On this 69th anniversary of the accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a short reflection on the nature of contemporary royal majesty, and its spiritual significance, as seen through the development of the coronation service.
‘The ceremony [of the coronation] illustrates the unity of the present with the past, the importance of the great creative medieval period, and the productive role of the common European ideals. It presents, as no other political event, a synoptic view of the whole development of modern democracy. It shows that, although the modern state owes much to the contribution of the king, it owes even more to political liberty and to the co-operation of the community with the monarch. To retain these, the British people sacrificed even the powers of the ruler; by accepting this sacrifice, the ruler preserved his office for a wider destiny.
Thus the coronation is much more than a medieval pageant. It is more than the solemn investment of the king with a great office. It is a covenant to preserve the great Anglo-Saxon political tradition, and the pledge to maintain the historic process by which this was translated into the procedures of the modern state. That process, in spite of the violent fluctuations of British history, may be described in words written for the stormy fourteenth century: “political creativeness combined with fidelity to the deepest political traditions… progress without impairment of continuity… the transformation, without destruction, of the great institutions of political life”. Of these institutions, none is greater in its true significance than the monarchy, the repository of government under God and the law; and know where, it may be claimed, is this significance better revealed than in the coronation when, in the most solemn sacrament of the Christian Church, the king consecrates his kingship, and his peoples, by their representatives assembled, in the ancient act of homage, consecrate their loyalty’.
from The Coronation in History, 1953, by B. Wilkinson
O God, who providest for thy people by thy power, and rulest over them in love: vouchsafe so to bless thy Servant our Queen; that under her this nation may be wisely governed, and grant that she being devoted to thee with her whole heart, and persevering in good works unto the end, may, by thy guidance, come to thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon