The anointing screen for the King's Coronation

As we were a contributor to the anointing screen for the coronation. The piece below provides some more details about the screen.

The king and the queen consort were anointed behind a specially created screen, held by poles hewn from an ancient windblown Windsor oak and mounted with eagles cast in bronze and gilded in gold leaf. The anointing screen was blessed at a special service at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, and was used at what historically has been viewed as the most sacred moment of the coronation.

The anointing is traditionally regarded as a moment between the sovereign and God and the screen was used to give sanctity to this moment. Traditionally, the moment is not photographed or televised. This screen will allow greater privacy as the archbishop of Canterbury pours the chrism, or holy oil, which has been specially blessed in Jerusalem, from a golden ampulla into the 12th-century coronation spoon. The archbishop will then anoint the king by making a cross on the hands, breast and head, and perform the same on Camilla.

The anointing screen, including its four oak wooden poles, is 2.6 metres tall and 2.2 metres wide. The wooden framework, designed and created by Nick Gutfreund of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, is made from a windblown tree from the Windsor estate originally planted in 1765. The poles have been limed and waxed, and at the top of each are mounted two eagles cast in bronze and gilded in gold leaf. The form of an eagle has longstanding associations with coronations. Eagles have appeared on previous coronation canopies. The ampulla used for anointing is eagle-shaped. Embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework and by Digitek Embroidery, as well as members of the Worshipful Company of Broderers, Drapers, and Weavers. The screen has been donated by the Coronation by the City of London Corporation and participating Livery Companies, the City’s ancient and modern trade guilds.

Designed by the iconographer Aidan Hart, the central design takes the form of a tree, which includes the names of the 56 Commonwealth nations, with the king’s cypher at the base, and is inspired by the stained-glass sanctuary window in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, designed for the late queen’s golden jubilee. Two sides feature a cross in maroon gold, blue and red, inspired by the colours and patterning of the Cosmati pavement at Westminster Abbey. The cloth is made of wool from Australia and New Zealand, woven and finished in UK mills.

At the Coronation Service, the Anointing Screen was held by service personnel from Regiments of the Household Division holding the Freedom of the City of London. The three sides of the screen was borne by a Trooper and Guardsman from each of The Life Guards, Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards, and Welsh Guards


Photography by kind permission of the Press Association