Oxford University Press (OUP) has been commissioned to produce a Bible which will play a major role in the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
The new King will place his hand upon the Coronation Bible to recite the Coronation Oath during the ceremony. This oath is recognition of the monarch’s role as head of the Church of England.
A press release from the university states that the Bible is “hand-bound in leather and decorated in gold leaf” by London-based bookbinding company Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe. The design of the binding is inspired by historic Coronation Bibles and King Charles’ love of nature.
Only four copies of the Coronation Bible will be produced. The Bible used during the ceremony was brought to Lambeth Palace on 20th April and will be stored in the Palace’s archive alongside their collection of past Coronation Bibles.
Another Bible will be given to King Charles as a gift. The further two will be placed in the archives of Westminster Abbey and OUP’s head offices in Oxford.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will present the King with the Coronation Bible during the ceremony. He stated that “the Bible will be the first, and most important, gift offered to The King. The Scriptures offer a guide and light to all – and I pray these living words will offer strength and encouragement to His Majesty.”
After the ceremony, the Bible will be on display in the Lambeth Palace Library as part of an exhibition to mark the coronation, showcasing religious items used in ceremonies since the Middle Ages. The exhibition runs until 13th July.
Nigel Portwood, CEO of Oxford University Press, said that the Coronation Bible will be a “fitting tribute to a momentous occasion in British history” and hopes it will be “cherished by His Majesty for many years to come”.
Although the Coronation Bible will not be available for the public to purchase, OUP has produced a special illustrated edition of the King James Bible to celebrate the coronation.
OUP have produced Coronation Bibles for several British monarchs including Queen Elizabeth II. The tradition of unique Bibles being produced for coronations dates back to George III in 1761. Coronation Bibles have been presented to the monarch during coronation ceremonies since William III and Mary II’s 1689 joint coronation.