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Coronation Anecdotes Part 14

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The King was uncovered during the offering and the service that followed; when the sermon commenced he put on his cap of crimson velvet turned up with ermine, and remained covered to the end of it.

On his Majesty's right hand stood the bishop of Durham, and beyond him, on the same side, the lords that carried the swords. On his Majesty's left hand stood the bishop of Bath and Wells, and the lord great chamberlain.

On the north side of the altar sat the archbishop in a purple velvet chair; the bishops were placed on forms along the north side of the wall, betwixt the King and the pulpit. Near the archbishop stood garter, king at arms. On the south side, east of the King's chair, nearer to the altar, stood the dean of Westminster, the rest of the bishops who took part in the church service, and the prebendaries of Westminster.


When the Sermon ended, the archbishop went to the King, and standing before him, (his Majesty, on Thursday, the 27th of April, 1820, in the presence of the two Houses of Parliament, made and signed the declaration against popery,) administered the coronation oath, first asking the King--

Sir; is your Majesty willing to take the oath?

The King answered:--I am willing.

The archbishop then ministered these questions; and the King, having a copy of the printed form and order of the coronation service in his hands, answered each question severally, as follows:--

Arch. Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, according to the statutes in Parliament agreed on, and the respective laws and customs of the same?

King. I solemnly promise so to do.

Arch. Will you to your power cause law and justice, in mercy, to be executed in all your judgments?

King. I will.

Arch. Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? And will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the United Church of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established within England and Ireland, and the territories thereunto belonging? And will you preserve unto the bishops and clergy of England and Ireland, and to the United Church committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do, or shall appertain to them, or any of them?

King. All this I promise to do.

Then the King, arising out of his chair, supported as before, and assisted by the lord great chamberlain, the sword of state being carried before him, went to the altar, and there being uncovered, made his solemn oath in the sight of all the people, to observe the premises; laying his right hand upon the Holy Gospel in the great Bible, which was before carried in the procession, and was now brought from the altar by the archbishop, and tendered to him as he knelt upon the steps, saying these words:--

The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep.

So help me God.

Then the King kissed the book, and signed the oath.


(In the morning early, care was taken that the ampula was filled with oil, and the spoon laid ready upon the altar of the Abbey church.)

The King having thus taken his oath, returned again at the chair; and kneeling at his faldstool, the archbishop begun the hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus, and the choir sang it out.


Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, And warm them with thy heav'nly fire.

Thou who th' anointing Spirit art, To us thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Let thy bless'd unction from above Be to us comfort, life, and love.

Enable with celestial light The weakness of our mortal sight: Anoint our hearts, and cheer our face, With the abundance of thy grace: Keep far our foes, give peace at home; Where thou dost dwell, no ill can come: Teach us to know the Father, Son, And Spirit of both, to be but one, That so, through ages all along, This may be our triumphant song; In thee, O Lord, we make our boast, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

This being ended, the archbishop said this prayer:--

O Lord, Holy Father, who by anointing with oil didst of old make and consecrate kings, priests, and prophets, to teach and govern thy people Israel: bless and sanctify thy chosen servant George, who by our office and ministry is now to be anointed with this oil, and consecrated King of this realm: strengthen him, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter; Confirm and stablish him with thy free and princely spirit, the spirit of wisdom and government, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true godliness, and fill him, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever. Amen.

This prayer being ended, the choir sang:


Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, anointed Solomon King; and all the people rejoiced, and said, God save the King! Long live the King! May the King live for ever! Amen. Hallelujah!

In the meantime the King, rising from his devotions, went before the altar, supported and attended as before.

The King sat down in his chair, placed in the midst of the area over against the altar, with the faldstool before it, wherein he was anointed. Four knights of the garter held over him a rich pall of silk, or cloth of gold; the dean of Westminster took the ampula and spoon from off the altar, poured some of the holy oil into the spoon, and with it the archbishop anointed the King, in the form of a cross:

1. On the crown of the head, saying,

Be thy head anointed with holy oil, as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed.

2. On the breast, saying,

Be thy breast anointed with holy oil.

3. On the palms of both the hands, saying,

Be thy hands anointed with holy oil:

And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, so be you anointed, blessed, and consecrated King over this people, whom the Lord your God hath given you to rule and govern, in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Then the dean of Westminster laid the ampula and spoon upon the altar, and the King kneeling down at the faldstool, and the archbishop standing on the north side of the altar, said this prayer or blessing over him:--

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who by his Father was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, by his holy anointing pour down upon your head and heart the blessing of the Holy Ghost, and prosper the works of your hands: that by the assistance of his heavenly grace you may preserve the people committed to your charge in wealth, peace, and godliness; and after a long and glorious course of ruling this temporal kingdom wisely, justly, and religiously, you may at last be made partaker of an eternal kingdom, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer being ended, the King arose, and sat down again in his chair, and the dean of Westminster wiped and dried all the places anointed, with fine linen, or fine bombast wool, delivered to him by the lord great chamberlain.


Then the spurs were brought from the altar by the dean of Westminster, and delivered to a nobleman thereto appointed by the King, who, kneeling down, presents them to His Majesty, who forthwith sent them back to the altar.

Then the lord who carried the sword of state, returned the said sword to the officers of the Jewel-house, which was thereupon deposited in the traverse in King Edward's chapel; he received thence, in lieu thereof, another sword, in a scabbard of purple velvet, provided for the King to be girt withal, which he delivered to the archbishop; and the archbishop, laying it on the altar, said the following prayer:--

Hear our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee, and so direct and support thy servant King GEORGE, who is now to be girt with this sword, that he may not bear it in vain; but may use it as the minister of God, for the terror and punishment of evil-doers, and for the protection and encouragement of those that do well, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then the archbishop took the sword from off the altar, and (the bishops assisting, and going along with him) delivered it into the King's right hand, and he holding it, the archbishop said:--

Receive this kingly sword, brought now from the altar of God, and delivered to you by the hands of us the bishops and servants of God, though unworthy.

The King stood up, the sword was girt about him by the lord great chamberlain, and then, the King sitting down, the archbishop said:--

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