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The Coronation Roll

Coronation Roll Protocol

The purpose of this Protocol is to record the process for the creation of the Roll before, during and after Their Majesties’ Coronation in 2023, to aid the preparation of the Roll in future Coronations.

Commencing the Process

Antonia Romeo, Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, submitted a claim to the Coronation Claims Office in respect of the ancient right of the Clerk of the Crown to record the proceedings and create the Coronation Roll, the official state record of the proceedings of the Coronation service since Edward II. This claim was accepted in March 2023.

The Clerk of the Crown agreed to perform this duty with support from officials in the Cabinet Office’s Constitution and Major Events Directorate, who hold responsibility for the constitutional elements of the Coronation Service. They were: Ellen Atkinson LVO, Clare Brunton OBE, Tom Callagher MVO, Emma Hart MBE, Luisa Amasanti, Sangeetha Jeshurun, Justine Hunter, Jonathan Williams BEM and Rachel Rayner. The Clerk of the Crown was also supported by Charley Bird from the Ministry of Justice.

Researching previous Rolls

The Cabinet Office undertook significant research in the National Archives examining previous Rolls, to reach an understanding about what content should be included in the Roll. This included the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice hosting an event for Ministers and officials to view with a selection of previous Coronation Rolls (including Edward II, Queen Victoria and Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). The team also consulted specialists from the National Archives.

Creation of the Roll

National Archive specialists were commissioned in May 2023 to provide formal advice on the options for the materials that could be used for the Coronation Roll, with reference to the practicalities of creating this in a Roll form. This included the choice of either parchment or vellum with consideration given to authenticity, suitability for calligraphy, archival properties, cost and the balance of traditional and modern. It was important to reflect the historic traditions of the Roll, including calligraphy and aspects of the Roll being illuminated, while reflecting the spirit of the Service in looking towards the future. In addition, the Roll format and the stitching of the sheets together, along with attaching the King’s Oath which would be signed during the Coronation, was a further consideration in choice of materials. Calligrapher Stephanie Gill and heraldic artist Timothy Noad were commissioned to scriven and design the frontispiece of the Coronation Roll respectively.

The Clerk of the Crown decided that the Roll would be printed on Archival stock of Fabriano Artistico 200 GSM (W318mm x H455mm).

Recording the Coronation

The Clerk of the Crown and the Cabinet Office secretariat met in advance of the Coronation in May 2023 to review the checklist the Cabinet Office had drafted for the Coronation Service. It was agreed the Roll should heavily mirror the 1953 Roll but with a modern rendering, to acknowledge the bridge between history and the present times. The Clerk of the Crown thought it important to include considerable detail and scene setting of the event, including the music choices by His Majesty The King, description of flowers and other decor, to give a deeper sense of the atmosphere of the occasion, in addition to its constitutional and legal significance. She also planned to note in particular divergences in the service and process from previous Coronations, as well as the list of principal attendees attending in respect of their official positions, for the benefit of those planning Coronations in the future.

Agreeing the Recording Process

The Cabinet Office worked closely with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Westminster Abbey and the Royal Household to agree the process for recording the Coronation Roll. The Clerk of the Crown and the Cabinet Office officials attended the Coronation rehearsal on Thursday 3rd May to ensure they were able accurately to record proceedings from their allocated seats in the front row of the theatre.

Attending the Service

The Royal Household sent the invitations to attend the Coronation in April 2023. The invitation provided practical information including dress, joining instructions, and timings for arrival. Official uniform (and robes as Clerk of Crown in Chancery) could be worn for the event. 

The Clerk of the Crown and Head of Strategy and Protocol from the Cabinet Office attended the Coronation on Saturday 6th May, and recorded the proceedings from their seats. In addition, officials from the Cabinet Office watched on television to record proceedings.  Following this, the official team drafted the proceedings in consultation with the Clerk of the Crown, taking into consideration comments from other interested partners such as the Royal Household and Lambeth Palace. 

Post-Service consultation and approval

The Clerk of Crown consulted a number of Royal Historians on the final draft text for the Coronation Roll for historical accuracy. The final text was sent to His Majesty The King in the week of his birthday in 2023.  Following approval of the text, the calligrapher transcribed the text onto the Roll and the artist added illumination. Following completion, the Roll was presented to The King and Queen before being placed in the National Archives.

Responsibility for the Roll 

The Coronation Roll in its physical and digital form is a record of the Chancery of England. As such, the Master of the Rolls is responsible for and has custody of the Coronation Roll and has the power to determine where it is to be deposited. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master and Keeper of the Rolls, exercised his power to determine that the Coronation Roll should be deposited in the Public Records Office in the custody of the Keeper of the Records.

Digitising the Roll

In addition to the drafting of the Roll, the Clerk of the Crown asked the Cabinet Office secretariat to work with the Design102 agency in the Ministry of Justice to create a digital version of the Coronation Roll, to reflect modern approaches to the creation and archiving of important documents. Elements of the service of interest to a wider public audience were featured including notable ceremonial elements and moments, participants, detail of regalia and other ceremonial objects, music, the constitutional significance of these elements and other points of interest, noting in particular similarities with or divergence from past Coronations. The digital Roll can be accessed via an interactive website linking to photographs and video segments of the service, intended to be a valuable education resource.

Signature of Antonia Romeo

Antonia Romeo
Clerk of the Crown in Chancery
April 2024