Thursday, 20 June 2024

Royal Recognition: Archbishop of Canterbury Honored by the King for Integral Role in Coronation

Royal Recognition: Archbishop of Canterbury Honored by the King for Integral Role in Coronation
Thursday, 04 January 2024 18:43

Royal Recognition: Archbishop of Canterbury Awarded Knight Grand Cross for Key Role in Coronation

In a distinguished gesture of appreciation, the King has bestowed the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) upon the Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This prestigious honor acknowledges his pivotal contribution to the success of the Coronation ceremony. The Archbishop is celebrated alongside other key figures instrumental in the event, such as the Crown Jeweller and the Master of the King’s Music.

The recognition follows months of criticism directed at the Archbishop, particularly from Government ministers who disapproved of his commentary on the Illegal Migration Bill during a speech in the House of Lords. Despite calls for him to refrain from political statements, this honor under the RVO is an independent acknowledgment by the King, separate from the Downing Street-controlled New Year Honours list.

Established by Queen Victoria, the RVO serves to commend distinguished personal service to the monarch or other members of the Royal family. While the Archbishop, responsible for anointing and crowning the King during the Westminster Abbey ceremony on May 6, won't adopt the title "Sir Justin" as the award isn't technically a knighthood, the recognition underscores his significant role in the Coronation.

A recent BBC documentary offered a glimpse into the Coronation preparations, revealing moments of camaraderie between the King and Archbishop, even amidst a lighthearted mishap during rehearsal. The Archbishop, in keeping with tradition, commissioned a new Coronation liturgy titled "Called To Serve.

Despite the honor, the GCVO award may stir controversy due to the Archbishop's perceived foray into politics, notably criticizing the Government's immigration policy in a House of Lords speech. This recognition stands as both a testament to the Archbishop's integral role in the Coronation and a point of discussion for those who question the intersection of religious figures and political commentary.

Royal Recognition Sparks Controversy: Archbishop's Award Amid Political Disputes

The King's recent conferral of the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) upon the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, has reignited debates surrounding his foray into politics. The honor recognizes the Archbishop's pivotal role in the Coronation but comes on the heels of criticism from figures like Robert Jenrick and Conservative MP James Daly, who argued that the Archbishop should refrain from political commentary.

This incident adds to a string of controversies involving the Archbishop's public opposition to various government policies, ranging from Brexit to austerity and benefit caps. Earlier this year, heads of Anglican Church branches abroad withdrew recognition of the Archbishop as the Church's head due to the General Synod's decision to allow same-sex marriages and civil partnerships to be blessed in churches.

The list of RVO recipients includes notable figures, such as Claire van Straubenzee, mother of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex's late friend Henry van Straubenzee. Dr. David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, and Paul Baumann, Westminster Abbey’s receiver-general, were also honored, reflecting their significant roles during the Coronation.

Mark Appleby, the Crown Jeweller responsible for the maintenance of the Crown Jewels, received the title of Lieutenant of the RVO, a position held by only the 10th person since its creation in 1843. Other recipients include Sir Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera House’s music director, and Colonel Jeremy Bagshaw, who oversaw the ceremonial role of the Household Division during the event.

As the Archbishop's award stirs discussion, the broader New Year Honours list acknowledges the contribution of Judith Weir, Master of the King’s Music, with a damehood, emphasizing the multifaceted nature of recognition within the realm of the Coronation.

Honoring Excellence: Diverse Recognition in the New Year's Honours List

Dame Judith Weir, a distinguished composer, takes center stage in the New Year's Honours List, receiving accolades for her outstanding contributions to music. Her composition, "Brighter Visions Shine Afar," served as a captivating overture at the Coronation, showcasing her remarkable talent. Beyond the Coronation, Dame Judith has left an indelible mark with compositions for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral and the Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Claire van Straubenzee, mother of the late Henry van Straubenzee, receives an MBE for her exceptional dedication to charitable endeavors. Co-founder of a memorial fund named after her son, she has been recognized for the fund's impactful work supporting education institutions in Uganda, with the two princes serving as patrons.

The prestigious title of Dame Commander of the RVO is bestowed upon Rowena Feilden, lady in waiting to the Princess Royal, in acknowledgment of her distinguished service. Karen Findlay, Metropolitan Police Commander on operational duty during the Coronation, and music advisers David Whelton and James Williams are appointed Lieutenants of the RVO for their integral roles in the event.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Julian Sandford, Sergeant Major of the Band of the Household Cavalry during the Coronation parade, is honored as a member of the Royal Victorian Order, recognizing his significant contributions.

Further additions to the RVO include Christopher Tombling, the Royal Household’s head chef, Kathryn Stone, the Royal Collection’s paper conservator, Adelaide Izat, its paintings conservator, and David Foy, stud groom at the royal paddocks at Hampton Court Palace.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak acknowledges the exceptional achievements and selflessness of the honorees, describing them as the pride of the country and an inspiration to all. The diverse range of individuals recognized in this year's honours underscores the varied and significant contributions made across different fields.

In conclusion, the New Year's Honours List for the year stands as a celebration of diverse excellence and unwavering dedication. From Dame Judith Weir's mesmerizing compositions to Claire van Straubenzee's impactful charity work, and Rowena Feilden's exceptional service as Dame Commander of the RVO, the honorees represent a tapestry of talent, commitment, and compassion.

Karen Findlay, David Whelton, James Williams, and Julian Sandford receive well-deserved recognition for their integral roles in the Coronation, reflecting the collaborative effort that brought the event to life. The inclusion of individuals from various domains, including the arts, charity, law enforcement, and the royal household, highlights the breadth of exceptional contributions across different spheres.

As Rishi Sunak aptly expresses, these honorees are not only the pride of the country but also an inspiration to us all. Their exceptional achievements underscore the importance of recognizing and celebrating the myriad ways individuals contribute to the betterment of society, making a lasting impact on the world around them. The New Year's Honours List serves as a testament to the collective spirit of excellence and selflessness that defines these remarkable individuals.

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