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The Coronation Roll
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The Anointing of The King 

The most sacred part of the Coronation Service began. The Choir sang the Anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’, composed by George Frideric Handel for the Coronation of King George II. The King, assisted by the Groom of the Robes and the Bishops of Durham and Bath and Wells, was divested of the Robe of State. Her Majesty was also divested of the Robe of State. Meanwhile, the Household Division brought forth the Anointing Screen commissioned for the Coronation to surround the Chair on the North, West and South sides, to shield the Coronation Chair from all. His Majesty, thus afforded the privacy to make his solemn covenant with God, proceeded to the Coronation Chair, facing the High Altar, behind the Anointing Screen. Holding the screen in place, the Household Division bowed their heads in solemn reflection. The design on the central screen took the form of a Tree of Life, with leaves bearing the names of the fifty-six countries of the Commonwealth, with The King’s Cypher positioned at the base of the tree to represent the Sovereign as servant of their people. 

Watch The Anointing of The King

Behind the screen the Dean poured some of the consecrated oil from the Ampulla into the Spoon. Behind the Anointing Screen and unseen by the congregation the Archbishop reverently anointed the King, vested in a simple white shirt, in the form of a cross on his hands, breast and head with the solemn words: “Be your hands anointed with holy oil. Be your breast anointed with holy oil. Be your head anointed with holy oil, as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed. And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so may you be anointed, blessed, and consecrated King over the peoples, whom the Lord your God has given you to rule and govern; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The Household Division then removed the Anointing Screen, and the King stepped down from the Coronation Chair to kneel before the Altar, where a prayer of blessing was spoken over him by the Archbishop. 

The Groom of the Robes then brought out vestments from the Shrine, and the Bishops of Durham and Bath and Wells vested The King in the Colobium Sindonis, the embroidered Supertunica and the Girdle, after which he sat in The Coronation Chair. 

The Anointing Screen, 2023, during a photo call for the new Coronation display for the summer opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, in London
Yui Mok/PA