On May 6, 2023, King Charles III will be officially sworn in as the 62nd monarch of the United Kingdom (UK) and fourteen other Commonwealth realms. They include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This is Britain's first coronation ceremony since Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953. Here is a brief preview of what to expect.
What is a coronation?
A coronation is the formal handing over of title and powers to a new monarch. It is a grand, celebratory event in which the king is presented with royal ceremonial objects.
What happens during a coronation ceremony?
On the morning of May 6, King Charles and his wife, Camilla, will make their way to Westminster Abbey in a horse-drawn carriage. The royal church has been the venue of choice for almost every coronation since 1066.
The service, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will begin at 11:00 am local time. The new king will start with an oath to uphold the Church of England and the law. The Archbishop will then bless the sovereign with holy oil. Next, King Charles will be given the Sovereign's Sceptre and Orb. These objects symbolize the monarch's powers and responsibilities. Toward the end of the ceremony, the Archbishop will place a crown on the new king's head. Camilla will also be crowned.
What crown will the monarchs wear?
King Charles will initially wear St. Edward's Crown. The solid gold headpiece was made for King Charles II in 1661. It is adorned with over 400 precious stones. They include rubies, sapphires, and many other gems.
However, the ornate and heavy crown is just for the coronation and will remain at Westminster Abbey. For ceremonial occasions outside of the abbey, the sovereign will wear the Imperial State Crown. Crafted in 1937, it features a dazzling 2,868 diamonds!
Camilla's crown features 2,200 diamonds. It was worn by Queen Mary when she took part in the coronation alongside her husband, King George V, in 1911.
How many people will witness the coronation?
King Charles' coronation will have about 2,000 guests. This is far fewer than the over 8,000 that attended Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953. However, millions will witness the widely covered event on television.
What other events are planned?
On May 7, 2023, many residents will participate in their neighborhood "Coronation Big Lunch." The initiative is the brainchild of The Eden Project, a UK-based nonprofit. It is meant to encourage communities to come together for food and fun by organizing street parties and picnics.
UK residents will also be treated to a special Coronation concert featuring numerous stars, including Lionel Richie and Katy Perry in the evening.
Resources: CNN.com, People.com, coronation.gov