Friday Lore Post: Coronating A Monarch

The coronation of a ven Sancte monarch in Dolovai is a relatively straightforward affair, presuming nothing goes wrong. Often even when something does go wrong the coronation itself isn’t complicated so much as the consequences are, but the ceremony itself, despite all its pomp and circumstance, is not overly complex. This tends to be true for coronation ceremonies the world over, which are critically important because they signal who the institutionally-backed monarch is and therefore stymy any attempts at usurpation, while also signaling to the people of the nation and other kingdoms that everything is proceeding as planned and there is no need to be concerned.

In Dolovai, the coronation ceremony, called an Affirmation, is done on the day of the previous monarch’s funeral or, less commonly, abdication. In the case of an abdication, the coronation is done immediately afterwards and as part of the same ceremony, except in cases where the heir is not present when the monarch abdicates, as happened when Gabrielle X abdicated on the 23rd of Levin DN 1702 due to her failing health. Her son, Gerard IV, was named king at her abdication ceremony, but not coronated until he returned to Three Hills from his trip to Enjon four months later on the 18th of Nikkin. The Affirmation requires the heir to enter a church naked, make a series of vows before a priest pertaining to the protection of the kingdom under the will of God, each coming with one piece of the clothing and adornments of royalty, before finally being anointed with holy oil and named monarch, with all their royal titles bestowed upon them.  

The vows themselves are not set in stone but are always about protecting the people of the kingdom, defending its borders from invaders, ensuring the sanctity of the Catechism, and so on. The final five vows are always the same: the soon-to-be monarch vows to ensure the prosperity of the kingdom, to seek justice in all things, to be righteous at all times, to heed the words of the saints, martyrs and angels, and finally, to serve Dolovai with every breath they take until they die. These five vows are accompanied by the monarch’s ring, sceptre, pendant, stole and crown respectively, which are also called the Monarchial Branches.  

All five of these ceremonial objects have typically been passed down through House ven Sancte for centuries, but the same objects are not used at every coronation. The royal family has many rings, sceptres, pendants, stoles and crowns that are used for coronations, having belonged to many different monarchs, and the heir has the right to choose which of those they would like to symbolize their monarchy. For example, at the coronation of Queen Gabrielle XII on the 15th of Remin DN 1992, she chose to use the Maple Ring worn most recently by Grant V, the Clear Sceptre used most controversially by her great-great grandfather Gabriel VI, the Dark Pendant worn by her grandfather Giles II, the Iron Stole worn by the last three Queens Gabrielle, and the Willow Crown that her father Gerard V wore for most of his reign despite it not being the one he used for his Affirmation. There is no requirement for the Monarchial Branches to be used throughout the reign of the monarch once coronated, and indeed many monarchs have new objects made for their personal use, especially crowns, which are at risk of falling off in rather embarrassing and portentous fashion if they don’t fit correctly. Some but not all the Monarchial Branches are magical artefacts as well (the Maple Ring, for example, is known to protect its wearer from poison), which sometimes influences the decision to use them day to day or keep them in a vault, depending on their usage and value.

Traditionally, the High Presbyter officiates the Affirmation in the First Church of the Blessed, but a monarch can be coronated by any priest in any church. This has rarely mattered in Dolovin history, though Godric III did famously refuse to be coronated by High Presbyter Amber Whitehill when he was coronated in DN 1751, insisting that his friend Ophelia Glakken perform the ceremony instead. This may or may not have contributed to Godric’s strained relationship with the Catechism for the first decade of his reign, and also may or may not have weighed heavily on the church’s later election of Ophelia Glakken to the position of High Presbyter in DN 1760, but the fact remains that Godric’s reign was just as legitimate as it would have been had the actual High Presbyter coronated him.

That any priest can perform a coronation has generally been considered a positive—in Kyaine a priest is also required and the High Prebyter rarely travels to perform the ceremony, as they require the coronation of a new monarch immediately upon the death of the old one—it has also of course led to false coronations and precipitated civil strife, such as the three months of unrest that followed the dual Affirmations on the 22nd of Novan DN 1525 of King Giles I and his twin sister, who would later become Queen Grace XI. Giles I’s Affirmation by High Presbyter Aiden the Short would ultimately be what swayed the kingdom to accept him as king, but his sister claimed that her coronation had happened first, and that she was therefore the rightful heir, throughout his reign until his untimely death at the age of thirty-one in DN 1530.

The Affirmation is typically followed by all the nobility in Dolovai coming forward to swear loyalty to the new monarch and re-swear loyalty to House ven Sancte, and is then followed by a public banquet celebrating the new monarch’s ascension to the throne. Most of the time this banquet is held the day after the coronation because it is considered inappropriate to hold such a festive event only a few hours after the funeral of the previous monarch. In some cases, a mourning period of up to two weeks will be called for the deceased monarch, depending on how loved they were, before the coronation banquet is held.

Ideally, the Affirmation proceeds smoothly and takes only a few hours, settling any outstanding issues in the process, during and after which everyone comes together to support the new monarch. In reality, this tends to be a highly emotional and politically fraught event that is rife for scheming, things going wrong and bad actors choosing to make trouble. This should not be surprising given that at the end of the ceremony, the person coronated becomes the monarch of a nation and will wield near-absolute power. Many argue that it is for this reason that it is critical that everything be carried out correctly, to avoid any future contests against the legitimacy of the monarch’s claim.

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 2: Peoples and Cultures,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.

4 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: Coronating A Monarch

  1. Why did the Gerards’ regnal numbers go down instead of up? The 1702 Gerard is the Sixth, but the current Gerard almost 300 years later is only the Fifth.

    Either our Gerard should be Gerard VII, or you swapped the two and it’s the previous guy who should be Gerard V.

    Unless this is all due to weird time shit, in which case never mind.


    1. I wish I could say there was a cool reason for that but actually I just made a typo and wrote VI instead of IV, haha. It’s what I get for doing the regnal numbers in Roman numerals.

      So yes that was Gerard the Fourth, our Gerard was Gerard the Fifth. Sadly no time shit this time. Thanks for pointing it out though!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s