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King Charles III Coronation: Everything You Need to Know

This weekend is Charles and Camilla’s coronation! “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,” Buckingham Palace announced earlier this year.

What even is a coronation?

Coronation is “the act or occasion of crowning.” The crowning ritual is religious. The BBC says the coronation “formalizes the monarch’s role as the head of the Church of England and marks the transfer of their title and powers.”

Coronation of King Charles III

Even though King Charles III took the throne shortly after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died, this will be his official coronation.

When is the coronation?

On May 6, 2023, Charles and Camilla will be crowned. The coronation invitation from Buckingham Palace contains secret symbolism:

What time is the coronation?

In April, the Palace announced that the service would begin at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. eastern, 3 a.m. Pacific).

Where will the coronation happen?

Westminster Abbey hosts the coronation.

Coronation of King Charles III

Charles and Camilla will ride the Diamond Jubilee State Coach from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey before the event.

After the coronation, the King and Queen will return to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach with the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children. The Abbey path will be reversed. They’ll appear on the balcony.

What happens during the service?

At the Abbey, the coronation procession will be led by the Cross of Wales, which will include fragments of a relic known as the “True Cross.” Pope Francis gifted the fragments to King Charles as a coronation gift.

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The service is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and there are six key elements that will definitely take place.

  1. The recognition: At the start of the service, King Charles will stand beside the Coronation Chair as the Archbishop of Canterbury presents him to the congregants. The congregation will shout “God Save King Charles!” (The Coronation Chair is an oak chair that is “extremely fragile,” as it is 700 years old.)
  2. The oath: King Charles will swear to uphold the Church of England and the law. The Archbishop of Canterbury will ask him four questions, to which Charles will reply in the affirmatively He will end with, “I Charles do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law.”
  3. The anointing: King Charles will remove his ceremonial robe, and sit in the Coronation Chair, and then the Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint him with holy oil. The Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem consecrated the oil at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher earlier this year. At Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, the anointing was not filmed; at Charles’s coronation, the anointing again will be a private moment.
  4. The investiture and the crowning: King Charles will be presented with two scepters and an Orb. One sceptre, The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, represents his spiritual role, and the other, The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, represents his temporal power and good governance. The orb represents “religious and moral authority.” A coronation ring will also be placed on Charles’s right hand. After being presented with all his regalia, the Archbishop places St. Edward’s Crown on King Charles’s head.
  5. The enthroning: After being presented with the regalia, the Archbishop will say, “Stand firm, and hold fast from henceforth this seat of royal dignity, which is yours by the authority of Almighty God. May that same God, whose throne endures for ever, establish your throne in righteousness, that it may stand fast for evermore.”
  6. The homage: Historically, royal blood princes, the Archbishop, and other senior peers kneel to pay homage and swear allegiance to the monarch. At Charles’s coronation, it will begin with an homage of the Church, then the homage of royal blood (performed by his son, Prince William), then the homage of the people (where whoever wants to can participate).
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After Charles is crowned and receives homage, Camilla will also be anointed and crowned as Queen Consort.

During the service, there will be twelve new compositions performed, including music by Judith Weir, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Patrick Doyle. Performers at the service include the Coronation Orchestra, the royal harpist Alis Huws, the Westminster Abbey Choir, the Ascension Choir, and more.

What crown will King Charles wear?

King Charles will wear the 17th-century St. Edward’s Crown. With 444 stones and a solid gold frame, the crown weighs over 5 pounds.

“The crown was commissioned from the Royal Goldsmith, Robert Vyner, in 1661,” Buckingham Palace said. It has two arches, four crosses-pattée, four fleurs-de-lis, and four crosses-pattée. A solid gold frame holds rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnets, topazes, and tourmalines.”

Will Queen Camilla wear a crown?

She’ll wear a modified crown from Queen Mary’s 1911 coronation.

Coronation of King Charles III

Will Kate Middleton wear a tiara?

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, King Charles’s daughter-in-law, may wear one of these tiaras to the coronation.

Who will be in attendance?

The Abbey will be packed, so expect 2,000 visitors. Camilla’s children, grandkids, and other relatives will join the royal family. Foreign royals and Commonwealth and Charles and Camilla-supported organizations will attend. 450 British Empire medalists will attend.

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Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend?

Only Prince Harry will attend. Meghan, Prince Archie, and Princess Lilibet will stay in California.

Who else will participate in the coronation?

King Charles and Queen Camilla will each have four coronation pages. Charles’s pages are his grandson Prince George, Oliver Cholmondeley, Nicholas Barclay, and Ralph Tollemache. Camilla’s pages are her three grandsons—twins Gus and Louis Lopes, Freddy Parker Bowles, and Arthur Elliot—and her grand-nephew.

Queen Camilla’s sister Annabel Elliot and her close friend Lady Lansdowne (one of her six “Queen’s Companions”) will attend the coronation.

During the Coronation Parade, Princess Anne will be Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, a Royal Household bodyguard. She will ride behind Charles and Camilla in the Abbey-to-Buckingham Palace procession.

King Charles III and the Queen Consort visit Malton, Yorkshire.
Coronation Attendees

Who pays for the coronation?

The coronation is a state event; hence, the UK government will pay. The BBC reports, “While it is likely to come under pressure to show sensitivity during the current cost-of-living crisis, the government is expected to use the ceremony as an important diplomatic opportunity to present the UK to the world.”

Coronation of King Charles III

Where can I watch the coronation?

ABC, NBC, and CNN will livestream the coronation.

 

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