King Charles' coronation cross will contain relic believed to be from Christ's crucifixion

Coronation cross, inset King Charles III
The fragment of the True Cross incorporated into the coronation cross was a gift from Pope Francis to King Charles III. Photo credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

By Hafsa Khalil of CNN

A "beautiful and symbolic" silver cross containing a piece of the so-called True Cross will lead King Charles III's coronation procession in London next month.

The religious relic, believed by some to be a fragment of the cross on which Christ was crucified, was given to the King by Pope Francis to mark his coronation.

The monarch commissioned the incorporation of the fragment into the newly created Cross of Wales, which he presented to the Church in Wales as a gift to mark its centenary, the Church announced Wednesday.

Coronation cross
Photo credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

"We are honoured that His Majesty has chosen to mark our centenary with a cross that is both beautiful and symbolic," Andrew John, Archbishop of Wales, said in a statement on behalf of the Church in Wales, the Anglican church body. "Its design speaks to our Christian faith, our heritage, our resources and our commitment to sustainability. We are delighted too that its first use will be to guide Their Majesties into Westminster Abbey at the Coronation Service."

The cross will officially be received by the Church in Wales at a service following the coronation, and it will be shared between the nation's Anglican and Catholic churches, the statement said.

Representing the Roman Catholic Church, Mark O'Toole, the Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, said his church accepted the cross "with a sense of deep joy," adding that it is a sign of the nation's "deep Christian roots.".

The Cross of Wales was designed by master silversmith Michael Lloyd and made with Welsh materials: recycled silver from the Royal Mint in Llantrisant; Welsh slate for the stand; and Welsh windfall wood for the shaft.

Charles also participated in its creation, hammering the hallmark onto the silver cross himself.

Tim Knox, director of the Royal Collection, the British monarchy's private art collection, described the cross as "inspired by mediaeval Welsh art and design," combining historical reference with contemporary craft.

The back of the cross is adorned with words from the last sermon of St. David, the patron saint of Wales, in Welsh: "Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y pethau bychain," translating to: "Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things."