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Historic document gives inside look at King Charles’ coronation one year ago

King Charles III and Queen Camilla are presented with the Coronation Roll, an official record of their Coronation, at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
Victoria Jones/Press Association/AP via CNN Newsource
King Charles III and Queen Camilla are presented with the Coronation Roll, an official record of their Coronation, at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Max Foster, CNN

London (CNN) — King Charles III was presented with the historic document that officially records his accession and crowning on Wednesday, as the one-year anniversary of his coronation next week draws closer.

Charles became the British monarch on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8, 2022. His coronation was held eight months later on May 6, 2023 in an event unlike anything the nation had seen in seven decades.

The intricately presented and painstakingly crafted manuscript was brought to Buckingham Palace’s 1844 room and presented to the King and his wife, Queen Camilla, by its author, Antonia Romeo, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.

Held within it is a detailed account of Charles’ accession, the meticulous planning of his coronation and a detailed rundown of all elements from the magnificent procession to deeply religious ceremony at Westminster Abbey. For the first time in 700 years, it was created on paper rather than the traditional animal skin vellum.

Originally written in Latin and French, the practice of making a handwritten official state record of the sovereign’s coronation goes back to Edward II and Queen Isabella in 1308. Most of the rolls these days are kept at the National Archive. The document moved to English in the 17th century, but that didn’t stop the King from making a little quip about the past while viewing it. “At least it’s in English,” Charles joked.

The monarch seemed to be thrilled with the creation and thanked calligrapher Stephanie von Werthern-Gill and heraldic artist Timothy Noad, who helped decorate it with national symbols of the United Kingdom and previously designed the King’s cypher. “I cannot tell you how grateful I am,” he added, according to the UK’s PA Media news agency.

In another first, the 21-meter (69-foot) roll has been digitized for the public.

Charles and Camilla appeared delighted when shown the new website, where visitors can also watch video interviews with some of those who helped pull together the lavish occasion, including British lawmaker Penny Mordaunt, who went viral on the day as “the lady in blue” and Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, who’s responsible for orchestrating state events.

“Having it on the websites, it makes it more interesting for people,” the King remarked, according to PA Media.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, who was also at the presentation of the roll, said: “The coronation marked a new chapter in our national story and it reflects the very best of our national traditions – which are admired the world over.”

He added that digitizing it would help bring “the tradition into the 21st century” and allow “as many people as possible the opportunity to see it.”

The King and Queen were also given the opportunity to view several other rolls created for his predecessors, including those of his late mother and Queen Victoria, among others.

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