Crowning Britain's new monarch: What to expect during King Charles' coronation

He will be blessed on the throne of King Edward I, which was made in 1300 and has been used at each coronation since 1626

By AFP

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Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort (L) listens as Britain's King Charles III speaks during a meeting of the Accession Council. Photo: AFP
Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort (L) listens as Britain's King Charles III speaks during a meeting of the Accession Council. Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 11 Oct 2022, 10:17 PM

King Charles III is to be crowned on May 6 next year in a holy ritual steeped in centuries of tradition.

Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 came more than a year after she became queen upon the death of her father George VI.


The coronation is separate from the Accession Council, which assembled in St James's Palace shortly after Elizabeth's death last month to formally proclaim her eldest son Charles as successor.

Culminating 10 days of official mourning, her funeral then took place at Westminster Abbey, the same imposing venue in central London where Charles's coronation will be held.


The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo: Reuters
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo: Reuters

The ceremony will be ministered by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the religious leader of the Anglican Church. The monarch is "defender of the faith".

The archbishop introduces the new ruler to the audience, who applaud, before the sovereign then pronounces the oath of coronation.

In the oath, written in 1688, the monarch solemnly vows to govern the British people according to the laws passed in parliament, to enforce law and justice "with leniency", and to "do everything possible" to preserve the Anglican Church and the Protestant religion.

Welby will then anoint Charles with consecrated oil, using a 12th-century silver-gilt spoon that is the oldest artifice in Britain's Crown Jewels.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits on a throne during her coronation in Westminster Abbey in London. Photo: AFP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits on a throne during her coronation in Westminster Abbey in London. Photo: AFP

Charles will be blessed on the throne of King Edward I, which was made in 1300 and has been used at each coronation since 1626.

Under the chair will be the "Stone of Destiny", an ancient symbol of Scotland's monarchy that was captured by Edward I and now only leaves Edinburgh Castle for coronations.

The sovereign finally receives his royal ornaments, including a sceptre and the crown, which is put in place by the archbishop.

Britain's Camilla. Photo: Reuters
Britain's Camilla. Photo: Reuters

Charles's wife Camilla will then be crowned Queen Consort in a shorter and simpler ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth, in one of her last decisive acts for the succession, settled the long-running question about what Camilla would be called.

It had been intended she would become "princess consort", as she is not the new king's first wife, and also out of deference to Diana, princess of Wales, who was killed in a 1997 car crash.

Camilla will become queen dowager on the death of the king, who will be succeeded by Prince William.

St Edward's Crown, the crown used in coronations for English and later British monarchs. Photo: AFP
St Edward's Crown, the crown used in coronations for English and later British monarchs. Photo: AFP

The crown of St. Edward, made in 1661 for the coronation of Charles II, is traditionally used during the ceremony.

Made of gold, silver, rubies and sapphires, it weighs more than two kilograms (more than four pounds) and is placed on the monarch's head at the actual moment of crowning.

A lighter crown is worn when leaving the abbey. Composed of 2,868 diamonds, it was made in 1937 for the coronation of George VI and is also worn by the monarch at the annual opening of parliament.

Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the former Duchess of York (R), the King George VI, and their daughters Princess Elizabeth (C) and Princess Margaret pose on May 12, 1937. Photo: AFP
Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the former Duchess of York (R), the King George VI, and their daughters Princess Elizabeth (C) and Princess Margaret pose on May 12, 1937. Photo: AFP

Camilla is entitled to wear The Queen Mother's Crown, made especially for the 1937 coronation. But it contains the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is claimed by several countries including India.

In 1953, 8,251 guests from 181 countries and territories participated in the coronation of Elizabeth II, on specially erected seating.

Among them were many representatives of foreign monarchies but no European sovereigns, respecting a royal tradition.

After the ceremony, a long procession takes place in the streets of London.

Although Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace are less than a mile (1.6 kilometres) apart, the procession route stretched 7.2 kilometres in 1953 to allow as many people as possible to attend.

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