A friend shares this incredible headline:
Holy anointing oil for King Charles III’s coronation will not contain the intestinal wax of sperm whales or civet secretions
There’s a lot to unpack here.
The good news is that Kings Charles, as the environmentalist he is, has decided (or had decided for him) that the magic chrism oil that will be used to anoint him during his forthcoming coronation as England’s king will be veganised.
Traditionally made of “oil from the glands of small mammals…and…a waxy substance from the intestines of sperm whales”, it’s now going to be mostly olive oil, with a pleasant bouquet of rose, jasmine, cinnamon, orange blossom, and sesame.
This anointment has been part of the ceremony traditionally used to conornate a British monarch for a good long while. The description is, inevitably, very much like something out of Game of Thrones.
Some highlights from Wikipedia:
…the crimson robe is removed, and the sovereign proceeds to the Coronation Chair for the anointing, which has been set in a prominent position, wearing the anointing gown. This mediaeval chair has a cavity in the base into which the Stone of Scone is fitted for the ceremony. Also known as the “Stone of Destiny”…
…a canopy of golden cloth is held over the monarch’s head for the anointing. The duty of acting as canopy-bearers was performed in recent coronations by four Knights of the Garter…
The Dean of Westminster pours consecrated oil from an eagle-shaped ampulla into a filigreed spoon with which the Archbishop of Canterbury anoints the sovereign in the form of a cross on the hands, head, and heart…the monarch rises from the Coronation Chair and kneels down at a faldstool placed in front of it.
This whole anointment process is so sacred and secret that we, the subjects of the King, are not permitted to view it. The above-mentioned canopy blocks it from the immediate audience of the spectacle. It was not filmed during the otherwise-televised coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. There are no photos of the procedure as enacted during the ceremonies of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I.
However, we are allowed to know what the special Coronation Spoon looks like. Thanks again to Wikipedia:
It’s part of the Crown Jewels collection and has been regularly used for coronations for an astonishing length of time; since at least James I in 1603. But the object itself is far older than that, being the oldest part of the current Crown Jewels, thought to date from something like the 1100s. For sure by 1349 it was already being called “ancient”.
Much of the rest of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was filmed though, despite her preference that it would not be. Here’s the crowning ceremony, should you want to catch up on the prequel to the upcoming May 6th event.