Many of us will be too young to remember the last coronation, which took place 70 years ago in 1953 and saw crowds line the streets to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II‘s official crowning. The nation turned their gardens, parks and streets into party venues, scattered with Union Jack flags, bunting and cakes in celebration of the new monarch. And now, many people across the UK (and the world) are gearing up to do it all over again to mark King Charles III’s coronation.
With Charles and Queen Consort Camilla’s coronation just days away, here’s everything you need to know about this historic event…
When is King Charles III’s coronation?
Unlike the Queen’s coronation which took place in June, Charles’ coronation will take place on Saturday 6 May at Westminster Abbey. If the date seems familiar, that’s because it is: the King’s grandson, Prince Archie Harrison, will turn four on the same day.
The venue should be familiar too, as Westminster Abbey has been the setting of British coronations for the past 900 years, as well as many a royal wedding, including Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Will we get a bank holiday for King Charles III’s coronation?
Just as there was for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, you might be pleased to hear that there will be an extra bank holiday for the coronation of Charles. The official date of 6 May already falls on a Saturday, which means Monday 8 May will be a bank holiday. And yep, it has been confirmed by the government.
What are the coronation plans for the entire weekend?
Thousands of events are expected to take place across the country, as people jazz up their streets, gardens, parks and community spaces for the coronation celebrations. Here’s a three day plan of what to expect…
Saturday 6 May
His Majesty and Queen Consort Camilla will begin ‘The King’s Procession’, starting at Buckingham Palace and arriving at Westminster Abbey for the ceremony to begin. The coronation service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey where Charles will take the coronation oath, be anointed with consecrated oil and receive the orb and sceptres.
After the service, the pair will return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as ‘The Coronation Procession,’ – not to be confused with ‘The King’s Procession’. Once the King and the Queen Consort have arrived back at Buckingham Palace, other Royal Family members will join the couple on the balcony to finish the day’s ceremonial events.
Sunday 7 May
On the second day of the celebrations, a Coronation Concert will take place at Windsor Castle, which will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds. The Coronation Concert will see musicians and contemporary artists perform on stage, along with an orchestra performance and an exclusive choir show. The choir is made up of singers from a range of backgrounds across the UK, such as refugees, NHS staffers and members of the LGBTQ+ community, to name a few.
If you weren’t lucky enough to score tickets to the concert, members of the public will have the option to celebrate as part of the ‘Lighting up the Nation’ event. This will see locations across the country lit up using projectors, lasers, drone displays and illuminations. Sounds like it’s going to be big!
There will also be The Coronation Big Lunch, where communities across the UK are encouraged to share food and celebrations on the day – whether it’s a cuppa with your neighbour or a full on street party.
Monday 8 May
Although Monday is the last day of official celebrations – and the bank holiday, remember – there’s still plenty going on, namely The Big Help Out, which encourages everyone to volunteer and join in on any work that is taking place in their local area.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort hope the coronation weekend will provide an opportunity to spend time and celebrate with friends, families and communities across the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth. Their Majesties are looking forward to marking the occasion with the public throughout 2023.”
Who will be at King Charles III’s coronation?
Although no official guest list has been revealed, we know pretty much who will and wont be in attendance at the coronation. Much of the Royal Family are expected to attend, as are representatives from the Houses of Parliament and politicians from around the world, as well as some famous faces.
There is expected to be around 2,000 people in attendance at the King’s coronation service, which is *a lot* smaller than the 8,000-strong guest-list that squished into Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II’s.
What crown will King Charles III be coronated with?
King Charles will be crowned with none other than the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels – the St Edward’s Crown. During the coronation service at Westminster Abbey, the Archbishop of Canterbury will place the crown on the King’s head, and he’ll also be awarded a coronation medal.
Will Queen Consort Camilla also be crowned?
Queen Consort Camilla will also be crowned during the same ceremony as her husband. Camilla was set to wear the Queen Mother’s platinum crown, but the decision was changed due to the crown’s controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, and she’ll instead wear the crown of Queen Mary.
The Koh-i-Nor diamond was once encrusted on Queen Mary’s crown (the crown Camilla will be wearing), but the diamond was moved to the Queen Mother’s crown for her and King George VI’s coronation in 1937.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond was acquired by the East India Company following the Anglo-Sikh Wars in 1850, and was presented to Queen Victoria. It has stayed in the hands of the royals ever since, but more recently, campaigners and public figures have been asking Britain to return the stone to India (however there are also similar requests being made by Afghanistan and Pakistan).
Head here for everything else you need to know about King Charles III’s coronation, including how to watch it and what roles the Royal Family will have.