This Royal Scepter was presented to Elizabeth simultaneously with the Sceptre of Equity and Mercy, a potent illustration that she was given to reign in the steadfastness of “Kingly power and justice,” so executed that she would never “forget mercy.”
Elizabeth was still seated in King Edward’s Chair, facing the altar, not the audience. Not yet enthroned, she was in her rightful, royal place in the high-backed chair where centuries of Monarchs, her relatives of old and of late, had been seated. At that point in the ceremony, even her husband, Duke of Edinburgh, could not see her face.
The Swords and the Sceptres, the Orb and Armills, the Spurs and the Ring and the Glove had come to her one by one from the Altar of God. Her head was still bare; she was wearing emblazoned gold on top of silk on top of linen over beaded and embroidered splendor, but very few saw the calm, resolute, certain, ready, God-fearing humility that those nearest her believed to have been apparent.
Strength and resolve adorned her more majestically than her robes and regalia. She would fulfill her destiny by the grace and in the reverential fear of the Lord. Clothed in majesty, seated in glorious purpose, having every right to be where she had been chosen to be, she was no usurper. Hear these words, beloved of Cor Unum . . .
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:2-5)
One of the hallmarks of monasticism is its focus on Lectio Divina, as we have seen. One of the hallmarks of this Divine Reading is that we become what we read, given the nature of the Living Word. As Elizabeth knew the ins and outs of her constitutional position and of the ceremony that crowned her the constitutional monarch that she is, we ought to read the passage above more faithfully than we brush our teeth, for we, at the right hand of God in Christ Jesus, are not usurpers, either.