Professor Paul Binski: Westminster Abbey and the Coronation: Ritual and Order in the Middle Ages

Wednesday 10th May 6.00PM BST


As the United Kingdom celebrates the coronation of a new monarch, we are delighted to welcome distinguished historian Professor Paul Binski as our guest speaker, for a special lecture dedicated to the history of rite and ritual in Westminster Abbey.

Power in all its forms seeks continuity and legitimacy, and this was especially true of the Middle Ages when power was sustained by religious belief and ritual.  Rituals of royal burial and inauguration made a profound impact on Westminster Abbey, a church built deliberately to house all these functions. This lecture will explore the ways the Abbey’s outstanding medieval art and architecture promoted authority and an idea of order, as well as using prestigious models in France and Italy.  It will look closely at the actual physical context and furnishing of the Abbey’s ritual spaces.  And, as it will show, things did not always go smoothly…


Paul Binski is Emeritus Professor of the History of Medieval Art at Cambridge University.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and was Slade Professor, Oxford University, 2006-7. His publications include Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets (1995), Becket’s Crown. Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170-1300 (2004), Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style 1290-1350 (2014) and most recently Gothic Sculpture (2019).  He now writes widely on general issues of aesthetics, rhetoric and the visual arts in the Middle Ages and is at present publishing a series of lectures on architecture and affect in the Middle Ages. Please click here paul-binski-publications (1) for a full list of Professor Binski’s publications.


This is a live-streamed lecture at 6.00pm (UK time).  It will last approximately one hour including Q&A. Tune in live from anywhere in the world, or if you cannot participate live, you will automatically be sent a recording soon after the end of the session enabling you to watch later that day or during the following 2 days. Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live, and it is not possible to purchase a recording after booking has closed.

Booking closes the day before the event is streamed. Please refer to the Further Information panel below.

Please note – the Zoom link for this event will be emailed to participants 24 hours before the lecture. 

Image: Cosmati pavement dated 1268, the site of anointing and crowning of English kings. Copyright Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Further Information

1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book Now” button, fill in the online booking form and pay online. You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The participation fee is £10 per person, if making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses when booking them as separate participants.


Download ZOOM once you have booked – please print/download the instructions in this downloadable link and read them carefully. Zoom works best when using Google Chrome.


You will receive an email 24 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will automatically receive the Zoom log in link both on your screen and by email, please keep this safe.

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items’ and ‘junk mail’ folders or click here for advice.


Join the event a few minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You do not need to advise us if you can’t participate live, don’t worry! You will be contacted soon after the event has been broadcast with instructions on how to access the recording. This will be available to watch on catch up later that day and for the following 2 days. Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live, and it is not possible to purchase a recording after booking has closed.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each event that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don’t worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you a recording.

Bookings close the day before the event is streamed.