The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Guli Francis-Dehqani, has revealed that she found out she was going to be carrying the King’s chalice during the upcoming Coronation “in a roundabout kind of way.”
Speaking to Sky News, the bishop explained that she had not been formally invited to participate in the ceremony when she first learned of her role.
According to Bishop Francis-Dehqani, it was another bishop who attended a rehearsal for the Coronation and noticed her name on the Order of Service. The fellow bishop then contacted her to inform her of the news.
“Some months ago, the archbishop asked me just in passing what I was doing on 6 May, so that was just a small hint that there might be something coming, although I absolutely didn’t take anything for granted.
“Then a fellow bishop – a colleague who is also playing a role in the service – attended a rehearsal that I wasn’t able to be at, and saw my name on the order of service before I had actually received the invitation myself.
“So he told me that it was likely coming – so a slightly roundabout way, but nonetheless a real joy.” She said to Sky News.
Despite the unexpected nature of her invitation, Bishop Francis-Dehqani expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the historic event.
“It’s obviously a huge honour and a privilege and a great surprise to me, but something I’m looking forward to tremendously and feel really honoured to be a part of. It is an extraordinary experience to have the opportunity to go through and to then be able to share it with my family and tell my children about it and so on. It becomes part of our family history as well as part of the broader history of the life of this nation and indeed of the Church of England.” she said.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, who was born in Iran and became the first Iranian woman to be ordained in the Church of England, will be carrying the King’s chalice during the Coronation. The chalice is a symbol of the monarch’s authority and is used during the anointing ceremony, which is a key part of the Coronation.
The Coronation, which will take place at Westminster Abbey, is set to be a major event, with dignitaries from around the world in attendance. It will be the first Coronation since 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.
Bishop Francis-Dehqani is not the only member of the clergy who will be involved in the ceremony. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, will officiate at the Coronation, and other bishops and clergy members will also play important roles.