5 May 2023
This special occasion was held in-person in the Girls’ Division Great Hall, decked in Union Flags and bunting, and livestreamed virtually to all Boys’ Division form rooms.
Mrs Kyle, the Head of Girls’ Division, began by speaking about the organ music that accompanied the entrance to the Great Hall: ‘Zadok the Priest’, which was composed for the coronation of King George II in 1727 and has been used in every coronation since. She also told the listening pupils that the closing music would be ‘Crown Imperial’, composed for the coronation of Edward V and inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’.
She then looked back some 70 years at the previous coronation and how it was celebrated, noting that Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was the first to be televised and indeed the first major event to reach an international audience! Today’s assembly in fact replicated part of the School’s celebrations back in 1953, when a service was held on the Friday before Elizabeth II’s coronation. In the previous week, there was also a Coronation Concert and the Coronation Lanterns were purchased and put on display at the entrances to the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions: these now hang under the main arch leading into the Riley Quad.
Mrs Kyle spoke about the traditions of coronation that date back hundreds of years and how this celebration is also a solemn religious ceremony. She explained how the service would unfold the following day and gave a brief history on the Crown Jewels, which were made for another King Charles in 1661, after the previous set was sold and melted down by Oliver Cromwell!
Looking forward to the weekend of celebrations, Mrs Kyle spoke about Coronation Big Lunches and the King’s message for everyone to join the Big Help Out on the Monday Bank Holiday. Pupils in the Primary Division got a head start on this earlier in the week with a visit to Bolton Hospice!
Finally, Mrs Kyle encouraged everyone listening to tune in to at least part of the coronation, as this is an important moment in history and reminded those in the hall that, in future years, they will be able to say, ‘I was there.’
The whole school stood to sing the National Anthem to bring the assembly to a close, and girls departed the hall to the ‘Crown Imperial’ march.