Your Definitive Guide To King Charles III’s Coronation

Here’s everything you need to know about the landmark royal event.

by Bustle UK
Originally Published: 
King Charles III.

Following the announcement that Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, had died on Sept. 8, 2022, her first-born child, Prince Charles, became King Charles III. He did so under the old common law Rex nunquam moritur, a Latin phrase that translates to “the king never dies.” On Sept. 10, 2022, Charles was formally proclaimed king during a ceremony at St. James’ Palace. The next step in Charles’ ascension to the throne will be the coronation ceremony. But when will that prestigious event take place and what will it involve? Read on for everything we know.

When Is King Charles III’s Coronation?

In October 2022, it was announced that King Charles III’s coronation will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. “The Ceremony will see His Majesty King Charles III crowned alongside The Queen Consort,” a statement from Buckingham Palace reads. “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.”

This followed previous reports that Charles is eager for a scaled-back celebration. A source is quoted as telling the Mirror that His Majesty is “very aware of the struggles felt by modern Britons,” who are dealing with a cost of living crisis.

How To Watch King Charles III’s Coronation In The US

In the US, all the major cable networks including CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, and CNN, are scheduled to broadcast the coronation of King Charles III, with coverage starting at 5 a.m. on Saturday, May 6 EST. Meanwhile, royal spectators can also enjoy proceedings on live streams via platforms including USA Today, The New York Times, Paramount+, and Hulu+ Live TV.

How To Watch King Charles III’s Coronation In The UK

In the UK, the coronation ceremony will be broadcast live across television, radio, and online, with coverage starting on BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, and beyond, from 7:30 a.m. UK time. The all-important ceremony is scheduled to begin just after 10 a.m. and wrap up at around 3 p.m.

If you’d prefer to watch the historical ceremony in person, you can follow the procession route at viewing areas in London. Meanwhile, the coronation service will also be broadcast at London screening sites in Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James’s Park.

How Long Will The Coronation Be?

With television coverage of the landmark event starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at 3 p.m. in the UK, the entire coronation spectacle is expected to last for around five hours in total. Some of the scheduled highlights include King Charles and Queen Camilla arriving at Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach at 11 a.m., the royal procession back to Buckingham Palace at 1 p.m., and the royal family’s iconic balcony appearance, which is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

How Will King Charles III’s Coronation Compare To Queen Elizabeth II’s?

Queen Elizabeth II’s procession reportedly included 16,000 participants whilst Charles’ gathering will be smaller in scale, with an estimated 2,000 people in attendance. Like his late mother, King Charles is also scheduled to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside his wife and other senior members of the royal family.

Per BBC, King Charles himself selected the music for the coronation ceremony, which includes 12 newly-commissioned pieces with an anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of Cats. The ceremony itself includes multiple stages, including the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture, and the final enthronement and homage. King Charles III will be crowned with St Edward’s solid gold crown from the 17th century.

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The coronation of the Queen took place in June 1953 — 16 months after the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation was delayed for over a year to preserve the royal tradition of ensuring “an appropriate length of mourning time” has taken place.

Will Camilla, Queen Consort Be Coronated Alongside King Charles III?

Camilla will be crowned Queen, as confirmed by Queen Elizabeth II during the Platinum Jubilee. After King Charles’ coronation, Camilla’s ceremony will take place following the same steps of the oath, anointing, and investiture. The Queen Consort will be crowned with Queen Mary’s Crown, which is being resized ahead of the ceremony, per BBC.

Camilla will be the first consort to be crowned since 1937. Prince Philip wasn’t entitled, as a male consort to the crown.

Will Harry & Meghan Attend King Charles III’s Coronation?

In April 2023, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed in a statement that Prince Harry “will attend the coronation service at Westminster Abbey on May 6th,” while Meghan Markle “will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”

A spokesperson for the couple previously revealed that the couple received an official invite, but as of March 2023, “an immediate decision on whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend will not be disclosed at this time.”

Interestingly, May 6 is a special day for the royal family all around, as it’s Harry and Meghan’s son Archie’s fourth birthday — which could have influenced Meghan’s decision to stay home.

Which Royal Family Members Will Have Roles In King Charles III’s Coronation?

As the heir to the throne, Prince William will take on a significant role during his father’s coronation ceremony. As the Sunday Times reports, the Prince of Wales is expected to kneel and pledge allegiance to King Charles, touch the St Edward’s Crown, attend the coronation procession back to Buckingham Palace, and make an appearance on the palace balcony alongside other senior royals.

Meanwhile, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis will also be part of the proceedings after stealing the show at the late Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. On April 4, the royal family confirmed that Prince George has been assigned the role of Page Boy at the coronation. “Eight Pages of Honour have been chosen to attend Their Majesties during the Coronation Service,” a statement read on the royal’s official Instagram account. ‘The Pages will form part of the procession through the Nave of Westminster Abbey.”

As per The Times, George’s younger siblings, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, will reportedly join their grandfather and step-grandmother as they exit Westminster Abbey at the conclusion of the ceremony. Other senior royals, including Princess Anne and Prince Edward, are also expected to attend the ceremony.

Will King Charles III’s Coronation Be A Bank Holiday?

The nation will have an extra day off on Monday, May 8, to mark King Charles III’s coronation. Since the ceremony itself falls on a Saturday, the bank holiday was pushed to the following Monday, the 8th. Buckingham Palace also announced a series of events throughout the weekend that will celebrate the coronation.

On Sunday, May 7, a laser light show and concert will be held at Windsor Castle, featuring performances from the likes of Take That, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and more.

Additionally, all clubs and bars across the UK are allowed to remain open for two extra hours on the Friday and Saturday (May 5 and 6) of the coronation. The palace also encourages people to host street parties and participate in community activities as part of the Big Help Out initiative. The project hopes to unite local communities in creating a volunteering legacy on the coronation bank holiday.

What Is The Accession Council Ceremony?

Charles was formally declared king during the Accession Council ceremony in Sept. 2022. The ceremony was televised for the first time in history and was conducted by a group known as the Privy Council, which is the formal body of advisors to the British monarch. The Privy Council is made up of 700 members, according to ITV News. However, only 200 were present for the formal proclamation of Charles as the new British monarch.

Among the attendees were William, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Queen Consort, then-newly-appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss, and six former British Prime Ministers: John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson.

During the historical ceremony, King Charles said that the death of his mother was an “irreparable loss,” and paid tribute to her “selfless service.” The monarch added: “My mother’s reign was unequaled in its duration, its dedication, and its devotion.”

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