How Queen Camilla is breaking royal tradition at the Coronation

The Queen will wear her late mother-in-law’s crimson Robe of State, made for the 1953 Coronation – Chris Jackson/Getty

The Queen will be anointed in full view of a worldwide television audience today.

She will be bathed in holy oil without a screen or canopy to protect her during the service at Westminster Abbey on May 6.

This is thought to be the first time a wife was anointed in public view.

In contrast, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was anointed under a canopy in 1937.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace said: “The only difference this time is that there will be nothing to hide the opinion.”

The King has chosen to be anointed out of public view and television viewers, enclosed behind a three-sided screen.

Members of the Royal School of the Needle - Kirsty O'Connor/PA work on the King Charles III State Roads.

Members of the Royal School of the Needle – Kirsty O’Connor/PA are working on the King Charles III State Roads

The screen was considered more private than the traditional canopy. It also avoids any reliance on television cameras being immersed for the holy moment.

Lambeth Palace suggested that the different approaches sought to reflect the different nature of the assent of a peer versus a sovereign in command as it occurred “with the consent” of the King.

Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has announced that a brand new Estate Robe has been made for the Queen to wear during her coronation.

The rich purple velvet robe is embroidered in gold threads and intricately decorated with bees, beetles and many flowers, drawing on themes of nature and the environment.

It pays homage to the King by incorporating delphiniums – one of his favorite flowers – which are also the Queen’s birthday flower. In memory of Elizabeth II, it includes the late Queen’s favorite flower, lily of the valley, which Camilla also included in her wedding bouquet.

The Queen will wear the big dress, which also includes a cypher, after her crown for departure from Westminster Abbey.

A member of the Royal School of Needlework hand-embroidering the Queen's chevron on her Estate Robes - Royal School of Needlework

A member of the Royal School of Needlework hand-embroidering the Queen’s cypher on her Estate Robes – Royal School of Needlework

The new robe, made of purple velvet to match the King’s uniform, was hand-embroidered at the Royal School of the Needles, of which the Queen is patron.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “For the first time ever, insects including bees and a beetle feature on the Coronation Robes, drawing on themes of nature and the environment and reflecting Her Majesty’s affection for the natural world.”

The robe also contains national emblems – the rose, the thistle and the shamrock – as well as a rayon, which represents hope; alchemilla mollis called the mantle of women, which symbolizes love and comfort; morning glory fern, which symbolizes purity; and cornflowers, which represent love and tenderness, and are known to attract and encourage wildlife such as bees and butterflies.

Only a glimpse of the gown has been released, with the full ensemble to be revealed on the day.

In keeping with tradition, Charles and Camilla will wear two different outfits – a crimson State Robe on arrival and a purple Estate Robe at the end of the service.

The King wears the State and Estate Robes of his grandfather George VI from the 1937 Coronation, which is almost 90 years old and has been preserved and prepared for the occasion.

The Queen's dress also features national emblems such as the rose, thistle and shamrock - Royal School of Needlework

The Queen’s dress also features national emblems such as the rose, thistle and shamrock – Royal School of Needlework

Embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework are working on the crimson velvet, and robe makers Ede & Ravenscroft are working on the lining and gold lace.

The Queen will wear the crimson State Robe her late mother-in-law made for her Coronation in 1953. The robe has been preserved with adjustments and has a 5.5m train. The original specification was “handmade velvet gown, trimmed with the finest quality Canadian hem and gold lace”.

The robe is also known as the Parliament Road because it is worn for the State Opening of Parliament.

The late Queen admired her father’s Estate Robes but, as it turned out, decided to commission a new one. However, she was concerned that it should not be like her father’s and, therefore, the intricate embroidery involved 18 types of gold thread and took a total of 3,500 hours to complete by a team of 12 seamstresses.

Both the King and Queen choose not to wear their crown rings when they are presented during the ceremony.

Rings will be presented simply

Traditionally, the Sovereign’s ring and the Queen Consort’s ring have been placed on his fingers. But instead they will simply be presented and then returned to the altar.

Royal sources suggested the decision was made largely to avoid a time-consuming moment during the potentially difficult service. It also means that there was no need to change the size of the rings.

The rings are symbolic of a ring exchanged in marriage, meaning an unbroken bond, “married” to both God and man.

In another break with tradition, the Queen will only touch the Queen Consort’s Wand of ivory with Col, and the Queen’s Consort Cross of gold, rather than holding them like the Queen Mother.

The ivory rod will be used, despite calls for it to be rejected due to environmental concerns.

The Prince of Wales has long campaigned to stop the illegal trade in animal parts, such as rhino horn and elephant ivory, through his umbrella organization United for Wildlife.

A royal source said it was just one of several ways the service had been adapted and simplified “without losing any of its charm and grandeur”.

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