Coronation

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The coronation of Empress Farah, of Iran in 1967. The Nader throne is in the background, studded with an array of some 26,733 ruby, diamond, and emerald gems, all set in a matrix of 23k gold.
A coronation is a ceremony marking the investment of a monarch with regal power through, amongst other symbolic acts, the placement of a crown upon his or her head. Where the monarch is anointed, the ritual may have religious significance. Coronation has been little practiced in recent years, although it remains the norm for the formal installation of the monarch of the Commonwealth Realms.

Formerly, in many kingdoms and empires, the coronation was a highly solemn ceremony in which anointing with holy oil, followed by ratification as the proper occupant of the throne, were important parts. This is still the case in the United Kingdom, one of the few nations that continue formal coronations to this day, and was true for the historical monarchies of France, and many other former Kingdoms and Empires.

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[edit] In Antiquity

The shahs of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were crowned with the diadem by a high priest of the Zoroastrian religion.

The Roman Emperors, traditionally acclaimed either by the senate or by a legion speaking for the armies as a whole, were confirmed by the other body, without a coronation. The Eastern diadem was introduced by Diocletian. In theory, the Imperial crown should be imposed by a representative of those who conferred the sovereign authority that it symbolized. And in the 4th century the Prefect Sallustius Secundus crowned Valentinian I (in whose election he had taken the prominent part). But the Emperor seems to have felt some hesitation in receiving the diadem from the hands of a subject, and the selection for the office was likely to cause jealousy. Yet a formality was necessary. In the 5th century the difficulty was overcome in an ingenious and tactful way. The duty of coronation was assigned to the Patriarch of Constantinople, possibly at the coronation of Marcian (AD 450), but certainly at the coronation of his successor Leo (457) (Bury 1923).

[edit] Since the feudal age

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Coronation of King Alexander III of Scotland on Moot Hill, Scone. He is being greeted by the ollamh rígh, the royal poet, who is addressing him with the proclamation "Benach De Re Albanne" (= Beannachd Dé Rígh Alban, "God Bless the King of Scotland"); the poet goes on to recite Alexander's genealogy back to the first ever Scotsman. It was the tradition in Gaelic-speaking societies that the king's legitimacy be established by recitation of the royal pedigree.

A coronation following the Byzantine formula was instigated with the coronation of King Clovis of the Franks at Rheims (497), in which a dove was made to descend with an ampoule of oil, with which the king was anointed. All succeeding kings of France were anointed — with the same oil, miraculously resupplied[citation needed] — and crowned at Rheims.

Coronations were often centuries-old ceremonies with a great many formal and solemn traditions. Usually the climax of the coronation ceremony is the monarch's recital of an oath, followed by a religious leader placing a crown on the monarch's head. Some monarchs have crowned themselves: this was the custom of the Shahs in Iran, the Tsars of Russia and self-proclaimed monarchs like the Bonaparte Emperors of the French.

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Tsar Nicholas II of Russia after his coronation in 1896.

The crown is not the only item bestowed on a sovereign at his or her coronation. Usually there is an orb and scepter and — depending on the country — other items from the crown jewels, all highly charged with historic, religious, and territorial symbolism.

The ceremony usually takes place in the premier Cathedral or most holy basilica of a country, often in the present or former monarchical and/or ecclesiastical capital. In the United Kingdom, the coronation ceremony takes place in Westminster Abbey, with the monarch seated on the ancient St. Edward's Chair or Coronation chair (which then again includes the Scottish Stone of Scone). The French monarchs were crowned at Notre-Dame de Reims.

A coronation ceremony is generally religious in character, because from the earliest times it was believed that monarchs were chosen by God, in accordance with the Divine Right of Kings, hence the crown was bestowed by God himself. While this belief is now not generally held, many sovereigns are still proclaimed as Monarch "By Grace of God", even though legally nearly all are subject to the constitution, some even subject to parliamentary sanction.

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The coronation of the Commonwealth Realms' Queen Elizabeth II
Westminster Abbey, 1953.
Before 1917 many Russian peasants, unofficially, prayed to God and the Tsar[citation needed]; while in Japan the Emperor was believed to be a descendant of Amaterasu the sun goddess . Hence, the concept of monarch, coronation, and God are inexorably linked.

A monarch succeeding by right (e.g. hereditary) does not have to undergo the ceremony of coronation to ascend the throne and execute the duties of the office. King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, for example, did not reign long enough for a coronation ceremony to occur before he abdicated, yet he was unquestionably the King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India during his brief reign. This is because in Great Britain, the law stipulates that the moment one monarch dies, the new monarch assumes the throne. The British Monarch is usually proclaimed in an outdoor ceremony at St. James's Palace within hours of the death of his predecessor. In France, the new monarch ascended the throne when the coffin of the previous monarch descended into the vault at Saint Denis Basilica, and the Duke of Uzes proclaimed 'Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi' (French: 'The [old] king is dead; long live the [new] King!')

