The coronation day of a monarch is an occasion of great importance and solemnity, where traditions are honored and special vestments are used that have been handed down through the centuries.
At the coronation of the King of England, which will take place next May 6, Charles III has decided to reuse ornaments dating from the Coronation of King George IV in 1821 to that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
King Charles’ coronation vestments
For its part, the Colobium Sindonis is a white linen tunic with a single button, which is worn after the Anointing and represents the priestly alb. King Charles will wear the Colobium Sindonis which he wore at the Coronation of his grandfather, King George VI in 1937.
The Supertunica is a golden cloak with full-length sleeves that is worn under the Imperial Mantle and has been used at coronations since the Middle Ages. The Monarch is invested with it after the Anointing and is fastened with the Belt of the Coronation Sword. This Supertunic was made in 1911 for the Coronation of King George V and has also been worn by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.
The Imperial mantle
The Imperial Mantle, the oldest vestment used at the Coronation Service, is worn over the Supertunic. This mantle was made for the Coronation of George IV in 1821 and has been worn by succeeding monarchs up to Queen Elizabeth II. It is made of gold cloth, gold, silver, and silk threads, silk, gold bullion bangs, and a gold brooch, in the shape of an eagle, which can also be seen on the Anointing screen and on the ampoule that will contain the Chrism oil.
Another ornament that will be used in the coronation is the Coronation Sword Belt, also known as the Sash. It is made of gold cloth, embroidered in gold thread with arabesques and scrolls, and lined with dark red silk. The girdle is placed around the Supertunic and is used to hold in place the jeweled Offering Sword.
The Coronation Glove is custom-made for the Sovereign, it is of white leather embroidered with gold metal, wire, and sequins, and was made for the present king’s grandfather, King George VI, at the Coronation in 1937 by the Worshipful Company of Glovers, Dents, and Edward Stillwell & Company.
During the Coronation Ceremony, Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon will present the Coronation Glove to His Majesty the King to hold the scepter.
The most prominent feature of the Coronation Glove is its embroidered wrist, which incorporates national emblems such as the Tudor rose, thistle, shamrock, oak leaves, and acorns, all embroidered in gold metal thread. The top of the hand is embroidered with the ducal crown over the coat of arms of the family of the Dukes of Newcastle, and the inside of the wrist is lined with red satin.
The reuse of these ornaments, which have been used in previous coronations, is part of an effort at sustainability and efficiency. While it is customary to reuse the Supertunic and the Imperial Mantle, Her Majesty’s decision to also use the Colobium Sindonis, the Coronation Sword Belt, and the Coronation Glove worn by her grandfather, King George VI, shows her commitment to environmental stewardship and her intention to make responsible use of the Crown’s historic resources.