King Charles III's coronation: a guide

Marie Heuclin, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 23 2023 02:55 PM | Updated as of May 04 2023 08:40 PM

Britain's King Charles III (right) and Camilla, the Queen Consort arrive for the Easter Sunday service at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain on April 9, 2023. Neil Hall, EPA-EFE
Britain's King Charles III (right) and Camilla, the Queen Consort arrive for the Easter Sunday service at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain on April 9, 2023. Neil Hall, EPA-EFE

LONDON — The coronation of King Charles III and his wife Camilla as queen consort on Saturday, May 6, is the centerpiece of a weekend of events to mark the occasion.

The King's Procession

The day begins with the "King's Procession" -- a 1.3-mile (two-kilometer) trip from Buckingham Palace in central London to Westminster Abbey.

The couple will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, drawn by six Windsor Grey horses, and escorted by members of the king's bodyguard, the Household Cavalry.

They will arrive for the start of the ceremony at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).

Ceremony and guests 

The ceremony will last about an hour and be led by the highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Some 2,000 people, from foreign leaders and royalty to elected officials and civil society representatives, will be inside the abbey.

The Recognition

The ceremony has largely remained the same for more than 1,000 years.

The king will first be presented to the congregation, who respond with shouts of "God Save the King!"

The Oath

The monarch will then take the coronation oath. The wording has varied over the centuries.

In response to a series of questions from the archbishop, Charles's mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953 swore to rule according to law, exercise justice with mercy, and maintain the Church of England.

She also swore to govern the Commonwealth realms and territories where she was also head of state "according to their respective laws and customs".

The Anointing

The sovereign, sitting in King Edward's Chair (the Coronation Chair) under a canopy, is then "anointed, blessed and consecrated" by the archbishop.

Consecrated oil is administered using a 12th-century silver-gilt spoon that is the oldest artifact among the Crown Jewels.

The anointing will be "the only part of the ceremony the public will not see", Welby has said.

The Coronation Chair was made in 1300. Underneath it is the "Stone of Destiny", an ancient symbol of Scotland's monarchy seized by King Edward I.

The Investiture

After receiving the sovereign's orb and scepters, which represent their spiritual and temporal powers, the monarch has the St Edward's Crown placed on their head.

The Enthronement

The monarch moves to the throne.

The Homage

The archbishop, royal princes and senior members of the upper chamber of parliament, the House of Lords, kneel and swear allegiance.

Camilla will then be crowned separately in a similar but simpler ceremony.

The Coronation Procession

The king and queen will return to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach in a larger ceremonial "Coronation Procession".

The coach, first used in 1762, weighs four tonnes and will be drawn by eight Windsor Grays, at walking pace.

They will be joined by other members of the royal family and some 4,000 British and Commonwealth troops in full regalia.

At the palace, they will appear on the balcony to greet the crowd and watch a Royal Air Force fly-past.


Charles's two sons from his first marriage to Princess Diana -- heir apparent Prince William and Prince Harry -- will both be there.

Harry, attending without his wife, Meghan, or their two children, and Charles's brother Prince Andrew, are not expected to have a formal role to play.

But William's nine-year-old son Prince George, second in line to the throne, is one of the king's four pages.

Three of Camilla's grandchildren -- Gus, Louis and Freddy -- and her great-nephew Arthur are among her pages.

Long weekend

On Sunday May 7, neighborhood street parties -- "The Big Coronation Lunch" -- will be held across the UK.

In the evening, Windsor Castle, west of London, hosts some 10,000 people at a Coronation Concert, featuring artists including Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Take That and Andrea Bocelli.

Monday, May 8, has been declared a public holiday. The royal family has called on Britons to do voluntary work in their communities.

© Agence France-Presse


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