On behalf of The Diocese of Sodor and Man, I offer thanks to Almighty God for the work of His grace in the life and reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Lord of Mann, whose Platinum Jubilee as Monarch we celebrate at this time.
As spiritual preparation for her Coronation in 1953, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher, gave to Princess Elizabeth a small book of Private Devotions: prayers and scriptural readings to be used from 01 May until the Coronation on 02 June. These served as a guide for the awesome responsibilities of monarchy, drawing on the relationship of human authority to the authority of God from which it is derived. Within the ceremony of Coronation came the rite of Anointing, in which the Archbishop marked the Queen, wearing a simple white dress without regal robes, on hands and head with sacred oil. To be anointed is to be set apart for a special task by God, as Christ, ‘the anointed one’, was marked by the Holy Spirit at His baptism, and as all Christians are marked or anointed with oil at baptism.
In these simple yet beautiful acts, we see the priestly task of the Christian sovereign, who is given a unique authority to lead and to care in God’s name. The Queen has reflected on her Anointing as the ‘inward and spiritual’ substance of sovereignty, with the Crowning as the ‘outward and secular’ aspect. But the Crowning too is priestly, as Archbishop Fisher made clear in the Private Devotions. He wrote: ‘There is another crown, the crown of thorns: its wearer wore it for an unworthy people and, by wearing it, made a way for their return to God.’
Queens and Kings, like Priests, are called to a way of life that is deeply sacrificial. There must have been times over the past 70 years when the royal crown seemed very heavy indeed. We can only be immensely grateful that our Queen has worn it faithfully as our anointed sovereign and, in so doing, has exemplified for her people a life of Christian service under the grace of Almighty God.
+ Peter Sodor as Mannin
2 June 2022