The Coronation Chair
Answer to Name This Famous Antique Game - June 2014
By Mike McLeod
 

Ted Carlton of Utah correctly identified the Coronation Chair which was posted at www.antiquingmagazine.com.

Residing in Westminster Abbey in London, the Coronation Chair has been used for the coronations of all English monarchs since 1308 who were actually crowned. (Two were not1.) It is also called King Edward’s Chair because he ordered it created to hold the Stone of Scone, which he had taken from Scotland. King Edward I ruled from 1272 to 1307.

The Coronation Chair or King Edward’s Chair.
(Photo: Kjetil Bjřrnsrud.)

A drawing showing the Stone of Scone in
King Edward’s chair. (Photo: U.S. public domain.)

The Stone of Scone is shrouded in myths which say it was the stone Jacob used as a pillow in Bethel the night of his vision of Jacob’s Ladder. It is also said to have been originally used by the Irish for crowning their kings. However, geological research matches this red sandstone block with a quarry in Scotland. Putting the myths aside, the Stone of Scone was used for the coronation of Scottish kings at least as far back as the 800s A.D. 

Edward I captured the Stone of Scone in 1296 while fighting against the Scots. Edward sent the Stone of Scone to Westminster Abbey. (A historical connection here: two years later, King Edward I and his army defeated the army of William “Braveheart” Wallace in 1298. He did not capture Wallace in this battle; a traitor turned him over to the English in 1305.)

A replica of the Stone of Scone.
(Photo: bubobubo2.)

This painting in Westminster Abbey is thought to be Edward I. It was hung there during his reign, 1272-1307.

The Stone remained at Westminster Abbey until 1950 when Scottish nationals “re-appropriated” it but only for a brief amount of time. In 1996, Prime Minister John Major sent it home to Scotland permanently—on the condition that the Stone of Scone returns to Westminster Abbey for future coronations.

The Coronation Chair has two lions carved at its feet, and it has a slot for the Stone of Scone under the seat2. Its last use was in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

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1 Edward V and Edward VIII were not crowned. Henry V was 12 when his father died in 1483, but he was never officially crowned. His uncle Richard III, who was also his Lord Protector, delayed the coronation until Parliament declared him king instead. Edward V was king for 86 days. Not long after his “removal from office,” he and a slightly older brother disappeared and were presumed murdered at the orders of Richard III.

Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 due to his future plans to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. As king, Edward VIII was also considered head of the Church of England which was against a divorcee marrying again before the spouse passed away.

2 Westminster-abbey.org 


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