Herzogs to represent Israel at weekend’s coronation of King Charles III in London

President, wife to attend Buckingham Palace reception, will walk to Westminster Abbey on Shabbat; religious leaders’ greeting won’t be amplified due to Jewish participants

President Isaac Herzog, left, and his wife Michal Herzog arrive at Buckingham Palace in London, September 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool)
President Isaac Herzog, left, and his wife Michal Herzog arrive at Buckingham Palace in London, September 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool)

President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal will formally represent Israel at the coronation of King Charles III in London on Saturday.

The pair will stay near Westminster Abbey so that they can walk to the ceremony without violating Shabbat, the President’s Residence said in a statement Tuesday.

The Herzogs will fly to London on Thursday evening, and on Friday will attend a reception hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace in honor of all the heads of state and royals flying in for the occasion.

The Herzogs also represented Israel at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II last year.

The president and his wife are not the only ones who are having to make adjustments for the Saturday event. Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife, Valerie, will stay at Clarence House, the residence of King Charles III, the night before the coronation, to allow them to attend the ceremony that will also see the queen consort, Camilla, crowned.

According to the UK-based Jewish Chronicle, Mirvis will spend Friday evening celebrating Shabbat with local Jewish communities, before retiring to Clarence House, which is less than a mile from Westminster Abbey where the coronation is set to take place.

The invitation to King Charles III’s coronation received by President Isaac Herzog and Michal Herzog (Courtesy)

Charles immediately became king when Queen Elizabeth died aged 96 on September 8 last year, ending her record-breaking 70-year reign after a year of declining health. He also took over as head of state of 14 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The coronation traditionally takes place some months after a new sovereign has ascended to the throne, following a period of national and royal mourning as well as intense preparation.

At the conclusion of the coronation, just before Charles sets off in the Gold State Coach for a procession on the streets of London, the leaders and representatives of faith communities will deliver a greeting in unison.

However, the greeting won’t be electronically amplified out of respect for those who are observing the Jewish sabbath and are barred from using electrical devices, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office said on Saturday.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth last year, Buckingham Palace moved the start time of a multifaith event commemorating her death forward to allow Mirvis to attend and still return to his North London home in time for Shabbat.

In response, the chief rabbi’s Twitter account said at the time: “In a deeply moving gesture, Buckingham Palace brought the event forward to enable him to attend before Shabbat.”

Britain’s Prince Charles and Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Jan. 23, 2020 (Menahem Kahana/Pool Photo via AP, file)

By attending the ceremony, even though it’s on a Saturday, the chief rabbi is continuing a 120-year-old tradition set by former chief rabbi Hermann Adler, who attended the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, an event that also took place on Shabbat.

On that occasion 12 decades ago, Adler attended synagogue prayers before he was escorted on foot by police to Westminster Abbey.

UK chief rabbi Israel Brodie attended the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, which was held on a Tuesday.

Britain’s King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, attend a ceremony to present new Standards and Colours to the Royal Navy, the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, The King’s Company of the Grenadier Guards and The King’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force at Buckingham Palace in London, April 27, 2023. (Stefan Rousseau, Pool Photo via AP)

The king’s commitment to diversity will be on display on Saturday, when religious leaders representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions will for the first time play an active role in the ceremonies.

As far back as the 1990s, Charles suggested that he would like to be known as “the defender of faith,” a small but hugely symbolic change from the monarch’s traditional title of “defender of the faith,” meaning Christianity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s office said Saturday’s service will be an act of Christian worship that will reflect contemporary society.

Britain’s Prince Charles, center, Leaves after visiting the tomb where his grandmother Princess Alice is buried at the Church of St Mary Magdalene at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel, Jan. 2020. (Neil Hall/Pool Photo via AP)

The ceremony also will include female bishops for the first time, as well as hymns and prayers sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic in addition to English.

In the most sacred part of the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint the king with oil that had been blessed in Jerusalem, consecrating him and setting him apart from his subjects.

A screen will cover Charles at this moment, and the anointing won’t be visible on television or to most people in the abbey, except for a few senior members of the clergy.

This will be followed by the presentation of the coronation regalia, sacred objects like the orb and scepter that symbolize the monarch’s power and responsibilities.

Then Prince Charles, the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in central London, June 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Stefan Wermuth, Pool, File)

In another innovation that reflects the changed religious landscape in Britain, members of the House of Lords from the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions will present the king with objects with no explicit Christian symbolism.

The new king will then be crowned and the refrain “God Save the King’’ will echo through the abbey.

Camilla will then be anointed, in a form similar to that of queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, in 1937.

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