The Royal Collection is one of the most wide-ranging collections of art and artefacts in the world and provides an intriguing insight into the minds of the monarchs who assembled it.
In this series, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz encounters dozens of these unique objects - some priceless, others no more than souvenirs - each shedding light on our relationship with the monarchy and giving a glimpse into the essential ingredients of a successful sovereign.
A thousand years of monarchical history tell us that one crucial relationship for a monarch is with the church. In today's programme, Will sees how hard successive rulers have worked to make sure religion stayed on their side. It has not always been easy. The relationship with the church has through the centuries been so fraught as to threaten the survival of a sovereign.
Will begins with an object used - only for a brief but crucial moment - in the coronation of the present Queen, then encounters an object that dates from the time of William the Conqueror and that has anointed some of England's most famous Kings and Queens in the eyes of God. He reads Henry VIII's robust defence of the Catholic faith, written just a few years before political expediency drove him to break with the Papacy; and sees a landscape painting that provides a possible insight into the private faith of Queen Victoria.
Along the way, Will enlists the help of curators from the Royal Collection, Lord Indarjit Singh, historians Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch, Anna Whitelock and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
Producer: Sarah Taylor.
Coronation Spoon, 12th century, with Ampulla
The Coronation spoon is the only piece of the Coronation regalia to survive the melt of the Commonwealth. It was listed among St Edward's Regalia at Westminster Abbey in 1349, suggesting it has been connected with Coronations since an early date. The Ampulla is a vessel in the form of an eagle used for holding consecrated oil. Made for the Coronation of Charles II in 1661. The Sovereign is anointed with consecrated oil during the Coronation ceremony.
From: England Date: 1250-1300 & 1661
Material: Silver gilt & Gold
Size: 267 mm & 207 x 104 mm
The Coronation Pen
The Coronation Pen made by Francis J.C. Cooper. Used by Her Majesty The Queen to sign the Coronation Oath in Westminster Abbey.
From: England. Donated by the Scrivener's Company
Material: Ivory, enamel, gold and gemstone
Size: 230 mm
Treatise against Martin Luther, written by Henry VIII
Treatise on the subject of the defence of the seven sacraments against Martin Luther, written by Henry VIII (1491-1547). This treatise was written by Henry VIII defending the Catholic Church against Luther's Protestant teachings.
Material: Bound in dark brown calf
Size: 172 x 21 mm
Order of Service for the Coronation of William III and Mary II
Order of Service for the Coronation of William III (1650-1702) and Mary II (1662-1694). The Coronation service was revised in accordance with the new constitutional and protestant monarchy heralded by the joint reign of William III and Mary II. The service is signed by both the King and Queen.
Material: Bound in black morocco leather
Size: 173 x 117 x 10 mm
The Sanctuary by Sir Edwin Landseer
The Sanctuary by Sir Edwin Landseer (1803-1873). This painting reflects the more sentimental nature of religious imagery in the 19th century and symbolises the struggle of life and the peace of salvation.
From: England. Acquired by Queen Victoria as a birthday gift for Prince Albert
Material: Oil on canvas
Size: 918 x 1835 mm
Sword and scabbard presented to Edward VII by the Maharajah of Jaipur
Sword and scabbard set with 719 diamonds. Presented to Edward VII by the Maharajah of Jaipur.
Material: Gold, coloured enamel, diamonds, steel
Size: 885 mm (sword); 797 mm (scabbard)
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