Your guide to all the regalia and ornate objects used in the coronation service

Yahoo News UK explains the regalia that will be used in King Charles's coronation service and the history behind it

Coronation regalia
(Clockwise, from top left) The coronation spoon; the ampulla; St Edward’s Crown; a picture showing St Edward's Crown, the orb, the sceptre with cross, the sceptre with dove and the sovereign's ring; the orb; and Queen Mary's Crown. (Royal Collection Trust/PA)

While King Charles's coronation on 6 May has been designed to foster a contemporary spirit, it will still be a ceremony rooted in traditions dating back more than 1,000 years.

The Palace has also announced who will be carrying the regalia and presenting it to Charles and Camilla during the service.

Despite the fact that the coronation ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey for 900 years, most of the objects currently in use for the service don't date back that far — even if some of them are centuries old.

Yahoo explains what all the regalia and ornate objects are and who you'll see carrying them in the arcane ceremony in May.

Who is holding the regalia in the procession into the coronation?

Buckingham Palace has announced who will be carrying the regalia to the altar of Westminster Abbey at the start of the coronation service. Many of these people have historical claims to take part — which means that they either own certain land, come from a particular family or hold a specific office.

  • The Queen Consort's Rod: Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws

  • The Queen Consort's Sceptre: General Sir Patrick Sanders

  • Queen Mary’s Crown: Duke of Wellington

  • The Queen Consort's Ring: Rt. Reverend and Rt. Hon the Lord Chartres

  • St Edward’s Crown: The Lord High Steward of England (an office only held for one day) Sir Gordon Messenger, the Governor of HM Tower of London

  • St Edward's Staff: Baroness Elizabeth Manningham-Buller

  • Sceptre with Cross: The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

  • Sceptre with the Dove: Baroness Floella Benjamin

  • The Orb: Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

  • The Sovereign’s Ring: The Keeper of the Jewel House, Brigadier Andrew Jackson

  • Sword of Offering: Petty Officer Amy Taylor

  • The Spurs: Lord Hastings and The Earl of Loudoun

  • Sword of State in The King’s Procession: Penny Mordaunt

  • Sword of Mercy (The Curtana): Air Chief Marshal the Lord Peach

  • Sword of Spiritual Justice: General the Lord Richards of Herstmonceux

  • Sword of Temporal Justice: General the Lord Houghton of Richmond

Who is presenting the regalia during the coronation service?

The government advised the palace who should present the regalia to Charles and Camilla in the coronation service itself. Many of those selected are peers who come from other faith groups, in a nod to the pluralist nature of UK society, and an attempt to modernise the ancient Anglican service.

  • Presenting the Spurs: Lord Carrington, Lord Great Chamberlain

  • Presenting the Armills: Lord Syed Kamall

  • Presenting the Robe Royal: Baroness Gillian Merron

  • Presenting the Orb: Reverend John McDowell, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh

  • Presenting the Sovereign's Ring: Lord Narendra Patel

  • Presenting the Coronation Glove: Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon

  • Presenting the Sceptre with Cross: Reverend Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Episcopal Primus of Scotland

  • Presenting the Sceptre with Dove: Archbishop of Wales

  • Crowning the King with St. Edward's Crown: Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • Presenting The Queen Consort's Rod: Bishop of Dover

  • Presenting The Queen Consort's Sceptre with Cross: Rt. Reverend and Rt Hon. Lord Chartres

  • Presenting The Queen Consort's Ring: Brigadier Andrew Jackson, The Keeper of the Jewel House at HM Tower of London

  • Crowning Camilla with Queen Mary’s Crown: Archbishop of Canterbury

EMBARGOED TO 2330 BST SUNDAY APRIL 9 Images may be used only for editorial news coverage between April 10 and May 6 2023 and are not to be archived, sold on to third parties or used out of context. Undated handout photo issued by Buckingham Palace of the Ampulla which will feature during the Coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6. Issue date: Sunday April 9, 2023.
The ampulla in which the anointing oil is kept during the coronation. (Royal Collection Trust/PA)

What is the ampulla?

The ampulla is an ornate jar, shaped like an eagle with its wings outstretched, used to store the holy oil the monarch will be anointed with.

Its design is based on a legend involving St Thomas Beckett, who is said to have had a vision that the Virgin Mary appeared to him and presented him with a jug like this that would be used to anoint all the kings of England.

An earlier version of the jar was previously used, but that one was smaller than todays.

Fun fact: The head of the eagle unscrews and there is a hole in the beak that allows the oil to be poured out in the ceremony.

Read more: Royal Collection Trust - The Ampulla

Coronation Spoon. (Royal Collection Trust/PA)
The coronation spoon (Royal Collection Trust/PA)

What is the coronation spoon?

The coronation spoon is first recorded as being part of the coronation regalia in 1349, but even then it was listed by the record keeper as being an antique, so we can safely presume it is even older than that.

It is used in the ceremony when the monarch is being anointed; the holy oil is poured onto the silver gilt spoon before the archbishop then uses it to consecrate the monarch for their new role.

