The Meaning Behind King Charles III's Coronation Outfit
It's no surprise that King Charles III kept sustainability in mind when choosing what to wear on the day of his coronation. Considering the monarch's lifelong passion for protecting the environment, it's natural that he would choose to make some eco-friendly sartorial choices.
Eco-friendly or not, the king's coronation day look was far from plain.
Upon arrival and departure, Charles wore two different grand robes, per royal tradition. Then, during the ceremony, Charles reused golden vestments which have been worn for nearly every coronation since 1821, including the Colobium Sindonis, the Supertunica, the Imperial Mantle, the Coronation Sword Belt and the Coronation Glove. Buckingham Palace notes that "it is customary for the Supertunica and the Imperial Mantle to be reused," but the reuse of the other objects were made "in the interests of sustainability and efficiency."
Ahead, we break down the different parts of the king's coronation look.
The Robe of State
This magnificent crimson velvet robe was originally worn during King George VI's 1937 coronation, and has since been conserved by the Royal School of Needlework and Ede and Ravenscroft.
The Colobium Sindonis
This piece appears as a white linen tunic with a collar fastened with a single button, fashioned after a priest's alb. This particular piece of clothing has a sentimental meaning to Charles, as it was previously worn by his grandfather, George VI, during his 1937 coronation.
This sleeved gold coat was originally made in 1911 for George Vi's coronation. George VI and Queen Elizabeth II subsequently wore it at their own crowning ceremonies.
Though it is a relatively modern piece compared to other coronation regalia, it is designed in the same style as coats from medieval coronations, which is in turn influenced by priestly and religious vestments.
This Supertunica features goldwork techniques and embroidery, which was originally completed in 1911 by the Ladies Work Society.
The Imperial Mantle
Worn over the Supertunica, the Imperial Mantle appears like a robe. It's composed of cloth of gold, gold, silver and silk thread, silk, gold bullion fringe, and a gold clasp. Additionally, symbolic shapes cover the surface of the Imperial Mantle, including roses, thistles, shamrocks, crowns, eagles, and fleurs-de-lis.
This piece was originally created for George IV's 1821 coronation. It is the oldest amongst the coronation vestments.
The Coronation Sword Belt
Also known as the Girdle, the Coronation Sword Belt wraps around the Supertunica, with the Jewelled Sword of Offering then fastened at the monarch's waist. Traditionally, this piece is made anew for each coronation, but Charles has instead chosen to reuse the same Sword Belt that his grandfather, George VI, wore during his 1937 ceremony. This one features cloth of gold, red silk, and a gold buckle and clip.
The Coronation Glove
The Coronation Glove, also known as the gauntlet, is worn on the monarch's right hand to hold the Sovereign's Sceptre during the moment he is crowned. Like the Coronation Sword Belt, Charles chose to reuse the hand piece that his grandfather, George VI, wore during his own coronation in 1937, rather than have one made entirely new.
This piece is made up of white leather, and further features gilt metal thread embroidery depicting the national emblems of the Tudor Rose, thistle, shamrock, oak leaves, and acorns. On the back of the glove's hand, there is an embroidered ducal coronet in red velvet above the coat of arms of the family of the Dukes of Newcastle.
The Robe of Estate
To leave Westminster Abbey, Charles put on this purple silk velvet robe that was, again, once worn by George VI. It includes elegant gold embroidery.
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