A large stage covered in a bright yellow carpet was built inside Westminster Abbey for the Coronation earlier this year, but something surprising happened to the carpet afterwards.

Known as the Coronation Theatre, the stage was specially made for the two thrones.  It was covered in a brand new bright yellow carpet – but what happened to the carpet afterwards?

You might be surprised.

Well, to set the scene, the Coronation chair was set on the High Altar with its 13th-century Cosmati Pavement — and that’s where the religious ceremony took place. Normally, if you visit the Abbey, you can see that the High Altar needs a few steps to get up to it. So, for the Coronation, they added a raised floor, with a ramp between the quire stalls leading up to it in order to create a level surface.

This coronation theatre was covered in the bright yellow carpet — made in Northern Ireland by Ulster Carpets, and the yellow was chosen as it matched the colour used for previous coronations.

After the coronation, the stage was left in place for a week for people to see it, and then it was removed.

But what happened to the carpet?

I wondered this after I noticed the other day that a previously rather dull brown carpet behind the William Carey lectern was now bright yellow.

Westminster Abbey has confirmed that yes, they had used a bit of the coronation theatre carpet to refurbish their lectern stand. I had assumed that the rest of the carpet would have then been rolled up and put in storage in order to have bits chopped off in the years to come to patch bits of worn carpet around the abbey.

I was wrong, and wonderfully wrong as it turned out.

The carpet has indeed been chopped up into pieces, but so that it can be distributed to British charities supported by TRH The King and Queen.

Imagine it, a few weeks after the coronation, staff at charities across the UK are opening a parcel and inside is a letter from Buckingham Palace and a piece of yellow carpet from the coronation. It’s a keepsake for the charities that couldn’t attend in person, there being a limited amount of space after all.

It’s both worthless, as they can’t really sell it to raise much needed money for the charity, and yet also priceless – as these pieces of carpet aren’t just tangible objects, they come from a very specific moment in time that cannot be repeated. They are relics that are effectively beyond price.

They’re also a wonderfully fantastic way of distributing something from the coronation to the many charities that have the King or Queen as Patron as a recognition of the work they do every day to support people.

In a way, it’s just a carpet, and yet now thanks to that simple decision to give pieces of it away, it has become something special. And what a delightful decision to reuse the carpet in that way.

So, that’s the fate of a carpet that you probably hadn’t given a second thought to (or a first one for that matter).


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  1. Steve Lewis says:

    Similarly, I worked on the London Olympics and received a piece of the running track.

  2. antonio says:

    at last, something that represents equally, unlike the excess for the 3% pride extremists.

  3. ChrisC says:

    “TRH” should be “TM” as in Their Majesties and not Their Royal Highnesses.

  4. Liam says:

    TM can’t be used to describe the King et al as it’s widely used to mean ‘Trademark’. Which would look very silly indeed. I enjoy how Ian writes for us. It’s informed and informative. Ian for President!

  5. Lizebeth says:

    A nice idea, but if the charities can’t sell the carpet, what use is it to them, other than something to be framed and hung in an office?

    Might have been better to put it in the National Lottery??

  6. Liz Brereton says:

    its incorrect to use the word ‘relic’, as a relic specifically relates to a saint and is a tiny part of the saint’s body.

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