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Spoon-bending paranormalist Uri Geller is very excited about the coronation of King Charles III as he vows not to mess with proceedings.
In a video filmed in his native Israel, the showman who claims he was gifted with paranormal powers by extraterrestrial visitors tells the story of the ancient golden spoon.
The spoon has been used to pour holy oil onto every new British monarch since the 14th Century. Even then, according to historical documents it was already “antique”.
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“You can see it here, right on the screen,”Geller says, “this nearly thousand year old gold spoon will anoint him with oil – and the oil was made here in the Holy Land just three days ago!”
Then, he jokes, “that’s one spoon I better not touch!”
The golden spoon is first recorded in 1349 as preserved among St Edward's Regalia in Westminster Abbey and may well have been used for his coronation in 1272.
Described as being of “antique forme” even then – in the time of the Black Death – it’s regarded as a remarkable relic.
The entire coronation is a re-enactment of coronations going back many hundreds of years.
There have been occasional updates over time: for example William IV, mindful the fact that his country was in the grip of a massive economic recession, scaled down some of the pomp and ceremony for his 1831 coronation.
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The changes caused a significant fuss among traditionalists at the time but what was called the “half crown coronation” has set the style ever since.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the holy oil poured onto the new monarch’s head.
Properly called chrism, it’s made from olives harvested from Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. The olives are pressed before being perfumed with sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin and amber as well as orange blossom.
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But holy oil poured on previous monarchs also included bizarre ingredients such as civet oil, from the glands of a small mongoose-like mammal, and ambergris – a by-product of a sperm whale’s digestive system.
King Charles is understood to have requested that his special oil be produced in a way that doesn’t involve animal cruelty and those ingredients will be missed out of this year’s recipe.
In a special ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Friday, the oil to be used on May 6 was blessed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, The Most Reverend Hosam Naoum.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury said: "I am honoured and grateful that His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and Archbishop Hosam Naoum have consecrated the oil that will be used to anoint His Majesty The King.
"I want to thank especially His Beatitude for providing this Coronation Oil, which reflects the King's personal family connection with the Holy Land and his great care for its peoples.
"I am also delighted that the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem shared in the consecration of the oil.
The oil is not the only strange custom associated with a monarch’s coronation.
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A special chair, called simply the Coronation Chair, has been used in every coronation since 1308.
Tourist guide Sue King told the BBC: “You can find it behind glass in St George's Chapel, just near the Great West Doors of the Abbey beside a portrait of Richard II seated there.
”What you see is an old brown wooden chair, but there are accounts of how it was painted with images of kings, foliage and birds, gilded and fitted with precious stones. It's probably the oldest piece of furniture still in use in England."
And beneath the chair a special rock – said to have magical properties – will be placed.
Currently residing in Edinburgh Castle the Stone of Scone is alleged to have been used as a pillow by the Biblical prophet Jacob.
The stone said to cry out in pain if someone who isn’t really entitled to the throne is crowned while sitting on it.
Assuming that the tales of it being swapped out for a fake in the early 1200s aren’t true, the magic stone will next be put to the test in just 60 days.
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- Uri Geller
- King Charles III
- Royal Family
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