King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s Coronation will take place on May 06th at Westminster Abbey. The day is set to be full of British Pomp and Pageantry but it will also be a solemn religious ceremony that has remained essentially the same over a thousand years. The Service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will reflect the Monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and history.
For the last 900 years, the ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey, London. The service is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose task has almost always been the same since the Norman Conquest in 1066. The ceremony formalizes the Monarch’s role as the Head of the Church of England.
Charles succeeded to the throne on the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022. The coronation of the new Sovereign follows some months after his or her accession, following a period of mourning and as a result of the enormous amount of preparation required to organize the ceremony. While there are many asking the relevance and cost of the ceremony, the British Government is determined use the historic day to showcase the British culture and tradition to international community while using the day to strengthen the diplomatic relations with many countries.
During the ceremony, the Sovereign takes the coronation oath. The form and wording have varied over the centuries. Following the oath the Sovereign is then ‘anointed, blessed and consecrated’ by the Archbishop, whilst the Sovereign is seated in King Edward’s chair (made in 1300, and used by every Sovereign since 1626). After receiving the orb and sceptres, the Archbishop places St Edward’s Crown on the Sovereign’s head.
“The Queen consort is crowned with the King, in a similar but simpler ceremony. If the new Sovereign is a Queen, her consort is not crowned or anointed at the coronation ceremony”.
Buckingham Palace has announced various details of the coronation and the ceremony. There will be an extra bank holiday across the UK on Monday 8 May. Community volunteers and key workers will be part of the 2,000-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey on 6 May.
The invitation for the Coronation has been designed by Andrew Jamieson, a heraldic artist and manuscript illuminator whose work is inspired by the chivalric themes of Arthurian legend. Mr Jamieson is a Brother of the Art Workers’ Guild, of which The King is an Honorary Member. You can find more about the invitation design here.
“The original artwork for the invitation was hand-painted in watercolour and gouache, and the design will be reproduced and printed on recycled card, with gold foil detailing. Central to the design is the motif of the Green Man, an ancient figure from British folklore, symbolic of spring and rebirth, to celebrate the new reign. The shape of the Green Man, crowned in natural foliage, is formed of leaves of oak, ivy and hawthorn, and the emblematic flowers of the United Kingdom”.
The Guest List:
The Coronation guest list is going to be quite long and impressive. On the eve of the Coronation, King Charles will be hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace for the Foreign Royals and Head of States. Here is the list of confirmed attendees.
- King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
- King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium
- Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco
- King Carl XVI Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
- Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
- The Crown Prince and Princess Akishino of Japan
- President Emmanuel Macron of France
- President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda of Poland
- First Lady Dr Jill Biden of USA
- President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos of the Philippians
- Petr Pavel President of the Czech Republic
- (This list will be updated as the more attendees confirm their presence).
The King’s Procession to Westminster Abbey:
The King’s Pages of Honour will be His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Master Nicholas Barclay and Master Ralph Tollemache. The Queen’s Pages of Honour will be Her Majesty’s grandsons, Master Gus and Master Louis Lopes and Master Freddy Parker Bowles, and Her Majesty’s great-nephew, Master Arthur Elliot.
On the morning of the 6th May, Their Majesties will travel from Buckingham Palace in ‘The King’s Procession’ to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Created for Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Her late Majesty’s reign in 2012, the coach has only ever conveyed the Sovereign, occasionally accompanied by the consort or a visiting Head of State.
The King’s Procession, accompanied by The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, will depart Buckingham Palace through the Centre Gate, and proceed down The Mall, passing through Admiralty Arch and south of King Charles I Island, down Whitehall and along Parliament Street. The King’s Procession will travel around the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary to arrive at the Sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, where the Coronation Service will begin at 11 o’clock.
The Coronation Music:
Twelve newly commissioned pieces of music will be performed at The Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May 2023, showcasing musical talent from across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. A range of musical styles and performers blend tradition, heritage and ceremony with new musical voices of today, reflecting The King’s life-long love and support of music and the arts. His Majesty The King has personally commissioned the new music and shaped and selected the musical programme for the Service.
The Coronation Regalia:
Apart from the holy service itself and the British pomp and pageantry, the next most talked about thing is the Coronation Regalia. The heart of the Crown Jewels and housed in the Tower of London where they are kept on public display, the Coronation Regalia are sacred and secular objects which symbolise the service and responsibilities of the monarch. The Regalia have played a central role in Coronation Services for hundreds of years and, in keeping with tradition.
St Edward’s Crown will be used to crown His Majesty The King. The crown was made for King 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 AngloSaxon king of England. The crown was commissioned from the Crown Jeweller, Robert Vyner, in 1661. Although it is not an exact replica of the medieval design, it follows the original in having four crosses-pattée and four fleurs-de-lis, and two arches. The crown is topped with an orb and a cross, symbolising the Christian world, and is made up of a solid gold frame set with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes and tourmalines. The crown has a velvet cap with an ermine band. St Edward’s Crown was worn by Queen Elizabeth II at the Coronation in 1953.
