Sword of Mercy

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The Sword of Mercy (center), shown with a portion of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom

The Sword of Mercy, or Edward the Confessor's Sword, is a symbolically broken sword that is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.[1] The sword has a blade cut off short and square, indicating thereby the quality of the mercy of the sovereign; according to the mythological history of the sword, its tip was broken off by an angel to prevent a wrongful killing.

It is one of five swords used during the coronation of the British monarch. It is carried in the coronation procession between the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Spiritual Justice. These three swords are believed to have been made for the coronation of Charles I of England, and were among the few items of the crown jewels to escape being melted down by Oliver Cromwell.

The sword is also wielded during the ceremony at which the monarch bestows knighthood upon the recipient of the honour.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sword of Mercy at Royalexhibitions.co.uk, retrieved 29 April 2011.