Embroidered Anointing Screen for Coronation

29th April, 2023

The Royal School of Needlework is proud to announce that it has been working on the Anointing Screen which has been designed and produced for use during the Coronation Service on 6 May at Westminster Abbey.

The Anointing Screen will be used at the most sacred moment of the Coronation, the Anointing of His Majesty The King. The screen combines traditional and contemporary sustainable embroidery practices to produce a design which speaks to His Majesty The King’s deep affection for the Commonwealth.

The Anointing Screen was designed by iconographer Aidan Hart and has been brought to life through embroidery, managed by the Royal School of Needlework. The design has been selected personally by The King and is inspired by the stained-glass Sanctuary Window in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.

The central design takes the form of a tree with 56 leaves, representing the 56 member countries of the Commonwealth.  The leaves have been embroidered by staff and students from the Royal School of Needlework, as well as members of different Livery Companies – The Worshipful Company of Broderers, Drapers and Weavers.

Also forming part of the Commonwealth tree are The King’s Cypher, decorative roses, angels and a scroll.  At the top of the screen is the sun, representing God, and birds including the dove of peace, which have all been hand embroidered by our expert Embroidery Studio.

The screen is three-sided. The two sides of the screen feature a simpler design with maroon fabric and a gold, blue and red cross, inspired by the colours and patterning of the Cosmati Pavement at Westminster Abbey where the Anointing will take place. The crosses were also embroidered by our Embroidery Studio.

The Anointing Screen is supported by a wooden pole framework, designed and created by Nick Gutfreund of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. The oak wooden poles are made from a windblown tree from the Windsor Estate, which was originally planted by The Duke of Northumberland in 1765.

As well as heritage craft, contemporary skills and techniques have formed part of this unique collaboration. The outline design of the tree has been created using digital machine embroidery by Pete Tarrant from Digitek Embroidery.

The Anointing screen has been gifted for the Coronation by the City of London Corporation and participating Livery Companies, the City’s ancient and modern trade guilds.

Images show:

  • Work in progress on the Commonwealth Tree
  • Work in progress on the Sun
  • The Anointing Screen in Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace with the window that inspired the design behind (copyright: PA News)