A ceremonial silver cross containing shards said to be from the cross used to crucify Jesus Christ has been blessed before it will be used in the King’s coronation.
The Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, blessed the Cross of Wales at a church service on Wednesday morning, ahead of it being brought to London to be carried before the King at the head of the coronation procession next month.
Two shards of the True Cross, said to be the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, were given to Charles by Pope Francis to mark the royal occasion.
The small fragments have been incorporated into the Cross of Wales, which will be seen by millions as it is carried into Westminster Abbey on May 6.
Both pieces are shaped as crosses, one being 1cm in size and the other 5mm, and are set into the larger silver cross behind a rose crystal gemstone so they can only be viewed up close.
Archbishop Andrew, blessing the cross during the service before around 200 parishioners and dignitaries at Holy Trinity Church in Llandudno, North Wales, said: “May this cross be sanctified that whoever prays before it in your honour, may find health and wholeness for body and soul, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The Cross of Wales was a gift from the King to the Church in Wales to celebrate its centenary and upon its return to Wales after the coronation, the cross will be shared between the Anglican and Catholic churches in Wales.
Designer Michael Lloyd took two years to make the Cross of Wales, involving more than 217,000 hammer blows to chase out its design.
Crafted from recycled silver bullion, provided by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales, the cross also includes a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and a stand of Welsh slate.
Words from the last sermon of St David are inscribed on the back of the cross in Welsh, which read: “Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain”, translated as: “Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.”
The silver elements of the cross bear a full hallmark, including the Royal Mark – a leopard’s head, which was applied by the King himself in November 2022 when visiting The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.
Archbishop Andrew said: “We are honoured that His Majesty has chosen to mark our centenary with a cross that is both beautiful and symbolic.
“Its design speaks to our Christian faith, our heritage, our resources and our commitment to sustainability.
“We are delighted too that its first use will be to guide Their Majesties into Westminster Abbey at the coronation service.”
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, Mark O’Toole, said: “With a sense of deep joy we embrace this cross, kindly given by King Charles, and containing a relic of the True Cross, generously gifted by the Holy See.
“It is not only a sign of the deep Christian roots of our nation but will, I am sure, encourage us all to model our lives on the love given by our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
“We look forward to honouring it, not only in the various celebrations that are planned, but also in the dignified setting in which it will find a permanent home.”
Dr Frances Parton, deputy curator of The Goldsmiths’ Company – who managed the commission, said: “Using the ancient craft of chasing silver, Michael Lloyd has created a beautiful object which combines a powerful message with a practical purpose.
“We are thrilled that the cross will both feature in the coronation and see regular use within the Church in Wales.”