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A "royal" palace

Intimately linked to the cathedral, the Palais du Tau plays a key role in the coronation of the kings of France.

The coronation of kings in Reims

The baptism of Clovis

Clovis, founder of the Christian kingdom of the Franks, was baptized around 496 by Saint Remi on the doorstep of the cathedral. In memory of this event, the city of Reims was chosen as the site of the coronation of the kings of France.

Introduced by Pepin the Short in 751, the ceremony has its origins in the Bible. Through the anointing anointing with holy oilthatthe king is God's chosen one.

From Louis the Pious in 816 to Charles X (opposite) in 1825, thirty-three kings of France made their way to Reims.

Tableau de François Gérard : "Charles X en habit de sacre" (XIXè siècle)

© Stéphane Franzese / Centre des monuments nationaux

The right to lodging

Under feudal customs, the king exercises his right of lodging with his vassal, the archbishop-duke. Thus, the King of France is lodged by his people when he travels in his kingdom.

The Palais du Tau is where the king stays, and where the festivities following the coronation ceremony take place.

Plan du palais du Tau pour le sacre de Louis XV

© Reproduction DR / Centre des monuments nationaux

Stages of the coronation ceremony

The coronation ceremony in Reims Cathedral lasted almost 5 hours!

After swearing an oath to uphold peace and justice, the king is invested with a knight's sword and spurs. The archbishop then administers the anointing, symbolizing the divine grace that descends upon him.

Holy Oils (or Holy Chrism) are prepared from balsam extracted from the Holy AmpouleLegend has it that it was miraculously brought to Saint Remi by a dove, when Clovis was baptized... This sacred balm is removed with a golden needle (the equivalent of a grain of rice!) and mixed with the Holy Chrism.

Peinture de François Gérard (XIXè siècle) : "Le sacre de Charles X"

© Reproduction Hervé Lewandowski / Centre des monuments nationaux

Next, the bishop anoints the kneeling king with the oil obtained: on the top of the head, the chest, between the shoulders, then on the left and right sides, on the junction of the right and left arms and finally on the palms of the hands.

The queen, on the other hand, is crowned only with the Holy Chrism!

The king is then clothed in a tunic, dalmatic and mantle adorned with flowers , and receives thering, scepter, hand of justice and crown. These are known as the regalia.

Installed on a throne overlooking the rood screen, the king received the homage of his peers, and then attended high mass before returning to the Tau Palace, where a feast was served around midday.

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