In another moment, the bells in the north-west Abbey tower will be pealing wildly, and ‘by signal given’ the mighty guns at the Tower will be firing. The millions of souls on the streets will be cheering “God Save the Queen! God Save the Queen,” but first the cry is raised inside the Abbey. In just a moment, a crimson wave will produce hands and arms uplifted, placing sparkling coronets on humbled heads. In that moment, England and all the Commonwealth will be crowned in the glory of this coronation.
The Archbishop is standing before Elizabeth, whose eyes are fixed upon him. The coronation crown has been situated just so on its cushion, and many practices on stand-ins have guaranteed that it will be put right side to the front on the royal head, as has failed to happen in coronations past.
Archbishop Fisher lifts the ancient crown very high; it seems suspended in air for a moment, and then . . . it rests where it belongs, on the head of the Sovereign of the Realm, the fortieth from William the Conqueror, but at least the 63rd from the very first rulers of the British Isles. When the tumult in the Abbey finally began to recede, the Archbishop spoke these words that had been spoken over those who had sat where she was sitting since 973 . . .
“God crown you with a crown of glory and righteousness, that having a right faith and manifold fruit of good works, you may obtain the crown of an everlasting kingdom by the gift of Him whose kingdom endureth forever.”
Might not there have been a faithful little housewife, a humble coal miner or gardener or cobbler or bank treasurer who knew, as the moment came at last, that their moment would come some day, when they would have crowns of righteousness to lay at the feet of Jesus? Without doubt, such thoughts must have filled the hearts of at least those members of Cor Unum, there that day, and all these members here today, in the splendor and glory of that wonderful coronation moment.
St. Edward's Crown