What is the coronation Anointing Screen and what is stitched on it?

anointing screen
What is the coronation Anointing Screen?VICTORIA JONES - Getty Images

The day of King Charles III's coronation is here – and it comes with all the pomp and pageantry you'd expect, as well as the private moment during which Charles was anointed behind the Anointing Screen.

What is the Anointing Screen?

The Anointing Screen was used during the moment of Anointing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in the coronation service at Westminster Abbey.

During the ceremony, the Dean of Westminster poured holy oil from the Ampulla into the Coronation Spoon, and the Archbishop of Canterbury anointed Charles on his hands, chest and head.

The screen had been blessed by a special service of dedication at the Chapel Royal, St James' Palace.

What is the design of the Anointing Screen?

According to the Royal Family website, the Anointing Screen was designed by iconographer Aidan Hart, and made using both traditional and digital embroidery.

The screen has been produced by stitchers at the Royal School of Needlework. It combines traditional and modern embroidery techniques and styles – paying homage to King Charles' love of traditional crafts.

At the centre of the screen, there is a tree with 56 leaves, symbolising the 56 member countries of the Commonwealth. Each of the leaves has been stitched by staff and students from the Royal School of Needlework, as well as members of the Worshipful Company of Broderers, Drapers and Weavers.

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The Anointing Screen, featuring a leaf for each of the Commonwealth nationsWPA Pool - Getty Images

Above the leaves are three cherubs. At the bottom of the tree sits the King's cypher, demonstrating that the monarch is the servant of their people.

The outline of the tree has been created using digital machine embroidery by Digitek Embroidery.

The design is inspired by the stained glass Sanctuary Window in the Chapel Royal at St James' Palace, which was a gift from the Livery Companies to mark Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

The screen is held in place by wooden poles, made from oak from a windblown tree on the Windsor Estate which had originally been planted by the Duke of Northumberland in 1765.

Two eagles are mounted on top of the wooden poles, which are cast in bronze and gilded in gold leaf.

The other two sides of the screen feature a much simpler design, with maroon fabric and a gold, blue and red cross. This is inspired by the colours and patterning of the Cosmati Pavement at Westminster Abbey.

The screen has been made from materials sourced sustainably across the UK and the Commonwealth. The cloth is made of wool from Australia and New Zealand, woven and finished in UK mills.

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