Recycling royals: How Charles will re-use chairs made for the coronations of his mother in 1953 and grandfather King George IV for his own big day – while 100 VIP seats crafted from British oak will be auctioned off for charity
The King has decided to ‘recycle’ several historic chairs for the Coronation as part of his drive to make it the most eco-friendly royal event in history.
He has also commissioned the creation of 100 seats using sustainable British oak for members of the Royal Family and VIP guests, as well as ‘ordinary’ members of the congregation. In another first, these chairs will be auctioned off later this year for several charities close to Their Majesties’ hearts including ones supporting the homeless and victims of domestic violence.
Sources could not confirm which royals would be seated in them but have not ruled out Prince Harry. However, buyers will not know who sat on which chair.
Buckingham Palace will today reveal details of the different seats being used by the King and Queen Consort on Saturday for different stages of the ceremony: the Chairs of Estate and the Throne Chairs (Chairs of State). The most notable is St Edward’s Chair – the Coronation Chair – upon which Charles will sit to be crowned.
But the couple will begin by sitting in Chairs of Estate and have decided to use existing ones held by the Royal Collection.
The King has decided to ‘recycle’ several historic chairs for the Coronation as part of his drive to make it the most eco-friendly royal event in history
Charles and the Queen Consort look at their throne seat covers during a visit to the Royal College of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey, Surrey
They were made in 1953 by the London firm White, Allom and Company for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. One was used by the Queen during the ceremony, with a matching ‘companion’ chair later made for the late Duke of Edinburgh.
Made from carved and gilded beechwood in 17th century style, they bore the cyphers of Elizabeth and Philip, as well as the national emblems of a rose, thistle and shamrock.
Conservators have cleaned and restored the seats to the same pattern in which they were originally upholstered. However, the cyphers of the King and Queen Consort have replaced those of Elizabeth and Philip, which will be kept in the Royal Collection.
The new cyphers have been hand-embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework using cloth of gold and matching metallic thread, but the original braid and trimmings have been reused. A technique called ‘long and short shading’ was used to give a three-dimensional effect to items like the jewels.
A member of the Royal Household works on the Chair of Estate for the Queen Consort at Frogmore Workshops in Windsor, Berkshire
The couple will begin by sitting in Chairs of Estate and have decided to use existing ones held by the Royal Collection
Camilla will, notably, use her Chair of Estate for her own Coronation.
Lastly the couple will use ‘throne chairs’ for the enthronement and homage elements of the service, which were first used by King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, in 1937. The King has recycled the original royal coats of arms that were on the front and back of the chair for King George VI in a touching nod to his grandfather. The Queen Consort has an identical chair, used by Queen Elizabeth, but her own coats of arms have replaced those of the Queen Mother.
Caroline de Guitaut, of the King’s Works of Art at the Royal Collection Trust, praised the King’s ‘incredibly efficient and sustainable’ way of doing things.