Crowning Splendour

Only people born before 1953 had already lived through a British coronation. Only people born over five years before then will have much recollection of it. I still remember talk of older people saying how the coronation of the late Queen was an excuse to buy their family’s first TV set, or how everyone ‘on the street’ was crammed into the home of that one family that had one. Today, we have more screens able to show King Charles’ crowning than we had for Queen Elizabeth’s, though actual numbers watching it will prove interesting when revealed.

Monarchy is not everyone’s favourite institution, though I enjoy the spectacles it provides and the break from elected politicians with their endless promises to break or keep, and popularity to gain and retain. My greatest reason for regal fascination, however, is its vague semblance to that greater Monarchy, the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Like Charles III, King Jesus has His detractors and critics, and there are plenty of spiritual republicans who deny His right to reign and rule at all. Yet one day He shall return in glory, to claim His Kingdom and rule visibly.

Interestingly, three of my favourite hymns that speak of crowning the Lord Jesus all come from the reign of King George III, who occupied the throne when our chapel was constructed. The British monarchy was rather unpopular then, with revolutionary fervour coming from abroad and poor George’s mental illness threatening it from within. It is not just earthly monarchy’s pomp that points us to Christ, but also its shortcomings. Jesus Christ is the perfect King, the perfect Emperor, the Perfect Lord. Yield to Him today and own Him as your Sovereign. Submission to His rule is the greatest elevation, and the humblest service in His Kingdom is the greatest honour.

Oh, that with all the sacred throng

we at his feet may fall!

We'll join the everlasting song

and crown him Lord of all.

-Edward Perronet, 1780


Hark, those bursts of acclamation!

Hark, those loud, triumphant chords!

Jesus takes the highest station;

oh, what joy the sight affords!

Crown him! Crown him!

King of kings and Lord of lords!

-Thomas Kelly, 1809


The head that once was crowned with thorns

is crowned with glory now;

a royal diadem adorns

the mighty victor's brow.

-Thomas Kelly, 1820