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What to expect at King Charles III's coronation

By Agence France-Presse Published May 03, 2023 3:42 pm

King Charles III and his wife Queen Consort Camilla will be crowned on May 6, Saturday.

Charles, 74, took over as sovereign in September 2022 following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

His ceremony is also expected to be less extravagant compared to the queen's coronation in 1953. This is in solidarity with many citizens in the United Kingdom who are experiencing the current economic or cost of living crisis. It will also last for an hour, vis-à-vis the late queen's three-hour coronation.

Here's what to expect from Charles's crowning ceremony.

The King's Procession

The day begins with the "King's Procession," a two-kilometer (1.3-mile) 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 a.m. (6 p.m. Philippine time; 1000 GMT).

Ceremony and guests

Charles will be crowned at 12 p.m. (7 p.m. Philippine time; 1100 GMT) and the service, led by the highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, ends at 1 p.m. (8 p.m. Philippine time; 1200 GMT).

Some 2,000 people, from foreign leaders and royalty to elected officials and civil society representatives, will be inside the abbey. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos are among Charles's guests.

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, Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 swore to rule according to law, exercise justice with mercy, and maintain the Church of England.

Queen Elizabeth II (leftmost) during her coronation in 1953.

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.

St. Edward's Chair

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.

St. Edward's Crown

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 Greys, at walking pace.

The Gold State Coach

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 at about 2:15 p.m. (9:15 p.m. Philippine time; 1315 GMT) 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 May 7, Sunday, neighborhood street parties—"The Big Coronation Lunch"—will be held across the UK.

At 8 p.m. (May 8, Monday, 3 a.m. Philippine time; 2000 GMT), 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.

May 8 has been declared a public holiday in the UK. The royal family has called on Britons to do voluntary work in their communities. (Marie Heuclin/AFP)

(Editor's Note: Minor changes were made in this article.)