Here’s Why the Anointing of King Charles Was Kept Hidden from the Public Today

King Charles III.
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Today, the world watched as King Charles III was crowned monarch of the United Kingdom, but there was one specific portion that was kept hidden from the general public—his anointing.

With a dabble of chrism oil (which was consecrated in Jerusalem), King Charles was anointed as king during the religious ceremony at Westminster Abbey. However, a screen was used to block this moment from onlookers.

If you're wondering why this ritual was kept private, it's because it is the most sacred part of the ceremony, and it is a tradition to conceal it. Per Buckingham Palace, “It has historically been regarded as a moment between the Sovereign and God, with a screen or canopy in place given the sanctity of the Anointing.” And to this day, the anointing has never been televised.

Still, while we didn't get to witness this moment, we pretty much know what went down. As noted by the palace, the Dean of Westminster pours holy oil from the Ampulla onto the Coronation Spoon and then the Archbishop of Canterbury applies it to the king's head, hands and chest.

In the background, the choir sang Handel’s famous coronation anthem ‘Zadok the Priest,’ as seen in the video above.

While you may be cursing the screen that enclosed the king and archbishop, this hand-embroidered partition was created by over 150 different people, according to Hello! magazine. It was designed by iconographer Aiden Hart.

There were a number of meaningful symbols featured in the design, including a tree with leaves representing all 56 countries in the Commonwealth, a scroll with a quote from Julian of Norwich and doves of peace.

screen hero
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Talk about a seriously sacred ceremony.

For more about the royalslisten to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...