With the release of the Coronation’s liturgy (or Order of Service, as it is called for other ceremonies), many of the last unknown details of this key historical moment are being revealed.
And special roles have been assigned to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and the Bishop of Durham, following a pattern from coronations dating back to the 12th century.
These two figures will have the role of spiritual guides for the King throughout the ceremony; “to support the King through all the different aspects and elements of the Coronation Service”.
But the 21st century means that this role has a whole new audience with an explainer video shared by the Church of England on social media. In the film, there is plenty of discussion about the importance of the duty which is needed “because the Coronation is a profoundly spiritual event, and we’re there to help the King focus on it all”.
The spiritual focus is fundamental to help the new Monarch balance the religious aspect “as he thinks, and prays, and promises to give his life in commitment to all his people”.
This video was created by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, The Right Reverend Michael Beasley.
However, the role that the holders of that position have played in Coronations dates all the way back to at least 1189 – meaning the coronation of Richard the Lionheart. A similarly ancient history ties the Bishop of Durham to the role.
So the public will be able to see the Bishops of Durham and Bath and Wells (a Diocese that roughly coincides with the territory of the county of Somerset) playing their spiritual counselling roles all throughout the service, as King Charles III is crowned.
In a Coronation ceremony that has broken several traditions, this will be a piece of history that will be carried on for posterity to remember that “everything has to change for everything to remain the same”.