The Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, who will stay with King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla on the night before the Coronation, has explained how the Jewish community have always prayed for the monarch in a message ahead of Saturday’s ceremony.

In the video, the Chief Rabbi gestures towards a framed copy of a “prayer for the Royal family” which hangs in his office. 

“Here in my office hangs a most wonderful prayer, it’s the prayer for the Royal family,” Sir Ephraim says in the clip.

“This is the oldest one which actually stands in any one of our synagogues.

“The original is in the Plymouth Synagogue, dating to 1762.

“Prayer for the Royal family.

“And actually, on this one, every time there was a new sovereign they changed the name and I’ve got this copy here as a reminder of the extent to which we the Jewish community have always prayed for the monarch.

“And in that context we send our very best wishes and blessings to King Charles III on the occasion of his coronation.”

The Chief Rabbi and his wife will stay with the King and Queen Consort the night before the coronation to allow them to attend without breaking the laws of Shabbat.

In a separate video, Rabbi Mirvis explains how he will follow a 120-year-old precedent set by his predecessor, Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler, who also attended the coronation of King Edward VII on a Shabbat in 1902.

Introducing the clip with, “A Chief Rabbi, in a Church, on a Shabbat morning?”, Rabbi Mirvis explains how Rabbi Adler stayed at nearby Western Synagogue where he led early Shabbat prayers before walking in his robes to Westminster Abbey, escorted by police. Similarly, Rabbi Mirvis will spend Friday evening celebrating Shabbat with local Jewish communities, before retiring to Clarence House.

According to the Reverend Arthur Barnett’s history of the Western Synagogue in London, not all went quite according to plan in 1902.

“Unfortunate to relate, while he was away in the Abbey his travelling-case was stolen from the home of his host, as well as a pair of silver Sabbath candle-sticks — a sad reward for his loyalty!” Mr Barnett recorded.

In an interview, Rabbi Mirvis told the Jerusalem Post, “in King Charles, we have a genuine friend of the Jewish people and somebody who goes out of his way to champion the members of other faiths to practice the tenets of their faith with pride.” He added that he has “seen this in practice on umpteen occasions,” and “through my own friendship with the king and conversations with him at the royal household.”

He emphasized that “they [the monarchy] genuinely and sincerely want us to practice our faith.” According to the chief rabbi, “this is exactly what led the king and queen to invite [my wife] Valerie and I to spend Shabbat in a royal residence.” They will be staying in St. James’ Palace, and Mirvis explained that “they are providing a kosher caterer for our food over Shabbat and looking after every small detail.”

He said there is “a very interesting, historic parallel” with the upcoming coronation.

“In 1902, the coronation of King Edward VII was put off because he was ill. So the actual date of termination fell on Shabbat. Then-chief rabbi Hermann Adler walked to the coronation and, fascinatingly, Buckingham Palace contacted me to say they would like me to walk along the same route,” and that is the route that Mirvis will be taking.

Mirvis laughed, remembering a recent phone call his staff received from Buckingham Palace. It went something like: “The chief rabbi won’t go in a vehicle [because of Shabbat], so we’d like to put on one of the royal horses and carts for him, in order for him to be part of the parade.”

He told the Post that his favorite Jewish element of the religious parts of the coronation is the fact that “there will be no microphones, because they don’t want to put me in a compromising position. They even thought of this issue before they came to us.”

The chief rabbi shared that he will wake up early on Shabbat morning and participate in the early prayer service at Western Marble Arch Synagogue.

“I’ll pray at 6 a.m. in order to reach the abbey by 9 a.m., in time for the ceremony that starts at 11 a.m.,” he said.

Mirvis and his wife will be offering the King and Queen Consort two gifts “for Shabbat,” as Mirvis described them: “Valerie is baking biscuits for the king and queen, which are the biscuits we know that they like and enjoy.”

The second gift is a certificate “that a grove of trees will be planted in our United synagogue forest in honor of the coronation,” Mirvis said. “Of course, the king is known to be a particularly passionate environmentalist.”

Mirvis said he already knows what the menu for this upcoming Shabbat at the royal residence will be, since they already chose it – “a dish called Coronation Chicken.”

Anointing oil from Mount of Olives to be used for King Charles’ Coronation

This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.

We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.