Photo by the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury
During the Coronation Service of King Charles III, a Bible will be presented to him as his first gift.
The presentation of the Bible has been a part of every Coronation since Mary II and William III in 1689. King Charles will receive one that is specially made for his Coronation.
A copy will eventually be placed in the Royal Collection. This has happened for every Monarch since George III who was crowned in 1761.
To highlight the close connection with the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, the Moderator of the General Assembly will present the Bible during the Coronation. When presenting the Bible the Moderator will say: “We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.”
King Charles III will put his hand on the Coronation Bible to take the Coronation Oath. The Archbishop of Canterbury will ask him three questions to which King Charles will respond: “The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.” The King will then sign an oath pledging to serve the people and rule according to the law. It is the only time a monarch signs a written commitment to the people.
The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is the one who chose Oxford University Press for the commission of the Coronation Bible. It is the full King James Bible, in traditional typography. King Charles’ cypher is embossed on the spine of the red leather cover.
Four copies of the Coronation Bible were produced. One is given to the King, Westminster Abbey and Oxford University Press will each receive one for their archives and the one used in the Coronation will be kept in the Lambeth Palace library.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has received the Coronation Bible and is keeping it at Lambeth Palace ahead of the ceremony. He said: “The Coronation will be a service of Christian worship, deeply rooted in the wisdom we find in Scripture. The Bible which will be presented to His Majesty The King is a reminder that Scripture is not just at the heart of the responsibilities he undertakes at the Coronation, but at the heart of Christian life. On this momentous occasion, the Bible will be the first and most important gift offered to The King. The Scriptures offer a guide and light to all – and I pray that His Majesty will continue to find them in these living words.”