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King Charles receives good news from York – with a little help from Bible Society

Author: Simon Bartz, 1 June 2023

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The Gospels gifted to King Charles include original hand-drawn illustrations.

King Charles and Queen Camilla were given handwritten copies of the four Gospels as a coronation gift.

‘The York Gospels 2023’ were printed using design templates provided through Bible Society.

More than 2,000 people in York each wrote one or more of the 3,778 verses in the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  

Special parchment paper was used for the handwriting that started in February and was completed by early March, giving time for the bookbinding process to be finished just in time for the coronation.

Children from 14 primary schools, students from three secondary schools and two universities, and others from churches and community groups in the city joined together to pen the unique tome.

Project co-ordinator Keith Hayden said, ‘I thank God for Bible Society’s help in providing us with the page templates we needed for the “York Gospels 2023”. I'm delighted to tell you that they were indeed finished, just in time for the coronation!’

The vision for the Gospel gift came out of prayer meetings Keith attended to pray for the next coronation.

Bible Society has enjoyed a long relationship with royalty. Queen Elizabeth II was the Patron of Bible Society for the entire time she was on the throne, supporting us financially with a gift from the Privy Purse every year, and her mother Queen Elizabeth was our patron from 1943 to her death in 2002.

Keith said, ‘The word “Gospel” means “Good news!” So many of us are praying that these handwritten Gospels will not only be a source of encouragement to King Charles, but also to every member of the Royal Family and others who may have an opportunity to read them.’

Following the Coronation, The King’s Private Office at Buckingham Palace kindly confirmed safe receipt of the Gospels and a formal acknowledgement will follow in due course.

‘I thank God for the work that Bible Society continues to do around the world, and I was especially encouraged to receive the weekly email (the digital newsletter) that outlined the 19 times that the Bible featured in the Coronation of King Charles III,’ Keith added.

If you would like to read our tributes to the late Queen in our Word in Action magazine (winter 2022 edition), please go to

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