King Charles III coronation details revealed by Palace
In just a few days time the world will watch in awe as King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, are crowned in a formal ceremony, which will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6, 2023.
The historic occasion will be celebrated over the course of a three-day Bank Holiday weekend with numerous events, including a large concert and a nationwide volunteering scheme.
A Palace press release, sent out a month after the Queen’s death, added: “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.”
Glittering crown jewels, stunning carriages and beautiful robes will all take centre stage on the day – and the Palace has released key details of those to be used on the day.
The procession route between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey has also been revealed, enabling key royal watchers to plan where they will stand to ensure they catch a glimpse of the newly crowned King and Queen.
Here Express.co.uk looks at everything we know will take place to mark the King’s Coronation.
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When is King Charles III’s Coronation?
Saturday, May 6 will be marked by the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey. The day will start with the King and Queen Consort arriving at the Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as ‘The King’s Procession’.
The Coronation Service takes place and is expected to be about one hour – significantly shorter than Queen Elizabeth II’s which went on for more than three hours.
Once this has concluded, the King and Queen Consort will return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as ‘The Coronation Process’. They will be joined by other members of the Royal Family, who will then appear beside Charles and Camilla on the Buckingham Palace Balcony to conclude the day’s events.
The line-up has yet to be released but it is expected to include immediate heirs to the throne and senior working royals. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Prince Andrew are unlikely to be invited onto the Balcony.
Coronations have been held at Westminster Abbey for 900 years but before Westminster Abbey was built, Coronations were carried out wherever was convenient.
The first coronation at Westminster Abbey was for William the Conqueror on December 25, 1066, with the most recent coronation being for Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.
The Queen’s coronation in 1953 was the first to be televised and was watched by 27 million people in the UK alone.
King Charles will become the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned in May 2023, and will be crowned alongside his Queen Consort, Camilla.
Full programme of events for the Coronation weekend
Sunday, May 7 will be marked by a special Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle, featuring “global music icons and contemporary stars”. It will be attended by a public audience, including volunteers from Charles and Camilla’s charity affiliations.
The ticket ballot formally opened on Friday February 10, with 10,000 places up for grabs.
You can apply for a ticket by visiting the Coronation Concert website anytime until 2359hrs on Tuesday, 28th February.
Tickets will be allocated based on the geographical spread of the UK population and not on a first-come first-served basis, the Palace said.
The Palace said: “The concert will see a world-class orchestra play interpretations of musical favourites fronted by some of the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance. The performances will be supported by staging and effects located on the Castle’s East Lawn and will also feature a selection of spoken word sequences delivered by stars of stage and screen.”
The centrepiece of the night will include ‘Lighting up the Nation’ – a laser, drone and projection display across iconic UK locations.
The Coronation Concert will be produced by BBC Studios, broadcast live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
The coronation procession of George VI, 12 May 1937, in Westminster Abbey, London, England
Coronation Big Lunch
Neighbours and communities across the UK are invited to share food and fun together at Coronation Big Lunches. Thousands of events are expected to take place across the country.
The Coronation Big Lunch will be overseen and organised by the Big Lunch team at the Eden Project.
Monday, May 8 will be marked by the Big Help Out, which will highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities across the nation.
Its aim is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation Weekend.
Royal fans start to camp out ahead of the Coronation
What are the timings on the day of the Coronation?
6am: Viewing areas open along the procession route.
7.15 to 8.30am: Guests for Westminster Abbey begin to arrive at security checkpoints in Victoria Tower Gardens.
9am: Congregation to be seated inside the Abbey.
9.30 to 10.45am: Heads of state, overseas government representatives, Government ministers, First Ministers, former PMs, foreign royals and members of the royal family arrive.
9.45am: The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry begin to gather ready for the procession from Buckingham Palace.
10.20am: The King and Queen Consort’s procession sets off from the Palace.
10.53am: The King and Queen Consort arrive at Westminster Abbey.
11am: Charles and Camilla enter the Abbey through the Great West Door and the service begins.
12pm: The King is crowned. The Archbishop of Canterbury places the St Edward’s Crown on Charles’s head. Trumpets will sound and gun salutes will be fired across the UK.
