Seen here for the first time, King Charles’ official Coronation invitation is a riot of flora and fauna centred around an ancient folklore symbol, the Green Man.
One of the country’s best-known pagan symbols, which features in many medieval churches, it is emblematic of spring and rebirth – and fitting for a new reign.
Although the Green Man is a fairly modern term, dating back to the 1930s, the origins of the image are so ancient that they are lost in the mists of time.
Many experts believe that it provided a reassuring bridge between Dark Ages paganism and early Christianity, which is why it also features in so many historic places of worship.
In the spirit of the Old Religion and its association with ancient woodlands, King Charles’s Green Man is crowned in natural foliage – leaves of oak, ivy and hawthorn and the emblematic flowers of the United Kingdom.
And, according to tradition, he has leaves spouting forth from his mouth.
Seen here for the first time, King Charles’ official Coronation invitation is a riot of flora and fauna centred around an ancient folklore symbol, the Green Man
A new portrait of King Charles and the Queen Consort has been released as the invitation to the Coronation was unveiled
The invitation, which will go out to 2,000 guests, has been designed by Andrew Jamieson, a heraldic artist, calligraphist and manuscript illuminator with 40 years of experience.
He is a brother of the Art Workers’ Guild, a body of more than 400 artists, craftspeople and architects working at the highest levels of excellence in their professions. The King is an honorary member.
A scribe and illuminator for His Majesty’s Crown Office in London, where he produces royal letters patent and documents of state, Mr Jamieson illuminated the royal letters patent issued in 2011 creating Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Strathearn and the Baron Carrickfergus when he married.
His design is a world away from the significantly more formal and pared-back monochrome invitation sent out by his late mother, Queen Elizabeth.
But it feels very ‘Charles’ and reflects the new monarch’s lifelong passion for the natural world.
The original artwork for the invitation was hand-painted in watercolour and gouache, a type of paint made from pigments bound in water-soluble gum, rather like watercolour but with the addition of a white pigment in order to make it opaque.
Recalling the Coronation emblem created by former chief Apple designer Sir Jony Ive, it will be reproduced and printed on recycled card with gold foil detailing.
The wildflower meadow bordering the invitation features lily of the valley, cornflowers, wild strawberries, dog roses, bluebells and a sprig of rosemary for remembrance.
With an impressive attention to detail, flowers appear in groupings of three, signifying the King becoming the third monarch of his name: King Charles III.
Among the blooms is a variety of wildlife including a bee, a butterfly (apparently a male chalk hill blue), a ladybird, a wren and a robin.
A lion, a unicorn and a boar – taken from the coats of arms of Charles and Camilla – can be spotted among the flowers.
Camilla’s arms – to the right of the invitation – are enclosed by a garter, following her installation as a royal lady of the Order of the Garter last summer.
Two thin gold lines encase the lettering and the stamp of the Duke of Norfolk.
Organising the Coronation (as well as funerals, the state opening of parliament and other royal occasions) falls to the Earl Marshal. The first to hold the position was John, 1st Duke of Norfolk in 1483.
It became the family’s by hereditary right and the incumbent is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, the 18th duke.
This is the first time the title Queen Camilla has been used in an official capacity.
The move marks the incredible journey of Camilla over more than five decades, from romantic involvement, to mistress and finally wife of the King – and will end with her formally being crowned Queen alongside the new King.
Future king Prince George will play an important role in the coronation of his grandfather alongside seven schoolboys and girls, with all been named as Pages of Honour who will ‘attend their majesties during the coronation service’.
The group are either family friends or close relatives of Charles and Camilla, including three of the Queen’s grandchildren, and will be expected to carry the robes of prominent figures during the day.
With the coronation almost a month away, a new double portrait of the King and Queen has been released showing them smiling in Buckingham Palace’s blue drawing room.
Camilla will officially be The Queen: King Charles confirms the ‘Consort’ has been dropped from her title – as Their Majesties reveal their official Coronation portrait
By Rebecca English, Royal Editor for the Daily Mail
Fittingly dressed in royal blue, the King and Queen Consort pose for a new official portrait as Buckingham Palace announced last night that after the Coronation the monarch’s wife will be known as Queen Camilla.
The news came as officials released an image of the elaborately illustrated invitation that will be sent out later this month to 2,000 guests who have secured a much-coveted place at Westminster Abbey on May 6.
The first clue that the King’s long-held dream of having his wife crowned Queen at his side was finally to be realised came in the wording of the invitation itself: ‘The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla.’
