Sunday, May 7, 2023 12:02 pm
King Charles III was on Saturday crowned at the Westminster Abbey, London. The solemn occasion was witnessed by world leaders. Two symbols, among many, caught the attention of tourism enthusiasts: St Edward’s Crown and Stone of Detiny.
It is not only in Africa that certain symbols are held from generation to generation, a practice that many may regard as barbaric or idolatory. There are the Ori Olokun and the heavy Aare crown that the Ooni wears in Ile Ife. The Benin bronze/artifacts which the British stole as spoils of war in the invasion of 1897 which are gradually being returned. Of course, there is Ghana’s golden stool of Ashantehene. Myth had it that it descended from the sky. The Golden Stool is the royal and divine throne of kings of the Ashanti people and the ultimate symbol of power in Asante. According to legend, Okomfo Anokye, High Priest and one of the two chief founders of the Asante Confederacy, caused the stool to descend from the sky and land on the lap of the first Asante king, Osei Tutu. That is contained in “How the Asantehene climaxed the 20th anniversary on the Golden Stool “, published in www.graphic.com.gh. on 22 April 2018. Such seats were traditionally symbolic of a chieftain’s leadership, but the Golden Stool is believed to house the spirit of the Asante nation—living, dead and yet to be born.
What is so significant about King Edward’s Crown? According to a publication by the Royal Collection Trust, St Edward’s Crown is the crown used at the moment of coronation.
“It was made for Charles II in 1661, as a replacement for the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649. The original was thought to date back to the eleventh-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor – the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
The crown was commissioned from the Royal Goldsmith, Robert Vyner, in 1661. Although it is not an exact replica of the medieval design, it follows the original in having four crosses-pattée and four fleurs-de-lis, and two arches. It is made up of a solid gold frame set with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes and tourmalines. The crown has a velvet cap with an ermine band.”
For the Stone of Destiny which looks like a piece of granite that women in Africa us to grind pepper Victoria Murphy wrote about it in Town and Country:
“The Stone of Destiny or Stone of Scone (pronounced scoon) is an oblong block of pale sandstone and an ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy. It has a fascinating history and will be positioned underneath the coronation chair that King Charles sits on when he is crowned on May 6.
The stone was used for the inaugurations of Scottish kings hundreds of years ago. But it was seized from Scone Palace, Scotland in 1296 by King Edward I of England (who was also nicknamed Hammer of the Scots for his repeated attempts to invade Scotland) and taken to England. Legend has it that it was the stone that Jacob rested his head on in the Old Testament, however it has since been discovered by geologists that it originated from the Scone area.
Edward had the oak coronation chair made specially to hold the stone, and it was first used for the coronation of his son Edward II in 1308. Despite putting the stone into the chair as a symbol of his conquest, Edward’s rule over Scotland was short-lived. Robert the Bruce led the rebellion that saw him crowned King of Scotland in 1306.
Nevertheless, the stone remained in England and the coronation chair containing the stone has been used for the coronations of English and later British monarchs since 1308, but in 1996 it was decided it would be given back to Scotland and it is now on display in Edinburgh Castle. It was removed on Friday to be brought to Westminster Abbey and will be returned to Scotland after the ceremony.
Until it was sent back to Scotland it had hardly left Westminster Abbey. However, it was taken from the Abbey by Scottish students in 1950 who wanted to make a statement about Scottish nationalism. They buried a section of it in Kent, but later recovered it and handed it over. It was taken back to Westminster Abbey and used for the 1953 coronation.”
What do you think?