King Charles III's Coronation Cross
The new Cross of Wales, which will be used in the procession during the Coronation of Britain’s King Charles is seen before a service at Holy Trinity Church in Llandudno. Photo: Reuters / PHIL NOBLE Reuters / PHIL NOBLE

King Charles III's Coronation Cross that will lead the coronation procession during the ceremony in London's Westminster Abbey, called the Cross of Wales, includes two pieces of wood that the Vatican believes come from the "True Cross." That is the infamous cross which Jesus Christ was crucified on 2,000 years ago.

According to The Times, the splinters measure about 0.2 and 0.4 inches and were a "personal coronation gift" from Pope Francis to King Charles III. They have been arranged in the shape of a cross and placed behind a rose crystal gemstone in the centre of the Cross of Wales.

"It's hugely significant. It's a remarkable thing that the King has been able to find favour with the Vatican and as a result of that very good relationship, Pope Francis has agreed to gift these small fragments of the holy cross," the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Andrew John, told the publication.

Meanwhile, the U.K.'s ambassador to the Holy See, Chris Trott, expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis in a tweet saying, "We are deeply moved and grateful to Pope Francis for this extraordinary gift. Reflecting the strength of the [Vatican-U.K.] relationship that developed over the course of the reign of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who met 5 Popes!"

As the former Prince of Wales, King Charles III commissioned the Cross of Wales with the relics of the True Cross to the Church in Wales, a branch of the Church of England, to mark its centennial celebration.

An official April 19 statement by the Church in Wales announced that the church will officially receive the cross at a service following the coronation and that it will be made available for veneration to both the Catholic and Anglican churches in Wales.

Speaking on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in Wales, Archbishop Mark O'Toole of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff and Diocese of Menevia, expressed his gratitude and joy over the precious gift.

He said, "With a sense of deep joy we embrace this cross, kindly given by King Charles, and containing a relic of the true cross, generously gifted by the Holy See. It is not only a sign of the deep Christian roots of our nation but will, I am sure, encourage us all to model our lives on the love given by our Savior, Jesus Christ. We look forward to honoring it, not only in the various celebrations that are planned but also in the dignified setting in which it will find a permanent home."

Master silversmith Michael Lloyd designed and made the Cross of Wales in consultation with the Royal Collection. He crafted it using recycled silver bullion provided by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, with a shaft of Welsh windfall timber, and a stand of Welsh slate.

Chased on the back of the cross are words from the last sermon of St. David in Welsh that reads, "Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain" and translates to, "Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things."

The silver elements of the Cross comply with the Hallmarking Act and bear a full hallmark (of the London Assay Office). It also includes the Royal Mark (leopard's head) which His Majesty applied himself when he visited The Goldsmiths' Centre in London in November 2022.

Speaking about the Cross of Wales, Lloyd said, "This project started with a love of the material, its malleability, its potential for expression. The commission has allowed me to delve into the previous 1,000 years of faith and history. Now, with more than 267 thousand hammer blows, the cross has emerged from the inanimate sheets of silver, and I am delighted it will be used as part of the Coronation Service on 6th May."

Dr. Frances Parton, Deputy Curator of The Goldsmiths' Company, said the Cross of Wales "shows the relevance of traditional skills and craftsmanship in the modern world." He praised Lloyd for his use of the ancient craft of chasing silver to create a "beautiful object which combines a powerful message with a practical purpose."

King Charles III's coronation takes place on May 6. The Cross of Wales was blessed by Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno, on Wednesday, April, 19.