From 1305 to 1963 the Popes were crowned with the Papal Tiara in a coronation ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Following the decision of the last crowned Pope Paul VI to lay the Papal tiara on the high altar of the basilica as a symbol of humility, the next three popes have declined to wear it, and have thus had a ceremony of papal inauguration rather than coronation, as the placing of a crown or coronet of some description upon the head is a requisite of a coronation ceremony. While John Paul I, John Paul II (who also completely abandoned the use of the sedia gestatoria, a portable throne) and Benedict XVI opted for an inauguration instead of an old-fashioned coronation, a future pope can in theory opt for the coronation ceremony.

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King Charles IV of Hungary, Queen Zita and Crown Prince Otto.
Official coronation portrait, Budapest, December 1916.

Many European monarchies have dispensed with the ceremony of coronation altogether. In Norway the coronation was abolished in 1908 and the king was thereafter only required by law to go through the taking of the oath in the Storting, but when Olav V was to be crowned in 1958 he still wanted the church's blessing for his reign and the benediction was introduced. This ceremony is much simpler than the previous coronation, but continues the element of blessing and the Crown of Norway is displayed on the high altar rather than placed on the king's head. King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway received the benediction in 1991 and although the ceremony is not required it is expected to be used by future monarchs as well.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands had an oath-taking and induction ceremony rather than a coronation, and in Sweden, no king has been crowned since Oscar II in 1873. In Spain, although the crown is present and evident at the ceremony it is never actually placed on the monarch's head. Today's coronations of constitutional monarchs are more akin to political inaugurations. Belgium actually never had a crown (except as a 'virtual' heraldic emblem), the formal installation is a solemn oath on the constitution in parliament, symbolic of the restricted rule of the king under the then cutting-edge constitution of 1831.

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King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway.
They were photographed wearing their coronation crowns and robes in 1906.

Among the last grand coronation ceremonies the world saw were that of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran in 1967 and that of the Central African Republic's president Bokassa in 1977. Bokassa crowned himself Emperor in an imitation of Napoleon I's pomp. Furthermore grand ceremonial is still customary in some South East Asian monarchies, notably for the King of Thailand, the Sultan of Brunei and King of Malaysia, where every five years one of the continental state monarchs (Sultans and one Radja) is crowned Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Paramount Ruler), i.e. elective head of state of the federation. Also, upon the eventual death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales will almost certainly have an extremely grand coronation, in keeping with British Imperial tradition, and because he may at the same time receive the title of Head of the Commonwealth (subject to agreement of the member states of the Commonwealth).

[edit] See also

[edit] Source

  • Bury, J.B. 1923. History of the Later Roman Empire


Crowns Image:Krone Kaiser Rudolf II Kaisertum Österreich.jpg
European & World Crowns

Crown of Bavaria | Crown of Christian IV (Denmark) | Crown of Christian V (Denmark) | Crown of Charlemagne (France) | Crown of Empress Eugenie (France) | Crown of Frederick I (Prussia) | Crown of Louis XV (France) | Crown of Napoleon (France) | Crown of Norway | Crown of Elisabeta (Romania) | Crown of Maria (Romania) | Crown of Wilhelm II (Prussia) | Crown of St. Stephen (Hungary) | Crown of St. Wenceslas (Czech lands) | Crown of the Polish Kingdom (Poland) | Kiani Crown (Persia) | Imperial Crown of Austria | Imperial Crown of Brazil | Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire | Imperial Crown of Mexico | Imperial Crown of Russia | Iron Crown of Lombardy | Monomakh's Cap (Muscovy) | Royal Crown of Serbia | Steel Crown of Romania | Pahlavi Crown (Iran) | Papal Tiara


English, Scottish & British Crowns (by chronology)

Crown of Scotland | St. Edward's Crown | Crown of Mary of Modena | State Crown of George I | Crown of Frederick, Prince of Wales | Coronation Crown of George IV | Crown of Queen Adelaide | Imperial State Crown | Small diamond crown of Queen Victoria | Crown of Queen Alexandra | Crown of George, Prince of Wales | Crown of Queen Mary | Imperial Crown of India | Crown of Queen Elizabeth | Crown of Charles, Prince of Wales


See also: Coronation | Crown Jewels | Heir Apparent | Heir Presumptive | King | Monarchy | Queen | Regalia | Royal Family

Crown Jewels Image:Srpske Regalije.jpg

Austrian Crown Jewels | British Crown Jewels | Bavarian Crown Jewels | Bohemian Crown Jewels | Danish Crown Regalia | Dutch Royal Regalia | French Crown Jewels | German Crown Jewels | Greek Crown Jewels | Hungarian Crown Jewels | Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire | Iranian Crown Jewels | Honours of Scotland | Honours of Wales | Irish Crown Jewels | Imperial Regalia of Japan | Nigerian Royal Regalia | Norwegian Royal Regalia | Polish Crown Jewels | Portuguese Crown Jewels | Prussian Crown Jewels | Romanian Crown Jewels | Russian Crown Jewels | Serbian Crown Jewels | Spanish Crown Jewels | Swedish Royal Regalia | Thai Royal Regalia|

da:Kroning

de:Krönung es:Consagración real fr:Sacre he:הכתרה ja:戴冠式 no:Kroning pl:Koronacja sv:Kröning

Coronation

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