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Anointed with oil from Jerusalem's Mount of Olives, King Charles III crowned head of British monarchy

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife attend pre-ceremony and coronation

King Charles III waves as he leaves the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, following the coronation, May 6, 2023. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via Reuters)

King Charles III was crowned Saturday afternoon at Westminster Abbey in London.

The coronation ceremony, the first in 70 years, saw Charles take the throne following the passing of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September.

In an ancient display of kingly power, Charles was anointed with oil from the Mount of Olives that was consecrated in a special ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The head of the British Royal Family was also presented with orbs, swords, and scepters before the spiritual leader of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, placed the solid gold crown upon the monarch’s head.

Great Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis attended the coronation ceremony, along with other faith leaders. However, he faced the unique challenge of ensuring his attendance would not breach the Jewish Sabbath, Mirvis praised the "respectful, sensitive" way that the British Royal Office, including inviting the rabbi and his wife to stay at St. James' Palace the night before so as not to have to travel using a vehicle.

After the Christian coronation service, Rabbi Mirvis joined the British Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist leaders in making a verbal declaration in unison towards their newly crowned monarch.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal were also present for King Charles’ coronation, the first Israeli president to do so. On Friday, the Herzogs attended a pre-coronation reception at Buckingham Palace, together with members of royalty, heads of state and prime ministers from around the world.

The coronation service was drawn from the Christian liturgy, as Charles took an oath to serve as "Defender of the (Protestant) Faith" and to protect the established Church of England. However, the king has a long-standing interest in bridging religious divides and has spoken about acting as a "defender of faith" in general.

When Charles took the coronation oath during the ceremony, he prayed aloud as he knelt before the altar, asking God that he "be a blessing to all thy children" to people "of every faith and conviction."

Alongside Charles was Camilla, his wife of 18 years, who was crowned as queen, breaking from tradition as the wives of kings in the United Kingdom are usually called queen consorts. Altogether, Charles and Camilla have known each other some 50 years.

King Charles has been seen as an important link between the British Monarch and the State of Israel.

In his previous role as Prince of Wales, Charles visited Israel three times, while his mother Queen Elizabeth, had never paid a visit to the Jewish state during her long reign.

Charles was present for the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin in 1995, as well as former President Shimon Peres in 2016. In 2020, he made an official visit to Israel to participate in the World Holocaust Forum that marked 75 years to the liberation of Auschwitz. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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