Chrism oil that will play a key role in the coronation of King Charles III has been made sacred at a ceremony in Jerusalem.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Rev Hosam Naoum, consecrated the holy oil in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Friday.
It was created using olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension
The olives were pressed outside Bethlehem and the oil has been perfumed with sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin and amber as well as orange blossom.
“I am honoured and grateful that His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and Archbishop Hosam Naoum have consecrated the oil that will be used to anoint His Majesty the King” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said.
“I want to thank especially His Beatitude for providing this coronation oil, which reflects the king's personal family connection with the Holy Land and his great care for its peoples.
“I am also delighted that the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem shared in the consecration of the oil.
“Since beginning of the planning for the coronation, my desire has been for a new coronation oil to be produced using olive oil from the Mount of Olives. This demonstrates the deep historic link between the coronation, the Bible and the Holy Land.
“From ancient kings through to the present day, monarchs have been anointed with oil from this sacred place. As we prepare to anoint the king and the queen consort, I pray that they would be guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.”
The oil will be used to anoint King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla — one of the most sacred parts of the ceremony.
The king will also receive the orb, coronation ring and sceptre, and will be crowned with the majestic St Edward's Crown and blessed during the historic ceremony on May 6.
Queen Consort Camilla will also be anointed with holy oil and crowned, as the Queen Mother was when she was crowned in 1937.
The oil is based on what was used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the formula of which has been used for hundreds of years.
The anointing process involves the Archbishop of Canterbury pouring holy oil from the beak of the golden eagle-shaped ampulla on to a 12th-century, silver-gilt anointing spoon, the most ancient treasure of the Crown Jewels. He then uses the holy oil to anoint the hands, chest and head in the form of a cross.
Considered to be the most sacred part of the religious ceremony, the act of anointing a sovereign has not previously been seen by the public.
During Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953, a canopy was held over the monarch’s head to protect her privacy.
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla are reportedly considering using a transparent canopy, which will make the pair the first in British history to be publicly anointed.
The coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, “while being rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry”, said Buckingham Palace.
The crowning of a monarch is one of Britain's most ancient ceremonies, being deeply religious and steeped in regalia, such as the Crown Jewels.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 was one of the defining moments of the 20th century. King Charles's coronation will be shorter and on a smaller scale but will still retain the pageantry and tradition that was on display with such aplomb at the queen's funeral.