Coronation book of Charles V of France


This book offers us a glimpse of the rituals that ruled medieval life at the highest level of society. It records the details of a royal coronation.

Alongside the prayers, ceremonies and hymns that it documents, the manuscript also includes 38 paintings depicting a royal coronation, scene by scene.

It was commissioned by Charles V of France in 1365, one year after his own coronation, and so may have been made to commemorate, in precise detail, the rituals that he underwent when he became king.

Charles V first came to power as regent, when his father John ll was captured and imprisoned in England. On succeeding to the throne Charles not only had to contend with the English but also faced troubles at home, both in Paris and in the French countryside. He continued to maintain an opulent court life, commissioning and collecting some of the finest illuminated manuscripts of his day.

At his royal residences Charles is said to have accumulated a library of over 900 books, of which around 100 survive today, including this Coronation Book.

Full title:
Coronation book of Charles V of France
c. 1365
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Cotton MS Tiberius B. viii

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Illuminated manuscripts

Article by:
The British Library

Wonder at these amazing hand-painted books of past ages and marvel at the vibrant colours used – these are works of art that were made for kings and queens, monasteries, bishops and counts.

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