For the first time in history, the traditional languages spoken in the four home nations of the UK will become part of a coronation service.
Three Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh along with English, will form the official service at Westminster Abbey, for the crowning of King Charles’ III and Queen Consort Camilla.
After a greeting and introduction by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy) prayer will be sung in Welsh. It is expected that the hymn Veni Creator – Come Creator Spirit – will be sung, with verses in Scots Gaelic and Irish. An ancient hymn, Veni Creator has been part of coronation services in the British Isles since the 14th century, additionally used in Anglican ordination services when people become deacons, priests and bishops.
A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said: “After the sermon, the hymn Veni Creator – Come Creator Spirit – will be sung” “For the first time, we will hear this sung in the traditional languages of the nations of the United Kingdom: English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.”
As a young man, Charles famously traveled to Aberystwyth University to learn the Welsh language under Welsh nationalist Dr Edward Millward. As heir, he was the first Prince of Wales in seven centuries to learn Welsh, and formally adopted the title by investiture at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.
Today, the Welsh language counts almost 540,000 speakers in Wales, while the number of Scots Gaelic speakers is approximately 60,000. Far outweighing the two, speakers of Irish in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland currently sit at approximately 1.9 million.