Saturday May 21, 2022

The chair of England’s Kings and Queens

While there isn’t an actual literal throne of England as such, it’s a figurative one, like a figure of speech but that’s a different story, there is chair for the King or Queen to be crowned in. If you combine the three elements, crown and Chair with the Archbishop of Canterbury doing the placing of the crown then you are legally acknowledged as the Monarch of England. The last time that this happened was in nineteen fifty three and it was the current Queen Elizabeth the Second sat in it. It isn’t the most comfortable of seats and you’d have thought that the prospective Monarch will be straight back into an Eames Office Chair replica or Eames Chair the first chance they get. In fact, I would imagine that they are probably looking on to get an idea for their Coronation gift.

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We don’t know what type of Chair the first King of England Egbert used but we do know that the first proper one was the one commissioned by King Edward the First. He was the one that brought together the kingdoms of Wales and Scotland by basically beating them into submission. To prove the point he took the ancient stone of destiny and wanted to show that he was now the King of Scotland as well.  He’d be damned if he was going to sit on just a lump of stone, so he commissioned a throne.

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Edward wanted it in bronze to start with but then relented as lugging a huge metal chair with a large lump of rock in the middle was going to be quite a task. He went for wood instead in a rather Gothic style. There have been many details added to it, some of them not always welcome. It was covered with thin gold leaf and gold paint and some nice glass mosaics. There were also some pictures of Birds, animals and plants on the back with a picture of what could be Edward the Confessor, but no one is really sure. More gilding was added in the shape of some lions in the sixteen hundreds but one fell off and wasn’t replaced until 1821. There was a time that if you paid a fee you could have a quick sit down in it. In typical fashion visitors decided to scrape a few chunks of it or carve their initials in it (particularly choir boys) so you can’t go near it now. The biggest damage was done when some Scottish nationalists stole the stone back on Christmas Day. It was recovered for Elizabeth the Second’s coronation, but the point was well made, and the Stone now sits in Scotland and is sent to Westminster when needed.

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