1pm: The service ends and the newly crowned King and Queen begin their coronation procession back to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach.
1.33pm: Charles and Camilla are expected to enter Buckingham Palace through the Centre Arch.
1.45pm: The King and Queen Consort receive a royal salute from the military in the Palace gardens
Around 2.15pm: The King, Queen Consort and members of the royal family appear on the Palace balcony to watch the flypast.
What role will Prince George have at the Coronation?
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children will form part of the Coronation Procession
Prince George, nine, has been confirmed as one of the eight Pages of Honour chosen to attend The Coronation Service of the King and Queen next month.
The young royal will be one of four attending to the King on the day, and will form part of the procession through the Nave of Westminster Abbey.
The nine-year-old will be joined by Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Master Nicholas Barclay and Master Ralph Tollemache, who together make up the King’s Pages of Honour.
Camilla will be attended by four different Pages, all of whom are related to Her Majesty.
Her grandsons, Master Gus and Master Louis Lopes and Master Freddy Parker Bowles will take up the role, as well as her great-nephew, Master Arthur Elliot.
What is the Coronation procession route?
The full route map above shows where Charles and Camilla will travel before the ceremony
The King and Queen will travel the same route to and from Westminster Abbey. The procession route after the ceremony has been significantly parred back on the previous Coronation, with Queen Elizabeth II’s route scaling an impressive five miles taking her down Piccadilly, along Oxford Street and Regent Street and Haymarket. It took over two hours to complete.
The new route is understood to have been chosen for practical reasons, being a familiar tried and tested journey for many royal occasions.
It will see them travel around Parliament Square, along Whitehall and Parliament Street as they head towards the Mall via Admiralty Arch.
Which 15 royals will take part in the King’s Coronation procession?
The Gold State Coach will be used for the second part of the Coronation procession
The King’s Coronation procession will take place on the morning of May 6, and will see the King and Queen Consort accompanied by other royals as they travel to Westminster Abbey.
This part of the Coronation is confined to only senior members of the Royal Family, so it means Prince Harry.
Other non-working royals will also miss out, which includes the Duke of York and his children, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.
The Prince and Princess of Wales will form part of the procession, with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis joining them – much to the delight of royal fans, according to documents leaked to The Times.
Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will also feature, as well as the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent and his sister Princess Alexandra.
Together with the King and Queen, this brings the total up to 15.
What royal carriages will be used for the procession?
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach will be used to travel to Westminster Abbey
Charles has shirked the convention of travelling in the Gold State Coach in favour of honouring the late Queen by using the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.
The coach, the newest in the Royal Mews, was created for Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Her late Majesty’s reign in 2012. The special carriage will be used for the King’s Procession, the journey to Westminster Abbey ahead of the 11am service.
While it is more understated than the 260-year-old golden coach with its black and gold details, the Diamond Jubilee carriage makes for a much more comfortable experience as it boasts shock absorbers, heating and air conditioning.
The late Queen described the bumpy experience in the golden carriage on her Coronation day as “horrible” and Queen Victoria also complained about the carriage’s “distressing oscillation”.
But King Charles hasn’t decided to ditch the splendid Gold State Coach, which has been used for every Coronation since 1831, entirely as he will use it for the much grander Coronation Procession following the religious service.
What crown jewels will be used?
St Edward’s Crown will be used at the point of crowning
The Imperial State Crown is full of glittering jewels
Officials have also released key details of the glittering crown jewels and a priceless array of regalia that will entrance the nation during the spectacular event.
It will include the Sovereign’s Orb, the Golden Spurs, bracelets known as Armills, two maces, five symbolic swords, the Sovereign’s Ring, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove.
The regalia is steeped in history and carry strong religious symbolism, such as sincerity, wisdom, kingly dignity and mercy.
The oldest object in use will be the silver-gilt Coronation Spoon which dates back to 1349. It is the only piece of Royal goldsmiths’ work to survive from the 12th century and will be used for anointing King Charles at the ceremony.
Camilla will be crowned with the modified Queen Mary’s Crown, and will hold the controversial Queen Consort’s Rod with Dove – made from ivory – and the Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross.
