The Sickle Cell Society are absolutely thrilled to have three of our amazing Patrons playing a key role in the Coronation of the King and Queen Consort today.
Baroness Floella Benjamin will be carrying the magnificent Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, traditionally known as the “Rod of Equity and Mercy”, in today’s King’s procession, whilst Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, the UK’s first sickle cell and thalassemia nurse specialist, will carry the Sovereign’s Orb in the Procession. The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin will present Queen Camilla with The Queen Consort’s Rod at the Coronation, representing the first time that female Bishops have played a role in a Coronation.
Wearing her House of Lords Robes, Baroness Benjamin will be carrying the magnificent Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, traditionally known as the Rod of Equity and Mercy”, which is presented to the King during his investiture before being crowned sovereign to represent his spiritual role.
Dame Benjamin said, “I feel honoured and privileged to be part of the historic coronation ceremony. To be selected to carry the Sovereign’s sceptre with dove, which represents spirituality, equity and mercy, is for me very symbolic as it’s everything I stand for and sends out a clear message that diversity and inclusion is being embraced.”
John James, CEO of Sickle Cell Society, said, “We are so proud that our Patron Baroness Benjamin has been selected for this very special role, representing the Windrush Generation and the diverse nation which we have become. All of us at the Sickle Cell Society send her our congratulations on this special role and our very best wishes for the day.”
Another of our Patrons, Prof Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, recently appointed to the Order of Merit, has also been selected to play a key role in the British Coronation Ceremony as she will carry the Orb during the coronation Ceremony of His Majesty King Charles the Third in the proceedings.
The Sovereign’s Orb, representing the monarch’s power and God’s granting of that power to the monarch, is a round hollow sphere of gold adorned with a cross.
The Orb was designed by the royal goldsmith, Sir Robert Viner, for the Coronation of King Charles II. In 1671, Colonel Thomas Blood attempted to steal the Sovereign’s Orb along with the other Crown Jewels.
During the Coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury places the Orb in the monarch’s right hand; then, the Orb is placed on the altar before the monarch is crowned.
In 1979, Anionwu became the United Kingdom’s first sickle-cell and thalassemia nurse specialist, helping establish the Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Counselling Centre with consultant haematologist Milica Brozovic. In 1998, by then a Professor of Nursing, Anionwu created the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice at the University of West London.
She holds the Order of Merit, was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). She retired in 2007, and in 2016 she published her memoirs, Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union.
John James, CEO of Sickle Cell Society, said, “Congratulations go to our Patron, Prof Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, for the part she will play in the Coronation of King Charles III. All of us at the Sickle Cell Society are so proud that a Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia specialist nurse has been included in the ceremony, and we look forward to supporting her in representing the Sickle Cell community during the Coronation.”
The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin will present Queen Camilla with The Queen Consort’s Rod.
In a statement released by the Palace, Hudson-Wilkin said, “I am surprised, excited and honoured to have been asked to play a part in this historic once-in-a-lifetime occasion. As I make my presentation, both their Majesties will remain in my prayers as they seek to serve the nation and the Commonwealth.”
John James, CEO of Sickle Cell Society said, “This is the first time that female Bishops will play a part in a Coronation service, so we are absolutely delighted that one of the female Bishop’s selected is a woman of colour, recognising the diverse population of the UK and also a Patron of the Sickle Cell Society. We send her our congratulations and our support on the day.”
We are so proud of all of our Patrons for the role they are playing in today’s proceedings. We send them our very best wishes. As a Society, we send our congratulations to His Majesty King Charles the Third and Camilla, The Queen Consort.