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Supertunica, colobium and pallium… the precious coronation robes of Charles III

On May 6, 2023, billions of eyes will be on Westminster Abbey, examining the jewels and crowns lit by a thousand lights. However, other elements of King Charles’s coronation are worth noting: the various coronation robes – or “robes” – that Charles III will symbolically wear during this historic ceremony.

On the contrary royal tree. Supertunica and the Royal Ballium, which dates from the reign of George IV, in 1821. Upon his arrival at Westminster, Charles is expected to wear a “robe” – royal robe –, with a long train of crimson velvet and gold lace, lined with Canadian ermine. This fancy coat is used at every official opening of Parliament and is accompanied by an ermine cape. Will King Charles choose a coat with a more “modern” design? However, the relaxation of protocol may lead him to prefer a ceremonial uniform.

No less than four different outfits

As a prelude to the anointing, the king shed all his shiny tinsel in favor of an unadorned white camisole. Colobium sindonis or the Tunic of the Shroud – which signifies the renunciation of the illusions of worldly existence, the humility of the simple sinner who stands naked before God to be cleansed.

For appointment, Colobium sindonis Covered by Supertunica – “Top Tunic” , which evokes the grandiose garb of Byzantine Empire dignitaries. A long coat of gold-coloured silk, with wide sleeves, is decorated with the emblems of the nations of the United Kingdom, and is closed by a buckle displaying English roses, Scottish thistles and Irish shamrocks. Dr George Cross, a theological researcher at King’s College London and an expert on Tudor coronations, notes in an article. telegram that Colobium sindonis And this Supertunica The dresses have a very long tradition, so it is very important to have them in the ceremony”.

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At the crowning moment of the coronation, the “Royal Ballium” is placed on the sovereign’s shoulders by the Archbishop of Canterbury. or “Royal Dress” It includes Supertunica. Inspired by antiquity, this large rectangular fabric is embroidered with national emblems and imperial eagles in silver thread at the four corners. The pallium, usually reserved for bishops, is here to remind us of the priestly nature of royalty.

After the coronation, the sovereign will finally wear the “Imperial Robe” or “Succession Robe” of purple silk velvet, which is 6.5 meters long and weighs almost 7 kg. Its color recalls the purple of the Roman emperors. In 1953, Elizabeth II’s coat was lined with ermine, and its production required 3,500 hours of work by 12 tailors from the Royal School of Needlework. On either side of the train, ears of wheat symbolized peace and plenty, and a sumptuous three-dimensional embroidered decorative garland bloomed below. It is in this final regalia that, wearing the imperial crown and carrying the scepter and orb, Charles III will leave the abbey to parade in a carriage through the streets of his capital.