The day is nearly upon us. Charles is finally becoming King. So what can Charles expect on his big day, and how can you best celebrate all things royal on this long weekend? In this guide to King Charles' Coronation, we'll cover the meaning of the event, what transpires, how you can celebrate it, and other unmissable royal experiences in London!
- What is a Coronation?
- When is King Charles' Coronation?
- Where is the Coronation?
- An overview of the Coronation
- How to celebrate King Charles' Coronation
- And more!
Image courtesy of Simon Ward Photography/Shutterstock
What is a Coronation?
A coronation is a ceremony where a monarch is physically and symbolically crowned. So, while it formalises the monarch's role as the head of the Church of England, it also involves placing the crown on their head.
However, historically a coronation hasn't always been necessary to pass these powers along. For instance, Edward VIII, who preceded Elizabeth II's father George VI, was never coronated. Even Charles III became king when Elizabeth passed away, though the formal ceremony is still being held.
The coronation ceremony itself has remained somewhat unchanged for over a millennium. In fact, Britain is the last remaining county in Europe that holds them. Very exclusive.
When is King Charles' Coronation?
King Charles III's Coronation will take place on Saturday, 6th May 2023. That's 8 months after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, when Charles was automatically appointed as king.
As for the time, details haven't been revealed yet. However, Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation started at 11.15AM, so it may well be a similar time.
Where is the Coronation?
The coronation itself will take place at Westminster Abbey in London. And, as in the past millennia of coronations, it will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
An Overview of the Coronation
It's been 70 years since the country's last coronation. So what does a coronation look like in 2023? Well, while the ceremony is rooted in traditions that have lasted centuries, it will also reflect the world we live in today, and a monarch's role in that world.
What the hell do all of those words mean? Well, coronation-wise, the ceremony will likely be shorter and less grandiose. In a time of monetary hardship for many, the powers that be have wisely decided to pair back the affair. You'll also see a wider range of representation, both in religion and race. No more sea of white.
And what of the coronation ceremony? Well, it has five stages. What are those five stages? Glad you asked.
Stage 1: The Recognition
Standing beside the coronation chair, the Archbishop of Canterbury presents the monarch-to-be to the gathered congregation. At which point they chant "God save the King!", which seems a completely normal thing to do in 2023. That's followed by a loud eruption of regal trumpets. Never change, Britain.
Stage 2: The Oath
At this point, Charles will recite the oath to uphold the laws of the Church of England.
Stage 3: The Anointing
Then, Charles will sit in the Coronation Chair, and a gold towel is raised to hide him from view. The Archbishop of Canterbury will proceed to anoint his hands, chest, and head with holy oil. Presumably, the towel is used in case the minister spills any oil.
Stage 4: The Investiture
Charles will be presented with the Royal Orb, the Sceptre, the Sovereign's Sceptre (you can never have too many sceptres), a gold rod adorned with a dove, and then the crown will be placed atop his head.
Stag 5: The Enthronement and Homage
Finally, Charles will alight the Coronation Chair and sit on the throne. Once seated, peers will kneel before the king to pay their respects.
When the ceremony is complete, the King and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will return to Buckingham Palace in a coronation procession. Expect the procession to be more modest in comparison to Elizabeth's 16,000-person equivalent.
Once there, they will be joined by other members of the Royal Family for the customary balcony wave.
And while the palace has not revealed who will appear on Buckingham Palace's balcony, we'll leave all the familial drama for another day. Because, let's be honest, we have bigger issues to contend with royal-related tabloid nonsense.
How to celebrate King Charles' Coronation
So how do you celebrate this momentous occasion? Arguably, the best way is with a front-row seat to the procession!
Millions are predicted to line the streets of London along the procession path. Unfortunately, if you're reading this, the route hasn't been released yet. However, once it is, we will update our guide to King Charles' coronation event with everything you need to know!
However, even if you're too far away to see it clearly, there should be screens showing the festivities all over the place.
If you don't feel like battling the crowds to get a space along the procession route, you'll also find plenty of festivities taking place throughout London. Our advice is to just wander the streets and see what's available! Street parties are likely, as they are in pubs, bars, parks, and many more.
There's also the small factor of a bank holiday. Yes, the financial gods have bequeathed us a day of rest on the following Monday. So, no work. Yay! However, if you're feeling the community spirit and want to give back, why not volunteer at The Big Help Out?
In honour of King Charles' life of service, many British organisations have come together to plan local events across the country. The likes of the National Trust and the RSPCA are getting in on the act, so if you're feeling charitable, why not put on your own event or get involved with one close by?
Royal experiences in the area
Before we wrap up our guide to King Charles' Coronation event, while you're in the mood for royalty, you might want to undertake some regal experiences while you're in London.
You could visit the Tower of London, the once-fortress, once-prison turned tourist attraction. Go see some royal jewels, meet some ravens, and learn about the Tower's grisly goings-on throughout the centuries.
Or, go and see the awe-inspiring St Paul's Cathedral. London's most famous somewhat-spherical object hosts royal weddings, funerals, and plenty more, so it's definitely got some regal qualities.
Alternatively, head to Kensington Palace to get a taste of royal family life.
And that's the end of our guide to King Charles' Coronation event! If you need some more inspiration for your royal weekend, check out The London Pass to get great discounts on London's best bits!