Coronation congregation will hear a first – Celtic languages

Traditional languages spoken in the four home nations of the UK will for the first time form part of a coronation service.

The congregation gathered for the crowning of the King and Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey will hear three Celtic languages – Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic – alongside English.

Charles famously travelled to Aberystwyth University as a young man to learn the Welsh language under Welsh nationalist Dr Edward Millward, before his investiture as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.

The then heir to the throne was the first English Prince of Wales in 668 years to take the trouble to learn Welsh, and he and his tutor struck up a friendship that endured.

Charles studying Welsh at the Aberystwyth University’s language laboratory (PA)

During the coronation, after a greeting and introduction by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy) prayer will be sung in Welsh.

The words include “Arglwydd, trugarha. Crist, trugarha. Arglwydd, trugarha” – which translates as “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy”.

A Lambeth Palace spokesman said: “After the sermon, the hymn Veni Creator – Come Creator Spirit – will be sung.

“This ancient hymn has been part of coronation services since the 14th century, and is also used in ordination services when people are ordained deacons, priests and bishops.

“For the first time, we will hear this sung in the traditional languages of the nations of the United Kingdom: English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.”

The Scots verse is:
Fada bhuain iomain ar namh
Agus builich sa bhad do ghras
O, treoraich sinn, a Cheannaird ard
Bho bhuaidh gach beud agus cradh

It translates as:
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace
Keep far our foes, give peace at home
Where thou art guide, no ill can come