolism. There is now no service in the world more magnificent or more beautiful than that witnessed at the crowning of the Head of the British Empire.
In this gorgeous yet solemn ceremony the Queen-consort plays a conspicuous and picturesque, though naturally a secondary, part. There is an essential difference between a Queen and a Queen-consort; and only once in the annals of England have we had an actual King and an actual
Queen on the throne together. William and
Mary reigned as joint Sovereigns, for William, it will be remembered, declined to be Regent, and Mary refused to accept the Crown, except with her husband; and so, as Mr. Cyril Davenport remarks in his sumptuous work, "The English Regalia," "it became in fact necessary that they should become joint Sovereigns."
But the Queen-consort has always from time immemorial shared in the honours conferred upon her Royal partner, her rank and dignity being fittingly recognised and acclaimed, the supreme honour, that of assuming the Crown of England and the Orb-being reserved for the King alone.
The world-famous Koh-i-noor diamond, which adorns the centre of the Queen-consort s crown at the Coronation, shown in two positions, one showing the depth, the other the face of the stone are diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and large pearls. This
Fig. 2. "The Queen-consort's Orb." The jewels that adorn it orb is smaller than that of the King
The essential difference between an actual Queen and a Queen-consort is significantly emphasised by the fact that the latter possesses no State crown. As in the case of Queen Alexandra, the crown of Queen Mary has been specially made. A Queen-consort, moreover, has no definite design of crown pertaining to her, though there is a curious unwritten law that, whatever its form, it shall not be adorned with any coloured gems, whose brilliant hues enhance so greatly the rich magnificence of the Imperial State Crown. Queen Alexandra had a very elaborate but most graceful diadem with eight semi-arches supporting a jewelled orb and cross-patee, whilst four crosses, in one of which the priceless Koh-i-noor was set, and fleurs-de-lis sprang alternately from the circlet (Fig. 1). Diamonds were the only gems used, no fewer than 3,688 contributing their lustre to this truly queenly adornment. Queen Mary has selected an exquisite, beautifully chaste design, also carried out entirely in diamonds, including the Koh-i-noor, set in platinum in such fashion that no metal work will be visible.
Next in importance to the Crown is the Orb. This is really the emblem of independent sovereignty, and was used as such by the Roman emperors, from whom the custom was borrowed by our Saxon k ings. The smaller Orb, made for Queen Mary II. under
Fig. 6. The Coronation Ring of Queen
Victoria, enlarged by King Edward and used by him at his Coronation the special circumstances already alluded to, is, however, so generally, though erroneously, known as the "Queen-Consort's Orb" as to justify a word of description. As will be seen from our illustration (Fig. 2), it has a fillet or girdle outlined with fine large pearl; and richly adorned with rubies, sapphires and emeralds. A graceful arch, similarly ornamented, surmounts the upper half, and at the top a cross-patee rests immediately on the Orb, iridescent with rubies, sapphires and diamonds-a truly regal jewel
There are three sceptres which may be quite properly included in the Queen's Regalia, though only two, of course, are used during the actual ceremony. These are (i) the Queen's Ivory Rod, (ii) the Sceptre with the Cross, and (iii) the Sceptre with the Dove. The Ivory Sceptre (Fig 3) was made for Queen Mary of Modena, consort of James II., from a model of one that was destroyed, together with most of the Regalia, during the Commonwealth by order of Parliament. It measures thirty-seven and a half inches in length, and is made in three pieces, the j unctions being concealed by collars of gold. The top of the sceptre bears a mound and cross-patee of gold surmounted by a Dove with closed wings. The mounds, one at the top of the sceptre and one also at the foot, are enriched with cham-pleve enamels of the rose, thistle, harp, and fleur-de-lis.
The Queen's Sceptre with the Cross (Fig. 4) dates from the Restoration. It is all of gold ornamented with diamonds. The cross, mound or globe, fleur-de-lis, and fillet-all are thickly encrusted with the glittering gem. From about the middle of the shaft downwards is a broad space richly ornamented with sprays of
Fig. 3. The Ivory Sceptre. This was made for Mary, Queen of James II., after the model of that destroyed during the Commonwealth. Fig. 4. The Sceptre with the Cross dates from the Restoration. It is borne in the right hand during the coronation ceremony. Fig. 5. The Sceptre with the Dove, which is borne in the Queen's left hand at the Coronation delicate open g o 1 d-work, with leaves and flowers composed of la r g e and small diamonds. The boss at the foot is also elaborately jewelled. This sceptre, twenty-six inches in length, is borne in the right hand at the Coronation. The Sceptre with the Dove (Fig. 5),which Queen Mary will doubtless use in preference to the Ivory Rod, closely resembles the King's, but is slightly smaller. The ornamentation is more varied than that of the Sceptre with the Cross, and consequently richer in effect. The Dove with outstretched wings-typical of the Holy Ghost-is in white enamel. Variously hued gems-rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, as well as diamonds-enrich the mound and collars, a sense of lightness being imparted to the design by dainty sprays of open gold-work, while uniformity of decoration is avoided by the artistic introduction of a collar of deep blue enamel tastefully relieved with gems. This sceptre, forty inches in length, is borne in the left hand at the Coronation.
Fig. 7. Front view of the Coronation Ring of Queen Victoria and King Edward, showing the chief gem, a sapphire with a cross of St. George of five rubies, in a circlet of diamonds
A deeper and, perhaps, a more touching symbolism is expressed in the Coronation Ring than in the crown, orb, or sceptres. These are emblems of power and sovereignty; they mark the dignity, the supremacy, of the monarch, and a certain aloofness, so to speak, inseparable from majesty. But through the Ring the Sovereign seems to come into personal touch, as it were, with his people; it is emblematic of their union, and it is in this sense that the old poet so happily terms it " the wedding-ring of England."
Queen Victoria's Coronation Ring, which, by the way, it may not be generally known, King Edward had enlarged and used at his
Fig. 8. Coronation Ring of Queen
Adelaide, consort of King William IV., which has afforded a model for that of
The Ampulla, or golden vessel which contains the consecrated oil used for anointing the King and Queen own Coronation, is shown in Figs. 6 and 7. The principal gem is a sapphire with a cross of St. George, composed of five rubies, inset, a circlet of diamonds forming a fitting frame to the brilliant jewel. The Coronation Ring of King George will, in accordance with precedent, be of a similar design.
The Queen-consort's Ring differs in several respects from that of the King. The ring shown in the illustrations (Figs. 8 and 9) was that worn by Queen Adelaide, consort of our first sailor-king, William the Fourth, and it will give some idea of the ring that will be worn by Queen Mary, consort of our second sailor-king, George the Fifth, whom God preserve ! The chief gem is a rich ruby surrounded by brilliants, the hoop and shoulders also being set with rubies.
There is an old tradition that the closer this ring fits the longer will the Sovereign reign, and the more dearly will he be beloved. And, indeed, every loyal heart will hope that the Coronation Ring will mark a long and happy union between the King, his consort, and the people.
Fig. 9. Coronation Ring of Queen
Adelaide, showing the great central ruby surrounded by diamonds
The golden Anointing Spoon which receives the consecrated oil