As the coronation ceremony of King Charles III on May 6 edges closer, the final preparations and announcements are being made. Set to take place at Westminster Abbey in London, it will be succeeded by a weekend of events attended by a vast array of guests.
A British monarch has not had a coronation for 70 years, and while the King is eager to highlight himself as a modern and in-touch Head of State, the coronation will be “rooted in longstanding traditions”, and exhibit the pomp and pageantry most would so strongly associate with the Royal Family.
Their Majesties the King and Queen will use the Diamond Jubilee State Coach to travel down the Mall en route to the Abbey. The journey back to Buckingham Palace after their crowning is expected to be the greatest military showcase since the coronation of the late Queen seven decades ago. The Mall will host 6,000 “sailors, soldiers and aviators” from across the U.K. and far-reaching places of the Commonwealth.
On their return, the King and Queen will use the Gold State Coach, a carriage strictly reserved for monarchs and their spouses. Commissioned in 1760 and weighing four tonnes, the coach can only move at walking speed. The route is much shorter than the five-mile journey taken by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1953, so any onlookers wishing to see their Majesties will need to be on the Mall as early as possible.
Most people have not witnessed the coronation of a British monarch before, so the ceremony will involve a series of traditional practices considered new to many. The King and Queen will arrive at Westminster Abbey at 11 am, typically “The monarch then signs an oath where they promise to rule according to the law and with mercy”, before being seated on the Coronation Chair.
The anointing of King Charles III will then take place, using holy oil from Jerusalem. The late Queen kept this “most sacred” practice private during her coronation. News reports were suggesting that the King would be the first monarch to have a public anointing, however, it has since been confirmed that like his mother, he wishes for this to be carried out privately.
The ceremony will culminate with the King and Queen both being crowned, and the congregation singing God Save The King.
The Prince and Princess of Wales’s eldest son Prince George is to become his grandfather’s Page of Honour, helping the King carry his robes during the ceremony. At just nine years of age, he is the youngest to ever carry out the duty.
Once back at the Palace, their Majesties will make their way onto the balcony, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, to greet the crowds and watch a spectacular military flypast.
In keeping with tradition the ever-so-iconic regalia used in coronations for centuries will take centre stage on May 6. The King will use St. Edward’s Crown, which has been present in every coronation since 1661 and weighs around 2.3kg.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “It was made for Charles II in 1661, as a replacement for the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649. The original was thought to date back to the eleventh-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor – the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.”
The Queen will use Queen Mary’s Crown, the first time a Queen Consort will wear an already existing crown. A very appropriate move that reflects the King’s lifelong dedication to sustainability and the environment.
While most of us have seen the Crown Jewels before, the Sovereigns Ring is not something many are familiar with. Before the crowning, the Archbishop of Canterbury will place the ring on the King’s fourth finger “as a symbol of 'kingly dignity'.”
The 2,000-long guest list includes a diverse array of people from royals to politicians, heads of state to charity workers. All were recipients of exclusive invitations designed by heraldic artist Andrew Jamieson.
There was growing speculation surrounding the presence of Prince Harry following the release of his and Meghan’s controversial Netflix series and his tell-all book Spare. However, the Palace clarified last week that the Duke of Sussex would attend, albeit alone, and his wife Meghan would stay in California with their children.
In a break with tradition, many foreign royals have confirmed their presence at the historic event, including the Kings of Belgium, Spain, and Sweden. Typically foreign monarchs do not attend another monarch’s coronation.
Similarly to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year, the coronation weekend will include a televised concert live from Windsor Castle with senior members of the Royal Family in attendance.
Those lucky enough to bag tickets to the exclusive event will get treated to performances from Take That, Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli, and Katy Perry, with the announcing of many more acts over the coming days. The event will involve talent from the far corners of the U.K. and the Commonwealth.
The drone show that signalled the end of last year's jubilee concert proved popular with crowds and will make a return. As the evening draws to a close a drone show will light up the skies above Windsor.
Drones are quiet and much less likely to disturb wildlife than fireworks, they are also reusable and do not release pollutants. Another move reflective of the King’s commitment to the planet.
Where to watch
The festivities will be broadcast live on the BBC network, with a variety of other international news channels sharing livestreams on YouTube, including Sky News. There is also the placing of screens throughout London parks where the public can witness history together.
Edited by: Kavya
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