A week or so ago I was writing a sermon, and I again discovered, as one so often does, the extent of my own ignorance.
The Coronation Service. The Orb ... the round golden ball surmounted by a cross, symbolising the Sovereignty over all the world, all peoples and nations and potentates, of Christ the King.
I discovered that it seems not to feature in the medieval English Liber Regalis, laying down the procedures for consecrating English Monarchs. Or in the Pontificale Romanum. I don't think an orb was included in the Scottish regalia (so much more ancient and beautiful than the English, incidentally). I don't recall seeing it in those magnificent pictures of Bourbon monarchs, down to Charles X, in their Coronation robes.
Wikipedia does reveal its existence in the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empires.
I believe the Orb was listed in Tudor inventories.
All of the above assertions are not properly checked and may be erroneous.
I wonder: could it be that the Orb was seen as having some connection with notions of Empire and that it was introduced into England in the context of Tudor imperial ambitions?
Somebody out there must know!