Pope gifts True Cross relics for King Charles’ coronation

King Charles’ May 6 coronation procession will be led by a cross containing religious relics gifted to the monarch by Pope Francis.

The cross, named the Cross of Wales, contains two shards of the True Cross, which is said to have been used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The Royal Palace made the announcement on Tuesday, NZ time.

The small fragments have been incorporated into the larger silver crucifix behind a rose crystal gemstone so they can be viewed only up close. One shard is 1cm in size and the other is 5mm.

Crafted from recycled silver bullion provided by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales, the Cross of Wales includes a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and Welsh slate.

Words from the last sermon of St David are inscribed on the back of the cross in Welsh, which read: ‘Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain’, translated as: ‘Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things’.

The Cross of Wales is a gift from the King to the Church in Wales to celebrate its centenary. It will be blessed by the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, in a service at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno, North Wales, today before it heads to London.

Upon its return from the coronation procession, the cross will be shared between Wales’s Anglican and Catholic churches.

The silver elements bear a full hallmark, including the Royal Mark – a leopard’s head – which was applied by the King himself in November last year when visiting The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.

“We are honoured that His Majesty has chosen to mark our centenary with a cross that is both beautiful and symbolic,” said Archbishop Andrew.

“Its design speaks to our Christian faith, our heritage, our resources and our commitment to sustainability. We are delighted too that its first use will be to guide Their Majesties into Westminster Abbey at the coronation service.”

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, Mark O’Toole, said: “With a sense of deep joy, we embrace this cross, kindly given by King Charles, and containing a relic of the True Cross, generously gifted by the Holy See. It is not only a sign of the deep Christian roots of our nation but will, I am sure, encourage us all to model our lives on the love given by our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Well ahead of the coronation, King Charles met a Catholic delegation at Buckingham Palace.

As king, Charles is the supreme governor of the Church of England.

Speaking for the 12-member delegation, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster pledged his church’s allegiance to the new king.

“For so many years, we have observed your desire and unstinting efforts to explore and enhance the well-being of the entire human family, through your commitment to religious faith, protection of the environment and relief of poverty,” Nichols said.

“The Catholic community is profoundly supportive of these fundamental concerns, as we strive to offer our society, your kingdom, an education for young people that is rooted in faith and its consequent commitment to human dignity.”


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