King and Queen view historic Coronation Roll

The King has praised the team behind the official record of his crowning, telling those who created his Coronation Roll “you deserve a very stiff drink”.

Charles held his second public-facing event since his cancer diagnosis to view the historic document with Queen Camilla on Wednesday, and marvelled at the handwritten and lavishly decorated artefact.

The head of state told heraldic artist Tim Noad and calligrapher Stephanie Gill, who said she worked 56 consecutive days writing the roll, “Thank you very much, I cannot tell you how grateful I am”.

The document follows a centuries-old tradition of creating a handwritten record of a monarch’s coronation, but is the first to use paper, not the usual animal skin, reflecting the animal welfare views of the King.

It was authored by Antonia Romeo, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, who signed the document, which is more than 21 metres long, on Friday and described its key features to the King and Queen.

She told them: “It’s stitched together, so it’s paper, there’s no animal product involved and they’re sown in what’s known as Chancery stitch, there’s 30 pages, something like 11,600 words and it’s rolled up.”

Coronation Scroll of King Charles III
Charles and Camilla with Antonia Romeo, Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, viewing the Coronation Roll (Victoria Jones/PA)

Camilla peered at a section of the roll spread on a table in Buckingham Palace’s 1844 room and said: “Goodness me, I won’t attempt to read it without my specs” and, commenting on how past rolls were written in Latin and French, Charles replied: “At least it’s in English.”

The roll gives a detailed description of the ceremony, listing all those who took part in the historic event from the procession into Westminster Abbey, the anointing and crowning and describing the last key moments.

Dr Sean Cunningham, head of medieval records at the National Archives where the roll will be stored with 17 other surviving examples, said later: “So the roll is really to establish the King’s authority and the allegiance of the people who attended the coronation as his loyal leading subjects, so that’s the basis on which all these rolls have developed over time.

“And originally they captured who came, what claims they had to perform at the service at the coronation – this is all part of establishing that relationship between the King and the leading subjects.

“So the new roll is kind of the final version of this, in that it takes elements of those earlier allegiances, oaths and homages and incorporates a kind of narrative story of what happened on the day, so we see much more of what people said, what they were wearing, what the prayers and the anthems and the music (were).”

Coronation Scroll of King Charles III
The title page of the coronation roll with artwork by heraldic artist Tim Noad (Victoria Jones/PA)

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden joined the presentation and the royal party were shown the digital version of the roll with added features like photographs and video, and the King and Queen watched a recording of their procession into Westminster Abbey on May 6.

The King said: “Having it on the websites, it makes it more interesting for people.”

Sonja Schwoll, head of conservation at the National Archives, commented on the use of paper – a watercolour paper called Fabriano Artistico made from cotton.

She said: “It’s because of the King is very interested in animal welfare, so we tried to stay away from any animal products… usually papers have gelatine inside, this paper doesn’t have any animal products in them.”

Coronation Scroll of King Charles III
The King and Queen are shown the digital version of the Coronation Roll (Victoria Jones/PA)

At the end of the presentation the King and Queen were shown Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation roll and those created for the crowing of Queen Victoria, William, Mary and Edward II.

Mr Dowden said: “The Coronation Roll is a beautifully illustrated record and an important document of the accession and Coronation of Their Majesties the King and Queen.

“The Coronation marked a new chapter in our national story and it reflects the very best of our national traditions – which are admired the world over.”