Coronation of Charles III

Coronation of  King Charles III

This is what we know about Charles III Coronation so far:

Date: 6th May 2023
Venue: Westminster Abbey.
Conducted by: Archbishop of Canterbury
Who: The king will be crowned alongside his Queen consort.

The Duke of Norfolk, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, is in charge of organising the coronation as hereditary Earl Marshal. A committee of privy counsellors will arrange the event.
As a state occasion, the coronation is paid for by the British government. For the first time, a Coronation Claims Office has been established within the Cabinet Office instead of the traditional Court of Claims to handle claims to perform a historic or ceremonial role at the coronation.
The official photographer of the coronation will be Hugo Burnand who was also the official photographer for Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005.

The invitation for the coronation was designed by Andrew Jamieson, a heraldic artist and manuscript illuminator, and features the couple’s coats of arms and a motif of the Green Man against a background of the emblematic flowers of the UK and a British wildflower meadow and wildlife.

Charles III Coronation Invitation
Charles III Coronation Invitation

The Kings Procession will take place in the modern Diamond Jubilee State Coach, drawn by six Windsor Greys & will depart Buckingham Palace arriving at Westminster Abbey at 1100 hrs. The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will take part in the procession, which will go along The Mall, down Whitehall and along Parliament Street, and around the east and south sides of Parliament Square.

Faith leaders and representatives from the Jewish, Sunni and Shia Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities will form the first procession inside the abbey. They will be followed by ecumenical leaders and representatives from the Commonwealth realms, whose flags will be carried by national representatives accompanied by the governors general and prime ministers.
The King and Queen will then be accompanied by the Marquess of Anglesey, the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Caledon and the Earl of Dundee, who will carry the Standards of the Quarterings of the Royal Arms and Standard of the Principality of Wales. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin and the Duke of Norfolk will also join them. The Coronation choir is expected to sing Hubert Parry’s I was glad and the Westminster scholars will chant “Vivat Regina Camilla” and “Vivat Rex Carolus” as the Royal procession make their way. The leading object for the procession within the abbey will be the newly made Cross of Wales, which includes relics of the True Cross gifted to the King by Pope Francis. Two maces, made between 1660 and 1695, and the Sword of State will be carried into the abbey before the King. Also carried into the abbey will be the Sword of Spiritual Justice, the Sword of Temporal Justice, the blunt Sword of Mercy, and St Edward’s Staff. At the King’s request, the sixth-century St Augustine Gospels will be carried in the procession as well.

Crown Jewels
King Charles will be attended by four pages of honour. They are Prince George of Wales, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley (son of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley), Nicholas Barclay (grandson of Sarah Troughton), and Ralph Tollemache (son of the Hon. Edward Tollemache).

The ceremony is likely to take about 1.5 hours in front of ~3000 guests including many world leaders and foreign royals. The UK government decides the guest list as they’re footing the bill!
The ceremony will begin with the anointing of Charles, symbolising his spiritual entry into kingship, and then his crowning and enthronement, representing his assumption of temporal powers and responsibilities.

Camilla will be crowned in a shorter and simpler ceremony. She will also be attended by four pages of honour. They are her grandsons, Gus and Louis Lopes (sons of Laura Lopes) and Frederick Parker Bowles (son of Tom Parker Bowles), and her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot (son of Ben Elliot). Camilla will also be accompanied by two “ladies in attendance”: her sister, Annabel Elliot, and the Marchioness of Lansdowne. Camilla is expectedd to wear her Queen Elizabeth II’s Robe of State upon arrival and a newly created Robe of Estate upon departure, which features her cypher, bees, a beetle, and various plants and flowers, including lily of the valley, myrtle, delphinium, lady’s mantle, maidenhair fern, and cornflowers.

Several specially commissioned pieces of music will be performed. We’re expecting a coronation anthem from Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The King is expected to wear military dress & his grandfather George VI’s Robe of State upon arrival and Robe of Estate upon departure from the Abbey. During different parts of the ceremony he will don St Edward’s Crown and Imperial State Crown as well as carry the orb and sceptre.

Coronation Orb
William, Prince of Wales will pay homage and swear allegiance to the monarch.
The return ceremonial procession post coronation is expected to include the use of the 1762 Gold State Coach.

Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are expected to make an appearance, particularly with the King and Queen on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Which other Royals also stand on the balcony isn’t yet confirmed.

On Sunday May 7 a “Coronation Big Lunch” and “Coronation Concert” are planned.

The Origins of British Coronations

British Coronations

King Edgar and St Dunstan

What is a Coronation?:  A coronation is a ceremony at which a person is made king or queen. It is is the public handing over of title and powers to a new monarch, usually with great pomp and celebration. The ceremony of the crowning a sovereign or a sovereign’s consort.

Coronations date back a number of centuries. The origins of the coronation of the British monarch lie with King Edgar the Peaceful or the Peaceable (c. 943 – 8 July 975). Edgar was crowned at Bath on 11 May 973 with his wife Ælfthryth some 14 or 15 years after he became King. Thus a precedent for a coronation of a queen in England also took place.

This imperial ceremony was to celebrate his reign, rather than a celebration of appointment and this was the start of the idea of the need to gain popular support for a new monarch from other contemporary regional reigning monarchs through acts of celebration. The ceremony was devised by Saint Dunstan based on ceremonies used by the Frankish kings and those used in the ordination of bishops. Several versions of coronation services, known as ordines or recensions have since evolved over time since then.

Pomp & Ceremony

Richard II
Coronation of Richard II

The 1377 coronation of 10 year old Richard II saw the evolution of the coronation to one which also sought to gain popular support for a new monarch from the general populous by making the ceremony a spectacle of pageantry for the ordinary people. The acts of public relations and regional diplomacy were both embellished with theatrics together.

The Anglo-Saxon monarchs used various locations for their coronations. These included Bath, Kingston upon Thames, London, and Winchester. The last Anglo-Saxon monarch, Harold II (c. 1022 – 14 October 1066), was crowned at Westminster Abbey on ‎6 January 1066. William the Conqueror, after successfully defeating Harold at the battle of Hastings (October 14, 1066), followed what had now become English tradition and was also crowned at Westminster Abbey the same day he became king on Christmas Day 1066. Since then the majority of coronations have taken place at Westminster Abbey.

Scottish Coronation Origins

Scottish coronations were traditionally held at Scone Abbey, with the king seated on the Stone of Destiny (Lia Fail). A few Scottish coronations were held at Holyrood, Kelso Abbeys, Stirling Castle and Kirk of the Holy Rude, Stirling. The Scottish coronations originated from rituals used by the kings governing parts of western Scotland and northeastern Ireland, on each side of the North Channel as well as and by the Picts from whom the Stone of Destiny came. It is probable the earliest coronation or inauguration was that of Aidan by Columba in 574.

James I Coronation

When James VI of Scotland became James I of England and Ireland, the Scottish and English crowns were unified on 24 March 1603.  Charles I and Charles II had two coronations, one in Scotland and one in England in different years. All monarchs that have followed have only had one coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The presiding senior cleric of the coronation has usually been a bishop or archbishop. Since James VI and I the roles and responsibilities for officiating at the ceremony has been fulfilled by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Other ceremonial roles are performed by clergy and members of the nobility.

In general, the coronation usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch, in order to provide sufficient time for respectful mourning and time for organising such elaborate arrangements. The coronation of a monarch is considered a happy/joyous occasion thanks to King Edgar and those that followed.