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coronations project

'A coronation was well worth the seeing'. Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

British Coronations Project

Part I

'I may now shut my eyes against any other objects ... as being sure never to see the like again in this world'.

Writing on the day of Charles II's 1661 Westminster Abbey coronation, Pepys was right! A coronation offers a spectacle like no other, bringing together in one momentous event Crown, Church and People. All societies, both ancient and modern, have taken the opportunity of a ceremonial inauguration to celebrate a new beginning.    

Unimaginative past approaches concentrated only on the act of crowning itself. Our work, however, shows that there was far more to a coronation than that. We bring to life the processions, anointing, oath-taking, homage and feasting, plus the remarkable celebrations held across the realm and overseas. 


Starting with examples from the classical world, particularly those of ancient Egypt and Rome, our work encompasses a systematic study of English and British coronations. For the British Isles, we span the period c.973 to the present day, telling the story of these coronations in all their dimensions: politically, socially, religiously, culturally, financially, legally and constitutionally. A series of inter-related projects examines the international phenomenon of coronations in all their fascinating diversity.


The coronation project was represented at the follow-up seminar to the Constitution Unit of UCL seminar of October 2016. The discussion was held in the School of Public Policy, UCL. (04/07/17)

We gave two papers at the Kent British Churches Conference (22-23 June 2017) in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University. 

George Gross spoke on: ‘1651: The Last Coronation in Scotland – An Anomaly?’

David Crankshaw spoke on: ‘Scottish Involvement in English/British Coronations, 1661–1714’

Historical consultants (March 2017) for the forthcoming Mary Berry series 'Secrets From Britain's Great Houses', Scone Palace episode. Full details to follow.

We participated in discussions leading up to a seminar organised by the Constitution Unit of University College London, held at the British Academy on 'Royal Oaths'. As part of this research we contributed a paper entitled 'A Pillar of the Constitution: The Coronation Oath in Historical and Political Contexts'. (17/10/2016)

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