It was sold off in 1649, but unlike everything else didn't get melted down, and was returned for use in the coronation in 1661. It has been in use ever since.

Fun fact: The spoon is oldest surviving artefact still used in the coronation today.

Read more: Fascinating history of the coronation spoon, the oldest relic used in royal ceremony

Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross. (Royal Collection Trust/PA)
Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross. (Royal Collection Trust/PA)

What is the sceptre with cross?

Technically, there are two sceptres involved in the coronation ceremony, but only the one with a cross on its top has traditionally been referred to as one.

The sovereign's sceptre with cross is part of the collection of the Crown jewels, created by Sir Robert Vyner in 1661 for the coronation of Charles II.

It features the Cullinan I diamond — otherwise known as the Star of Africa — which weighs 530.2 carats and was added in 1910. It also includes emeralds, rose-cut diamonds, rubies and amethyst monde.

Fun fact: The sovereign's sceptre symbolises temporal power and good governance.

Read More: A Brief History of the Cullinan Diamonds, Queen Elizabeth's Most Valuable Jewels

St Edward's Crown, The Orb, the Sceptre with Cross, the Sceptre with Dove and the Sovereign's Ring. (Royal Collection Trust/PA)
The St Edward's Crown, the orb, the sceptre with cross, the sceptre with dove and the sovereign's ring. (Crown Copyright/PA Archive/PA Images)

What is the sceptre with dove?

The other sceptre involved in the coronation ceremony features a dove instead of a cross at the top, symbolising the holy ghost.

It was also commissioned for Charles II's coronation and created by royal goldsmith Robert Vyner.

The gold rod features emeralds, rubies and diamonds, and represents the monarch's spiritual role and responsibilities for pastoral care to the people they rule over.

The sceptre with dove will be carried into the altar by Baroness Floella Benjamin and presented to the King by the Archbishop of Wales.

Fun fact: The sceptre with dove is traditionally known as the rod of equity and mercy.

Read More: Complete guide to the Crown Jewels to feature in King Charles’s Coronation

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 09: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the reopening of Hillsborough Castle on April 09, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla will be crowned alongside Charles on 6 May at a smaller coronation ceremony. (Getty Images)

What is the Queen Consort's rod with dove?

The consort's rod with dove is part of the regalia Camilla will be invested with as Queen.

The rod is, controversially, made from ivory — which comes from animals like elephants and rhinos.

It has been used during the coronation of a consort since 1685, and is smaller than the monarch's sceptre.

Prince William is a conservationist and passionate campaigner against the ivory trade, so initially it was in doubt whether the ivory sceptre would be used.

Fun Fact: The sceptre was first used by Mary of Modena, the wife of James II.

Read more: Queen Camilla will hold ivory sceptre during coronation ceremony

Charles will be invested with regalia like the Orb which represents the Christian world during his coronation. (RCT/PA)
Charles will be invested with regalia like the orb which represents the Christian world during his coronation. (RCT/PA)

What is the orb?

The orb symbolises the Christian world, and along with the rod and sceptre is one of the objects the monarch is invested with to symbolise their sovereignty, before they are crowned and after they have been anointed.

It's split into three sections, which represent continents - because in medieval times only three continents were known of, and a cross is set atop it.

The orb features emeralds, rose-cut diamonds, rubies, sapphires and a single row of pearls.

It is placed in the monarch's right hand and represents their power.

Top to bottom: The Sword of State. The Sword of Spiritual Justice. The Sword of Temporal Justice. The Sword of Mercy. (Crown Copyright/PA Archive/PA Images)
Top to bottom: The sword of state, the sword of spiritual justice, the sword of temporal justice and the sword of mercy. (Crown copyright/PA)

What are the swords of state?

There are five swords of state that play a part in the coronation ceremony: the sword of temporal justice, the sword of spiritual justice, the sword of mercy, the sword of offering and the great sword of state.

The sword of state symbolises the power of the monarch and is part of the regalia used to signify that the royal authority of the crown has been invested in the new sovereign at the coronation service.

It is handed to the monarch after the anointing but before the crowning itself, after it has been presented to the monarch, a peer traditionally offers a price for it and then removes it from the scabbard, carrying it open for the rest of the ceremony.

Fun Fact: The sword of mercy is also called Curtana and has a blunted tip, which signifies the merciful nature of the monarch.

What is the armillis?

Queen Elizabeth holding Prince Charles's hand as she wears the armillis designed for her 1953 coronation. (PA)
Queen Elizabeth holding Prince Charles's hand as she wears the armillis designed for her 1953 coronation. (PA)

The armillis are chunky bracelets placed on the wrists of the new monarch as part of the investiture, which takes places after the anointing — they are referred to as bracelets of sincerity and wisdom.

One pair was created by royal goldsmith Robert Vyner for the coronation of Charles II, and were used at every coronation until the late Queen's in 1953.

Fun fact: The late Queen's armillis was commissioned as a gift from the Commonwealth and are made from 22 carat gold with red velvet lining.

