Shropshire Star

Bishop who started his ministry career in Shropshire to stand by King's side during coronation

The Bishop of Bath and Wells has spoken of his Shropshire ministry roots, as he gets ready to take part in a momentous coronation ceremony.

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Bishop Michael Beasley. Photo by Jason Bryant

The Right Reverend Michael Beasley, Bishop of Bath and Wells, will act as bishop assistant to King Charles III alongside Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, at the coronation ceremony on May 6.

Originally from Copmere End, just outside of Eccleshall in Staffordshire, Bishop Beasley started his career in the ministry as an assistant curate at St Nicholas Church in Newport.

Bishop Michael. Photo by Jason Bryant

He said it was an "extraordinary" opportunity to take part in the coronation ceremony and a long-standing tradition which dates back to 1189 for the coronation of Richard the Lionheart.

"It's just extraordinary; it's not something you imagine you will ever do in life and it's such a strange conjunction of circumstances that I happened to see my being in this office at this particular moment in time.

"It's a very historic role for The Bishop of Bath and Wells, it dates back to 1189 with Richard the Lionheart, but it may go even further back than that to one of the Saxon kings – Edgar in AD 973.

"It's the most massive privilege, quite unexpected and a bit terrifying."

Bishop Michael. Photo by Jason Bryant

Around 2,000 people are expected to attend the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in Westminster Abbey, as well as around 27 million people in the UK tuning in at home.

The Bishop will accompany King Charles into the abbey, where he will stand at the side of the Coronation Chair – or St Edward's Chair – during the anointing. He may also carry a bible, chalice and paten during the procession.

Bishop Beasley has been taking part in rigorous rehearsal ahead of the big event and met the King and Queen for the first time only recently.

He said: "The coronation service has lots of different elements in it, so the King is recognised by people, he takes an oath, he's anointed and he has lots of items of clothing and other things which he is given during the coronation.

"The Bishops help the King navigate his way through everything that will happen so that he can concentrate on what he's doing, so it's about enabling him to be fully present in the moment.

"It's a very spiritual service, there's a lot of prayer and dedication and him offering his life and service to us all."

Bishop Michael at an installation with young selectors. Photo by Jason Bryant

Commenting on his connection to the county, Bishop Beasley said: "When I was first ordained and first a Vicar, I did my curation in the parishes of Newport, Cheswardine and Forton and just had a wonderful beginning to ministry.

"I was really loved and looked after by the congregation of those churches and it was the most amazing beginning.

"I grew up really close by to Newport, so it was lovely to serve in a place where I was known and I knew people there.

"My dad worked at the Cadbury factory in Knighton and I had relatives living there as well and it was just the most terrific place to be – I have really wonderful memories."

Bishop Michael

Friends and family of Bishop Beasley were present at his installation as the diocese bishop of Bath and Wells at a ceremony on November 12 last year.

Still new to his role, Bishop Beasley considers it a huge honour to take part in such a historic moment in Britain's history.