The King will be crowned with the 17th-century St Edward’s Crown which has been resized to fit his head. The stunning crown was made for King Charles II in 1661 and weighs an impressive 2.23kg (nearly 5lbs). It is the most important and sacred of all the crowns and is only used at the moment of crowning itself. Queen Elizabeth II used it in 1953.
Charles will switch to using the lighter Imperial State Crown at the end of the ceremony, as is customary. The impressive gold crown is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and four rubies.
King Charles and Queen Camilla may have decided to have a more slimmed-down Coronation than that of his late mother Queen Elizabeth II, but the guest list remains extensive. Here are just some of those invited to the momentous event:
Royal Family members: Prince William and Princess Kate, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall, Prince Edward, Princess Anne,Timothy Laurence.
Other notable British royals or relations: Tom Parker Bowles, Laura Lopes, Andre Parker Bowles, Annabel Elliot, Marchioness of Lansdowne, Duke of Norfolk, Marquess of Cholmondeley, Baron Carrington, Earl of Errol, Earl of Dundee, Joseph Morrow, Baron Hastings, Duke of Argyll.
Foreign royals: King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, King Car and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princes Mary of Denmark, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg.
Foreign politicians: Emmanuel Macron, Jill Biden, Michelle O’Neill, Han Zheng, Ursula von der Leyen.
Politicians: Rishi Sunak, Domaniç Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman, Sir Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major, Tracy Brabin, Humza Yousaf.
Invited guests: Joanna Lumley, Jay Blades, David and Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, Rowan Atkinson, Bear Grylls, Lord Lloyd Webber, Dame Kelly Holmes, Amanda Holding, Rose Ayling Ellis, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom.
What does the Coronation invite look like?
The Coronation invite
The Coronation invite has been elaborately decorated by heraldic artist and manuscript illuminator Andrew Jamieson, a Brother of the Art Workers’ Guild which the King is an Honorary Member.
It was originally hand-painted in watercolour and gouache and 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.
Flowers, grouped in three to signify the King becoming the third monarch of his name, also take centre stage, while wildlife and key parts from their majesties coats of arms feature in the border.
The invitation reads: “The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III & Queen Camilla – By Command of the King the Earl Marshall is directed to invite…to be present at the Abbey Church of Westminster on 6th day of May 2023.”
Which musical legends will perform at the Coronation Concert?
CGI of a representation of the staging for the forthcoming Coronation Concert
Elton John is understood to have declined performing at the Coronation Concert
The organisers of the musical bonanza, the big Windsor Castle concert, initially struggled to book major headliners.
Musical icons Sir Elton John and the Spice Girls have become the latest stars to turn down performing at the event. Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Adele and Robbie Williams are also understood to have declined due to their jam-packed schedules.
However, plenty more acts rose to the occasion to ensure the special concert goes off without a glitch.
This includes Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Take That and Andrea Bocelli.
Hugh Bonneville, famous for his roles in Downton Abbey and the Paddington films, will be hosting the gig.
Will the Coronation be a bank holiday?
As well as the official Coronation service, dozens of events have been planned to mark the historic occasion. Because of this, the UK will have a public holiday on Monday, May 8 – two days after the Coronation itself.
Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day in 1953
What happens in the Coronation?
The Royal website says: “During the ceremony, the Sovereign takes the coronation oath. The form and wording have varied over the centuries. Today, the Sovereign undertakes to rule according to law, to exercise justice with mercy – promises symbolised by the four swords in the coronation regalia (the Crown Jewels) – and to maintain the Church of England.
“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. After homage is paid by the Archbishop of Canterbury and senior peers, Holy Communion is celebrated.”
Will there be a Coronation medal?
Royal tradition dictates that each monarch has a commemorative medal, which is given to select people along with members of the Royal Family to mark the coronation.
The Assay Offices of the UK announced a commemorative hallmark has been designed to celebrate the coronation of King Charles. The King’s Coronation Mark will be available from March 1 until December 31, 2024.
How can I watch the Coronation?
The ceremony is likely to be broadcast live, just like his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s was. Some 27 million people in the UK and millions more around the world tuned in to watch the event.
Broadcast details have not been confirmed yet but you can expect to be able to watch the ceremony on BBC, Sky and ITV.