Read more: Behind the scenes at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

The Orb, The Spurs and The Sovereign's Ring. The Spurs are also known as St. George's Spurs. (Crown Copyright/PA Archive/PA Images)
The orb, the spurs and the sovereign's ring. The spurs are also known as St George's spurs. (Crown Copyright/PA)

What are the spurs?

The spurs are presented to the monarch after they have been anointed and then placed back on the altar.

Gold spurs have been part of the coronation ceremony since 1189, for the crowning of Richard I, who was also known as Richard the Lionheart.

Their purpose in the coronation is derived from the ceremony of creating a knight, and they symbolise knighthood — they used to attach to the new monarch's feet, but now they simply hold them at the ankle and put them back on the altar.

Fun fact: The spurs are also called St George's spurs.

Read more: King Charles’s coronation: The aristocrats taking on the task of crowning royalty

St. Edward's Crown will be used by Charles during the 6 May coronation service. (RCT/PA)
St Edward's Crown will be used by Charles during the 6 May coronation service. (RCT/PA)

What crown will King Charles be crowned with?

Following tradition, King Charles will be officially crowned with the St. Edward’s Crown, the same headpiece that his mother Queen Elizabeth II used.

The current St Edward’s Crown has been around since 1661, created for Charles II’s coronation in place of the medieval crown that had been melted down by parliamentarians in 1649, following the execution of King Charles I.

It was commissioned by the Crown jeweller, Robert Vyner, to follow in the footsteps of the original mediaeval design, with four crosses-pattée, four fleurs-de-lis, and two arches atop a solid gold frame set with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes and tourmalines.

The crown is topped with an orb and a cross, symbolising the Christian world and features a velvet cap with an ermine band, much like the robe of state of crimson velvet.

Fun fact: The St Edward's Crown is the heaviest of the coronation crown at 2.23kg (nearly 5lbs).

Read more: King Charles’s coronation crown is worth a staggering amount

Camilla will be crowned with Queen Mary's Crown on 6 May. (RCT/PA)
Camilla will be crowned with Queen Mary's crown on 6 May. (RCT/PA)

What crown will Camilla use during the coronation?

It was announced in February that Queen Mary’s Crown had been chosen by Camilla for the coronation when it was removed from the Tower of London for minor adjustments and modification work ahead of the ceremony in May.

The art deco-inspired crown was originally created for Mary of Teck in 1911, but will undergo some alterations by the Crown jeweller, including being reset with some of the rarest and most expensive gems in the world, the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.

Much like its inspiration, Queen Alexandra’s crown of 1902, Queen Mary’s Crown can be worn without the arches in the form of a circlet, which Queen Mary wore for the coronation of her son, King George VI, in 1937.

Fun fact: This will be the first time a new crown has not been commissioned for the consort and the palace has said that this is in the interest of sustainability.

Read More: Camilla to wear Queen Mary’s Crown for coronation: how much is it worth?

The coronation earrings and other jewellery was last worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1937. (PA)
The coronation earrings and other jewellery were last worn by Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1937. (PA)

Who made the coronation necklace and earrings?

While Buckingham Palace is yet to confirm the exact pieces of jewellery to be worn by Camilla when she is crowned in May, the Queen Consort is likely to wear a series of priceless gems that date back hundreds of years.

The current coronation necklace was presented to Queen Victoria in 1858, and has been worn by several queen consorts during their coronations – Queen Alexandra in 1902, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1937 – and Queen Elizabeth II at her own coronation in 1953.

Created by royal jewellers Garrard, it features 25 graduated brilliant-cut diamonds and a 22.48 carat diamond pendant, known as the Lahore Diamond.

It was among several new pieces of jewellery commissioned by Victoria, which also included the coronation earrings, that replaced the collection belonging to Queen Charlotte, her grandmother, that her uncle, Ernest Augustus Duke, had taken when he became King of Hanover.

The coronation earrings feature an additional four stones taken from an aigrette and a garter star, and were subsequently worn at the coronations of Queen Consorts Mary in 1911, and Elizabeth in 1937.

Fun fact: The diamonds from Victoria’s collection are said to have come from “swords and useless things” in the royal collection, with the 28 gems from the necklace being removed from a garter badge and a sword hilt.

Imperial State Crown
The Imperial State Crown is used for ceremonial events such as state opening of parliament. (Getty Images)

What crown will King Charles wear after the coronation?

At the end of the coronation ceremony, Charles will exchange the St Edward’s Crown for the Imperial State Crown, also known as the crown of state, as it will be used for ceremonial events, such as the state opening of parliament, throughout Charles’ reign.

Created for King George VI’s coronation in 1937, by crown jewellers Garrard & Co, the imperial state crown is made of pure gold and set with 2,868 diamonds, 269 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and four rubies.

Fun fact: The Imperial State Crown contains some of the most famous – and expensive – individual jewels in the Crown jewels collection, including the 317.4-carat Cullinan II diamond.

Read more: Imperial State Crown: How much is it worth and will King Charles wear it?

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