Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch, will not resign to hand over the throne to her 70-year-old son or 39-year-old grandson, the author of a new biography said, due to of “binding promises in presence” undertaken at his coronation in June 1953 at Westminster Abbey.
As early as 1982, there have been periodic calls for Elizabeth to abdicate in favor of Charles, the Prince of Wales, or more recently William, the Duke of Cambridge. In an interview, historian and author Matthew Dennison said such speculation ignored the spiritual training young Princess Elizabeth received from her parents and guardians, as well as the deep impression that the 1953 anointing ritual during of the coronation did.
Mr. Dennison, biographer of Queen Victoria as well as of the former Roman Empress Livia, has just published “The Queen” in the United States with Apollo, an imprint of the British firm Head of Zeus. The book includes a detailed overview of the monarch’s education and his life on the throne.
“The British coronation service, alone among the coronation services in world monarchies, retains the anointing, and it is the last of the Christian coronation services to retain this kind of connection with the divine,” the author said. in a phone interview Friday with the Washington Times. .
“She will not abdicate because a life promise to God is a life promise to God,” he added.
The Queen “is a person of deep Christian faith,” Mr. Dennison continued, “but I think the monarchy affair, the affair of being an anointed ruler, has probably confirmed that. I think for her that [ceremony] remains a strengthening element because a coronation is the most important day of his royal life.
Mr. Dennison noted that a portion of his subjects believed there was providence involved in his rule.
“It is interesting that when this queen became queen in 1952 a poll was taken and 30% of the people believed that she had become queen by the will of God. I don’t imagine that would be a similar response nowadays, as we live in a much more cynical era, ”Mr. Dennison said.
Upon her coronation, Queen Elizabeth received the additional titles of “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England”, each recalling the reign of King Henry VIII, who first held the title of “Defender of the Faith. the faith”. was given to him by Pope Leo X in 1521, as the Royal Family website notes. Thirteen years later, when Henry VIII broke with Rome, he assumed the title of “supreme head on earth” of what was then the Church of England.
During the “act of consecration,” which the BBC said was the only element of the coronation not televised or recorded for later broadcast, the new monarch, wearing “a robe of the purest white” but not his cape crimson nor the royal jewels, sat under a golden canopy and was anointed on his head and chest with oil of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk and ambergris by the Rt. The Reverend Geoffrey Fisher, then Archbishop of Canterbury.
Archbishop Fisher said to the new ruler, “Be your head anointed with holy oil, as kings, priests, and prophets have been anointed. The prayer also referred to the coronation of former Hebrew King Solomon, imploring Elizabeth to be “anointed, blessed and consecrated queen.”
While researching this part of the ceremony, Mr. Dennison “found firsthand accounts of people saying they were almost embarrassed to watch the service at that point because it feels so intense,” he recalls.
He said the reaction was “partly because of what was going on, but [also] because of the extraordinary gravity they felt they detected in the queen.
Mr Dennison said: “There are other people in the department who at that point said of the service she had just beamed, happy with what had been said.”
Archbishop Fisher, who officiated at Elizabeth’s marriage in 1947 to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who died in June 2021, had prepared the monarch for the ceremony, explaining “to the Queen that after that time, it would never be the same again, ”added Mr. Dennison.
How that would translate under the reign of a future King Charles or a future King William – if these royals kept their current names when they joined – is uncertain. The Prince of Wales, in a 1994 BBC interview with journalist Jonathan Dimbleby, said he wanted to be an “Advocate of the Faith”, rather than the full official title, which specifically refers to the Defender of ” the “faith – the Church of England.
The statement sparked a wave at the time, but Mr Dennison points out that nearly 30 years later Charles is associated with charities related to preserving Church of England traditions, such as the book of 1662 and the last Book of Common Prayer. Prince William, the author said, “didn’t say much about the faith, but neither did he really have a chance to say a lot about the faith.”
Since 2000, the Queen’s annual Christmas message, seen by millions in Britain and abroad, has taken a drastic turn towards the spiritual. What one observer called “a travelogue from the past year” during the first years of his reign has evolved into a discourse on the meaning of service in the community, as well as the importance of community service. faith for the people she serves and for the Queen. himself.
The more recent messages, Mr. Dennison noted, “are much more about his own Christian faith and the teachings of Christ as a kind of guide to life accessible to all. She says in one of the shows that [this] guide is something that is available to everyone at no cost. And this is the example of the life of Christ.
After years of personal and public tragedy, the Queen, Mr Dennison, said: “Today she mentions her own personal relationship with Christ. And I think for other believing Christians in Britain it must be incredibly inspiring because it’s not something we hear in this country unless we go looking for it in a church context.