Last week the handmade anointing screen that will be used as part of King Charles’ coronation ceremony tomorrow was unveiled.
And it includes a very special nod to Aotearoa, as it’s been revealed the screen is made from New Zealand and Australian wool, finished off in British mills.
The screen portrays a tree representing the 56 Commonwealth countries and was worked on by expert craftspeople and members of the Royal School of Needlework. The thread used to stitch the outline of the tree is made from 100 per cent fully sustainable lyocell fibres.
The school’s head of studio and standards, Anne Butcher, told People last week that it was an “absolute honour” to work on the anointing screen for Charles’ coronation.
“The project is a collaboration of specialists in traditional crafts, from those just starting to learn to others with many years of dedicated experience.”
The anointing process is known as the most sacred part of the coronation ceremony, during which the Archbishop of Canterbury will pour holy oil onto the Coronation Spoon, then placing it on the King’s hands, head and chest.
The anointing has never been seen by guests or broadcast. Queen Elizabeth II’s anointing was conducted under a gold canopy cloth held up by four Knights of the Garter.
It’s no surprise that a natural New Zealand product is being used for this important detail in the King’s coronation.
Charles has long been a champion of wool, something Aotearoa has in great abundance, as Monarchy New Zealand chair Dr Sean Palmer tells the Herald.
“What he stands for, it resonates with New Zealand’s national character very well,” Palmer says.
The King has spearheaded the promotion of sheep’s wool and is the patron for The Campaign For Wool.
With a focus on encouraging consumers to understand the benefits of wool and grow the industry, Palmer says for New Zealand, “A country with 25 million sheep, that’s kind of a big deal.
“Again, he looked at that in terms of a renewable resource and as a material that isn’t going to pollute the ground.”
As Kiwis prepare to mark the coronation, they will get to participate in New Zealand’s very special - and sustainable - gift to the new King.
Before travelling to the UK for the ceremony, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced a donation of $1m to Trees That Count, which will work with the Department of Conservation and community groups to plant over 100,000 native trees in He Rā Rākau Tītapu - King Charles III Coronation Plantings.