Queen Mary’s Crown has been chosen by Queen Camilla for the Coronation marking the first instance in modern times of an existing crown being used for the Coronation of the Consort. Ahead of the Coronation, minor changes and additions to Queen Mary’s Crown are being undertaken, such as the as inclusion of the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds which were part of Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewellery collection for many years. The design was inspired by Queen Alexandra’s Crown of 1902. Like Queen Alexandra’s Crown, it can be worn without the arches in the form of a circlet, which Queen Mary wore for the Coronation of her son, King George VI, in 1937.
The Imperial State Crown, or Crown of State, is the crown the monarch exchanges for St Edward’s Crown at the end of the Coronation Service. The Imperial State Crown is also used on ceremonial occasions, such as the State Opening of Parliament. The term “imperial state crown” dates back to the fifteenth century when English monarchs chose a crown design closed by arches to demonstrate that England was not subject to any other earthly power. This Imperial State Crown was made for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, but is closely based on a crown designed for Queen Victoria in 1838 by the Crown Jewellers of the time, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell.
Other elements of the Regalia are:
- Two Maces, made of silver gilt over oak, date between 1660 and 1695
- Sword of State, symbolising Royal authority
- the Sword of Temporal Justice
- the Sword of Spiritual Justice
- the Sword of Mercy or Curtana
- The golden St Edward’s Staff
- The silver-gilt Coronation Spoon
- The Spurs at Coronations
- The Sword of Offering
- The two Armills : ‘bracelets of sincerity and wisdom’.
- The Sovereign’s Orb
- The Sovereign’s Ring
- The two Sovereign’s Sceptres
- The Queen Consort’s Ruby Ring
- The Queen Consort’s Dove Rod
- The Queen Consort’s Sceptre
The ceremony has 5 Stages on the day of Coronation:
- The recognition: While standing beside the 700-year-old Coronation Chair, the monarch is presented to those gathered in the Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The congregation shouts “God Save the King!” and trumpets sound
- The oath: The sovereign swears to uphold the law and the Church of England. Each Sovereign so far in history has their own version of the Oath.
- The anointing: The King’s ceremonial robe is removed and he sits in the Coronation Chair. A gold cloth is held over the chair to conceal the King from view. The Archbishop of Canterbury anoints the King’s hands, chest and head with holy oil made according to a secret recipe, but known to contain ambergris, orange flowers, roses, jasmine and cinnamon. The oil created for Charles will not contain any ingredients derived from animals.
- The Chrism oil which will be used to anoint His Majesty The King on 6th May 2023 has been consecrated in Jerusalem. In a special ceremony at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, The oil has been consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, The Most Reverend Hosam Naoum.
- The oil has been created using olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension. The Monastery of Mary Magdalene is the burial place of His Majesty’s grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece.
- The olives were pressed just outside Bethlehem. The oil has been perfumed with essential oils – sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin and amber – as well as orange blossom.
- The Coronation oil is based on the oil used at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the formula of which has been used for hundreds of years. It will also be used for the anointing of Her Majesty The Queen.
- The investiture: The sovereign is presented with items including the Royal Orb, representing religious and moral authority; the Sceptre, representing power; and the Sovereign’s Sceptre, a rod of gold topped with a white enamelled dove, a symbol of justice and mercy. Finally, the Archbishop places St Edward’s Crown on the King’s head
- The enthronement and homage: The King leaves the Coronation Chair and moves to the throne. Peers kneel before the monarch to pay homage. It’s been reported only The Prince of Wales will be paying homage to the King at the coronation.
The Coronation Procession:
The Coronation procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace will be taking the same route in reverse. The Coronation Procession will include Armed Forces from across the Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, and all Services of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, alongside The Sovereign’s Bodyguard and Royal Watermen.
Their Majesties will travel in the Gold State Coach. The coach, last seen during the Pageant of the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in June 2022, was commissioned in 1760 and was first used by King George III, to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762. The coach has been used at every Coronation since that of William IV in 1831. The coach will be drawn by eight Windsor Greys and, due to its weight of four tonnes, will travel at walking pace.
At Buckingham Palace, The King and The Queen, accompanied by Members of the Royal Family, will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events where the King and Queen will receive a Royal Salute from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Armed Forces who have been on parade that day. The Royal Salute will be followed by three cheers from the assembled service personnel, as a tribute from the Armed Forces on parade to The King and The Queen
on the day of Their Majesties’ Coronation.
How to Watch Coronation:
If you are heading to London to watch the procession live, then be ready to expect the route to be extremely busy as the Coronation route this time has been shortened to keep the security cost minimum. There are very high chances that the ceremony will be broadcast live. We will update the details once we know more about the broadcast.
The Coronation Concert and Big lunch
On May 07th a public concert will be held at Windsor Castle. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC. Several thousand pairs of tickets were offered to British public via ballot. The Coronation Big Lunch, at which neighbours and communities are invited to share food and fun together, will take place across the country, also on Sunday 7th May 2023. Also on Monday 8th May 2023, members of the public will be invited to take part in The Big Help Out, which will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas.
The page is in progress and will be updated as we receive more information.