Asked about the title – when the accompanying press release itself still referred to Camilla as the Queen Consort – a senior royal aide confirmed: ‘It made sense to refer to her Majesty as The Queen Consort in the early months of His Majesty’s reign, to distinguish from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
‘Queen Camilla is the appropriate title to set against King Charles on the invitation. The Coronation is an appropriate time to start using “Queen Camilla” in an official capacity. All former Queen Consorts have been known as Queen plus their first name.’
Queen Elizabeth II poses with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on June 2, 1953, before her coronation
It is understood that Buckingham Palace will amend its website to reflect the change next month.
The Daily Mail was the first to reveal back in December that the Palace planned to drop the word Consort from Camilla’s title ‘organically’ this year.
This was confirmed by The Mail on Sunday in February, when it reported that she would be referred to as Queen after the Coronation.
The change, once unthinkable, sets the seal on a remarkable transformation for Camilla in the nation’s affections.
When she married the then Prince of Wales in 2005 in a civil ceremony – which Queen Elizabeth declined to attend – it was announced that Camilla ‘intended’ to be known as Princess Consort when her husband acceded to the throne.
The use of the word ‘intended’ was designed to give royal aides room for manoeuvre, but at the time many still blamed her for the breakdown of Charles’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.
Since then, however, Camilla, 75, has won many over with her warmth, sense of humour, lack of complaining and work championing the victims of domestic violence, as well as the promotion of literacy.
One royal insider said last night: ‘His Majesty has always seen it as a matter of honour. He is King so, therefore, it follows that his wife should be Queen.
The change, once unthinkable, sets the seal on a remarkable transformation for Camilla in the nation’s affections
‘It’s rather like telling someone they can’t be known as Mrs So-and-So.
‘It’s entirely up to them whether to chose to be called that, but it’s still fundamentally their right to do so.’
Tomorrow will mark a month to the Coronation but invitations to the historic event, the first of its kind for 70 years, will not be sent out until around two weeks in advance.
They are set to be collector’s items, featuring an exquisitely designed border of flora and fauna cantering around a Green Man, an ancient traditional symbol of spring and rebirth, to represent the new reign.
Buckingham Palace has also confirmed the King and Queen Consort’s Pages of Honour – led by Charles’s grandson Prince George, who will take part in the two-hour ceremony aged nine.
The then Princess Elizabeth was 11 when she watched her own father being crowned in 1937 but she did not have an official role. Neither did her son, Prince Charles, who was only four, at her own coronation in 1953.
Prince George will not merely watch but has been asked to carry his 74-year-old grandfather’s robe along with three other pages, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, Master Nicholas Barclay, 13, and Master Ralph Tollemache, 12.
The Queen Consort’s Pages of Honour will be Her Majesty’s grandsons, Master Gus and Master Louis Lopes, both 13, and Master Freddy Parker Bowles, 12. The fourth is Camilla’s great-nephew, Master Arthur Elliot, 11.
The new portrait of Their Majesties released last night was taken last month in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace by Hugo Burnand, who will also take their official Coronation photographs.
Camilla is wearing a favourite Fiona Clare dress with a diamond clasp pearl necklace and pearl earrings.
From Prince to Page: Nine-year-old George given a role of honour at King Charles’ coronation
But all of the boys who will carry the couple’s robes into Westminster Abbey demonstrate Charles and Camilla’s determination to put loyal family and friends at the heart of this historic occasion.
While the Prince and Princess of Wales were touched that the King wanted his grandson to play such a significant role, they wanted to ensure that nine-year-old George felt up to the public scrutiny.
After discussions with their eldest son and future monarch, they felt happy he would rise to the occasion.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said last night: ‘We’re all very excited about Prince George’s role in the Coronation, it will be an incredibly special moment.’
Prince George is the most notable – and youngest – page of honour chosen by the King and Queen Consort
The Queen Consort’s pages of honour all come from Her Majesty’s family. They include her grandsons Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Freddy Parker Bowles, 12. Pictured: Freddy stands foreground with twins Gus & Louis behind
A page of honour is a historic ceremonial position, now only employed on state occasions.
The king’s pages also include Nicholas Barclay, 13, the grandson of Sarah Troughton, who is one of the Queen’s companions and oldest friends.
He will be joined by Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, son of David, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, and his former model wife, Rose. Oliver’s father was recently appointed to be the King’s Lord-in-Waiting – a significant royal role.
All of the boys who will carry the couple’s robes into Westminster Abbey demonstrate Charles and Camilla’s determination to put loyal family and friends at the heart of this historic occasion
The fourth page is Ralph Tollemache, 12, son of British banker and aristocrat The Honourable Edward Tollemache – a godson of the King and a page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen Consort’s pages of honour all come from Her Majesty’s family. They include her grandsons Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Freddy Parker Bowles, 12.
Her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, 11 – whose father is former Tory Party chairman Ben Elliot – will be her fourth page.