Canon Stephen Shipley
I was just over six months old at the time so it’s not surprising that I don’t remember anything much about Coronation Day! But I’m told I did spend an hour or two in front of my parents’ eight-inch television screen watching the flickering black-and-white images. Millions across Britain did the same, for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the first ever to be televised – although the BBC had covered part of the procession from Westminster Abbey after her father’s coronation in 1937. There’d been considerable debate within the Cabinet about the broadcast. Winston Churchill was firmly against the idea - but the Queen refused her Prime Minister’s advice and insisted the ceremony take place before television cameras. As Her Majesty remarked at the time, it was she who was to be crowned, not the Cabinet!
Tomorrow – on the actual 60th anniversary - many churches and cathedrals will be holding their own Coronation celebratory services.Many a wise word will be delivered from pulpits across the land, including Canongate Kirk, the Queen’s own parish church near to Edinburgh’s Holyrood Palace which you can hear on Sunday Worship tomorrow morning at ten past eight. One thing that will no doubt be stressed is the spiritual dimension of the monarchy.That’s above all what the Coronation ceremony is all about.If we strip away too much of its symbolism and mystery, then we‘re in danger of missing much of the sacred significance of the Crown.We need to remember that a king or queen is anointed and consecrated to holy office as well as crowned – so earthly monarchy can be seen as an outward and visible sign of the royalty and majesty of God.
God of power and love, give wisdom and strength to our Queen, guide and direct all who serve the community - and grant that your kingdom of peace and joy may prevail. Amen.