STRATFORD – Just days before the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla on May 6 at Westminster Abbey, St. James Anglican Church in Stratford highlighted a historical connection to the last royal coronation, of Queen Elizabeth II.
On full display in the church sanctuary was a section of blue carpet. As the story goes, that piece of carpet was a section of the very same carpet installed at Westminster Abbey in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation on June 2, 1953.
“There was a bunch of stuff they had brought into Westminster Abbey to add to the environment and the atmosphere and all the rest,” says the Rev. Rob Lemon, incumbent. “It was not stuff that the abbey was going to need down the road, so they offered it out to churches and organizations throughout the Commonwealth, and you could apply to receive it. So Archdeacon Lightburn, who was the priest here at the time, took a shot at it.”
While the initial response from England made it seem like the Stratford church would not get a piece of royal memorabilia, St. James received another message two days later saying another church in the Commonwealth was no longer able to take a particular piece of carpet – roughly 1.4 metres larger than what the Stratford archdeacon had originally requested – that could now be sent to St. James if the church still wanted it.
“So they went for it,” explains Mr. Lemon. “They paid for it and, in 1954, it arrived, was installed and they dedicated it a year to the day after the coronation.”
In celebration of the coronation of May 6, St. James screened the event live beginning at 6 a.m. on the church’s big screen televisions. Mr. Lemon invited anyone from Stratford and the surrounding area to dress their royal best and join their fellow monarchy enthusiasts to watch the proceedings unfold.