Whether out of love for Britain’s monarchy or mere fascination with the nation’s most recognizable family, millions of eyes will be on King Charles’ coronation on May 6.
The newly appointed sovereign ascended the throne following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II last September. Now, he is due to be crowned alongside Camilla, Queen Consort, during a symbolic ceremony at Westminster Abbey, which will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The following day will be marked by a number of celebrations, including street parties and an evening concert. Pubs and bars will be allowed to remain open for two extra hours in the U.K., and Monday will be observed as a national holiday.
Buckingham Palace has said the event will be modernized to reflect the monarchy’s present-day role but will still retain the “longstanding traditions and pageantry” seen at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. A guest list of 2,200 people will get to see up-close what’s in store once the event kicks off next month.
Here’s everything we know about the coronation’s schedule so far.
Saturday, May 6
11 a.m.: King and Queen Consort’s coronation ceremony
Charles will travel with Queen Camilla from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey—for 900 years, monarchs have been crowned at the London landmark. The route they will undertake is called “The King’s Procession.”
The royal couple will be traveling in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, a carriage with surprisingly up to date modifications such as air conditioning and electric windows.
The coronation ceremony is due to start at 11 a.m. local time and will last just over an hour compared to the three hour duration of Queen Elizabeth’s event.
Inside the Abbey, Charles will be seated in the Coronation Chair, or Edward’s Chair, and he will be holding the sovereign’s scepter— a gold rod with amethyst monde, diamonds, rubies, spinels, and emeralds—which represents control over the nation. He will also have the sovereign’s orb, a golden globe with a cross on top.
Charles will be asked during the ceremony if he will govern the U.K. and other nations of the Commonwealth with law and justice and if he will maintain Christianity in the nation, the Telegraph reported.
But the monarch is also taking steps to act as a defender of all faiths and include other religious groups in the big event to reflect a more diverse contemporary Britain.
During the ceremony, Charles will be anointed with chrism oil that was made in Jerusalem in March using olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension.
He will then be blessed and consecrated by the Archbishop before having St Edward’s Crown—a solid gold headpiece adorned by over 400 gemstones, including rubies and sapphires—placed on his head. Camilla will be crowned with Queen Mary’s Crown which has been reset with the Cullinan III, IV, and V diamonds from Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewelry collection.
This crown will later be replaced by the Imperial State Crown before the end of the ceremony.
Once Charles has been crowned, he has requested for Greek Orthodox music by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble to be played during the service as a nod to his late father, Prince Philip, who was born in Greece to the German House of Glücksburg, and was a prince to both Greece and Denmark. Following this, musical theater titan Andrew Lloyd Webber has been commissioned to compose the coronation anthem, one of 12 pieces the King has personally chosen.
PA Wire/APSeating surrounds Horse Guards Parade, London, where preparations are underway on April 17, 2023 for the coronation of King Charles III and the Queen Consort on May 6.
2 p.m.: King’s procession begins
Following the ceremony, Charles and Camilla will depart Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach and undertake ‘The Coronation Procession,” a 1.3 mile journey back to Buckingham palace. Members of the public are likely to line the streets of the procession route to catch a glimpse of the newly crowned monarch.
Members of the royal family are then expected to appear on the palace balcony and wave to spectators.
Sunday, May 7
Coronation Big Lunch
On the day after the coronation, communities have been encouraged to host coronation lunches and street parties with their neighbors. The Big Lunch initiative has been organized by the Eden Project, a cause that Camilla has been a patron of since 2013. The project aims to bring people together to reduce loneliness and promote community spirit.
The King and Queen have “personally chosen” a French-inspired quiche—featuring spinach, broad beans, cheese, and tarragon—as the dish to mark their Coronation. The U.K. government announced that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will host his own street lunch to host community volunteers from across the country.
Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle
Sunday evening will be marked with a coronation concert on the East Lawn of Windsor Castle. It will mark the first time a concert has been held on the castle grounds.
Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the headliners will include Take That, Lionel Ritchie, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, and Katy Perry—who is an ambassador of the British Asian Trust, a charity fronted by Charles.
Additionally, the official Coronation Choir—formed of amateur British choir groups— will also perform. During the concert, major U.K. landmarks will be illuminated with projections, lasers, and drone displays as the country is lit up to celebrate King Charles.
Around 10,000 tickets have been allocated to the British public via a geographical ballot, and an additional 57 locations will broadcast the concert on big screens for locals to enjoy together—these venues include Cardiff Castle, Belfast City Hall, and Picadilly Gardens in Manchester, as well as London’s Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James’s Park.
Monday, May 8
The Big Help Out
While many Brits will be able to enjoy a one-off bonus public holiday on the first Monday after the coronation, elected charity groups will take part in a community initiative known as The Big Help Out. Partners will include The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service, and faith groups from across the U.K.
As a tribute to the king, the initiative will encourage people to support their local community and volunteer.