The Gold State Coach is ridden alongside members of the military during a full overnight dress rehearsal of the Coronation Ceremony of Britain’s King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort in London, Britain, May 3, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

London: Great Britain’s royal family turns the page on a new chapter Saturday with the coronation of King Charles III.

The pomp, pageantry and symbolism dates back more than 1,000 years, but the crowning of this king will feature new twists on the tradition and changes from the coronation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, 70 years ago.

Plans for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey call for a more toned-down affair than the last one, even though royals from other nations, heads of state and most of Charles’ family will be there, and the monarch plans to wear the same vestments as Elizabeth did.

Here are some things to know about the coronation:


Charles automatically ascended to the throne when Elizabeth died Sept. 8 , and he was officially proclaimed Britain’s monarch two days later in an ascension ceremony broadcast for the first time on television.

Charles said he was “deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.”

Members of the military take part in a full overnight dress rehearsal of the Coronation Ceremony of Britain’s King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort in London, Britain, May 3, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

There is no legal requirement for a coronation, and other European monarchies have done away with the ceremonies.

But the deeply religious and regalia-heavy event is a more formal confirmation of his role as head of state and titular head of the Church of England and was intended to show the king’s authority was derived from God.

During the service conducted by the church’s spiritual leader, the archbishop of Canterbury, Charles will be anointed with oil, receive the traditional symbols of the monarch — including the orb and sceptre — and have the St. Edwards Crown placed on his head for the first time. Charles’ wife, Camilla, will be crowned as queen consort.


Charles will take an oath to uphold the law and the Church of England.

Sitting on the historic Coronation Chair, known as St Edward’s chair and containing the Stone of Destiny, he will be anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, with holy oil consecrated in Jerusalem.

It is the centre point of the ceremony and signals the conferment of God’s grace on the sovereign. A new screen will provide “absolute privacy” during that moment.

Charles will also be presented with various hugely ornate golden orbs, sceptres, swords and a ring, which all form part of the Crown Jewels and variously symbolise the monarch’s power, authority and duties, and the power of God.

Britain's King Charles is driven in a car on the way to Westminster ahead of the Coronation, in London, Britain, May 3, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

The archbishop will then place the heavy St Edward’s Crown, used in coronations for the last 350 years, upon his head.

Charles will leave the Abbey wearing a different crown, the Imperial State Crown.

The public will be invited to swear allegiance to the monarch and to his heirs and successors.

Charles will wear robes of crimson and purple silk velvet at his May 6 coronation which were once worn by his grandfather King George VI at his own coronation in 1937.


Charles’ second wife Camilla, whom he married in 2005, will also be separately crowned queen during the ceremony, and like her husband, anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

She will be crowned using the crown of Queen Mary, commissioned and worn by the consort of King George V for the 1911 coronation. This is being reset with diamonds from Queen Elizabeth’s personal jewellery collection as a tribute to her.


The coronation ceremony dates back to the medieval period, and much of it remains unchanged.

Westminster Abbey has been the setting of the ritual since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.

Elizabeth II’s coronation in June 1953 was the first to be televised live. The broadcast in black and white drew an audience of tens of millions in Britain and was later played to a worldwide audience. In the age of streaming and social media, people will be able to watch Charles’ crowning live — and in vivid reds, blues and golds — from virtually anywhere on the planet and post their hot takes with a crown emoji created for the occasion.

Police officers on horses patrol ahead of King Charles' coronation at the Mall, in London, Britain, May 3, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

Charles has said he plans to slim down the monarchy. His coronation is expected to reflect that with a ceremony shorter than his mother’s three-hour extravaganza and 2,000 guests in the audience — a quarter the number who assembled to see Elizabeth crowned.

In a nod to the change in the religious makeup of the United Kingdom, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh religious leaders will play a role at the coronation. That reflects Charles’ vow to be “the defender of faiths,” as opposed to the “defender of the faith.”

The procession after the ceremony also will be decidedly shorter than the 8km route that Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, took around London in 1953. Charles and Camilla plan to take a more modern set of horse-drawn wheels for the 2km route from Buckingham Palace to the abbey. Once crowned, they will step back in time and retrace the journey in the 260-year-old carriage — notorious for its rough ride — used in every coronation since William IV’s in 1831.


A hundred heads of state are expected to attend along with royalty ranging from Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino and his wife, Kiko, to Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.

The US will keep alive its streak of a president never attending a British royal coronation, although first lady Jill Biden is set to attend.

William, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, is expected to kneel before his father and pledge his loyalty in what’s known as the Homage of Royal Blood.

His younger brother, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is not expected to take part in the service. His explosive memoir “Spare,” which became a bestseller early this year, made unflattering claims about the royal family.

Charles’ brother, Prince Andrew, is also not expected to play any role in the ceremony.

Members of the military march near Buckingham Palace in central London, Tuesday, May 2, 2023 during a rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III which will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 6. Image Credit: AP


With opinion polls showing support for the monarchy has weakened in recent years, this is the chance for Charles to seek and showcase the public’s embrace.

Crowds are expected to line the streets to cheer the new king, and throngs will stand outside Buckingham Palace waiting for him to appear on the balcony after the procession.

While criticism of the crown was relatively muted in recent years out of respect for the queen and her decades of service to the country, there is likely to be much more discussion of whether Britain still needs this antiquated institution or if it should become a republic with an elected head of state.


The public is footing the bill for the coronation. There is no official estimate yet of what it might cost. Some reports estimate it could top 100 million pounds ($125 million).

The celebration comes as the UK weathers a bruising cost-of-living crisis that left many struggling to heat their homes this winter and put food on their tables.

But plenty of people stand to profit from the hoopla.

Officials are expecting to see a tourism boost and there is no shortage of coronation-themed events and commemorative products that could ring up additional sales taxes.

Fans looking to remember the historic event can find everything from fine china to souvenir coins or even cardboard masks of Charles and Camilla.