…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
A group of central London schoolchildren will have a unique role in the coronation of the new King and Queen.
The 48 King’s Scholars from Westminster School will be the first commoners to proclaim “Vivat Rex” and “Vivat Regina” during the traditional performance of Hubert Parry’s work I Was Glad. This is a significant moment in the ceremony that has roots in history dating back to at least the 17th century.
The Scholars were selected for their academic ability, having passed an examination known as The Challenge, rather than for their singing.
The Role of the King’s Scholars
The King’s Scholars from Westminster School will have a short yet significant role in the coronation ceremony of the new King and Queen.
The children, 40 boys and eight girls, will be following in the footsteps of previous pupils who have performed this role for centuries. They will be proclaiming “Vivat Rex” and “Vivat Regina”, which mean God Save the King and God Save the Queen in Latin.
This proclamation will take place during the traditional performance of Hubert Parry’s work I Was Glad.
Selection of the Scholars
The Scholars were selected for their academic ability, having passed an examination known as The Challenge. According to Tim Garrard, the school’s director of music, the Scholars were not chosen for their singing ability.
He described the performance as a “musical shout”, which requires good enunciation rather than singing talent. Mr. Garrard further explained that the Scholars are excited to be involved in the ceremony and to witness a moment in history.
Historic Roots of the Ceremony
The coronation ceremony has roots in history dating back to at least the 17th century. The Westminster School has a strong connection with the monarchy, with Scholars taking part in the coronation since at least 1685.
The school was refounded by Henry VIII in 1540, who established the Scholars who take their title from the reigning monarch.
The school’s archivist, Elizabeth Wells, explained that James II paid for a book to be produced detailing everything about the coronation in 1685, which gives a good account of the Scholars’ role.
Excitement of the Scholars
The Scholars are aware of the historic weight of the occasion and are excited to be a part of it. According to Mr. Garrard, they are charged with excitement, and preparation has been no problem at all.
The only challenge has been learning the little bit of chant and making sure they are good at annunciating it. This short yet significant role in the ceremony is an honour for the Scholars, who are eager to play their part and witness a moment in history.