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Coronation Bible delivered to the Archbishop of Canterbury

20 April 2023

Neil Turner for Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury with the Coronation Bible

The Archbishop of Canterbury with the Coronation Bible

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has received the specially commissioned King James Bible that will be presented to King Charles III during the Coronation on 6 May, Lambeth Palace announced on Thursday afternoon.

During the service in Westminster Abbey, the Coronation Bible will be presented to the King, who will place his hand on it when he takes the Coronation Oath.

A Bible is known to have been presented to each monarch in this way since the joint Coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689. The earliest specially produced Coronation Bible in the Royal Collection is from the Coronation of George III in 1761.

Archbishop Welby commissioned Oxford University Press to produce the Bible, which is hand-bound in leather and decorated in gold leaf by London bookbinders Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, who also produced the Bible for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It features typesetting based on the Quatercentenary Edition of the King James Authorized Version, published by OUP to mark the 400th anniversary in 2011.

The Coronation Bible was published on Thursday and brought to Lambeth Palace by the project team, including the chief executive of Oxford University Press, Nigel Portwood.

Archbishop Welby said: “The Coronation will be a service of Christian worship, deeply rooted in the wisdom we find in Scripture. The Bible which will be presented to His Majesty the King is a reminder that scripture is not just at the heart of the responsibilities he undertakes at the Coronation, but at the heart of Christian life.

“On this momentous occasion, the Bible will be the first and most important gift offered to the King. The scriptures offer a guide and light to all — and I pray that His Majesty will continue to find them in these living words.”

Mr Portwood hoped that the Bible would be “cherished by His Majesty for many years to come”.

After the Coronation, the Bible will be displayed in the Lambeth Palace Library exhibition on the Coronation, and kept afterwards in the collection. Three identical copies of the Coronation Bible have been made: a personal copy for the King, and two others to be placed in the archives of Westminster Abbey and Oxford University Press.

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