Either you’ve been living under a rock, or you know that King Charles will be the first British monarch crowned since 1953. This historic occasion will be filled with pomp and circumstance, but what should you know, and how can you experience it? Find out all about King Charles’ coronation below, including how to get there.
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All About the Coronation of King Charles III
It’s safe to assume that the majority of us were not alive or aware enough to see the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II. We’ve seen famous weddings and state funerals and royal babies born, but a coronation? Not yet! King Charles has waited most of his life to become king officially, and this is the year he will finally be crowned.
If you’re hoping to see the coronation in person, or planning to be in London at the same time, then you’re in the right place. We have all the details you need to know about when the coronation is, where it is, how to get there, and what will happen.
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When Is the Coronation?
The entire weekend is considered Coronation Weekend, with numerous events happening. Officially, the coronation will take place on May 6, 2023. An official bank holiday has also been declared for Monday, May 8th.
Technically, King Charles ascended to the throne the same day that his mother died, which was September 8, 2022. And though he has assumed many of the royal duties, there is still the official ceremony that must take place. Tradition is key for Britain.
Coverage of the coronation will begin at 7.30 am local time, with the ceremony due to take place at 11 am.
Where Will King Charles III Be Crowned?
King Charles will be crowned at Westminster Abbey. This is the traditional location for a British coronation since the occasion is considered a “solemn religious service.”
In fact, that religious aspect is made clear by two things: the coronation is conducted by the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the new monarch becomes the head of the Church of England. So it only makes sense to do it inside a revered abbey.
How To See the Coronation
If you have been invited, you are unlikely to be looking for information here. So let us assume you won’t be donning your best formal wear and heading to Westminster Abbey on May 6th. Fortunately, the coronation ceremony will be televised by the BBC and syndicated to numerous stations worldwide. You might take that for granted, but televising Queen Elizabeth’s coronation nearly caused a rift between sacred tradition and public perception. Today, it’s a given, which makes it convenient for those of us living across the world.
Where to Go
Your prime viewing spots will be along the Mall or in St. James Park. These areas are the recognizable parade routes leading to Buckingham Palace. The park is where massive video screens were set up for the Queen’s Jubilee, so it’s safe to assume this will happen again.
Avoid being around Westminster if possible. It’s likely that the roads will be blocked off completely since it’s a narrow area around Parliament Square.
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How to Get To the Coronation
You can expect crowds of people on the Underground subway and the roads around this area of London. If you’re determined to join in the throngs, then we recommend booking your flights or train tickets asap.
If you’re in Paris, a day trip to London is totally possible. Nevertheless, you’ll have to grab those train tickets now if they’re not already sold out. You can also fly in from most major European cities on a short flight using a budget airline.
There are numerous Tube stops (subway) you can use. The closest are Westminster (not recommended), St. James Park, Green Park, and Hyde Park Corner. Further away are Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Knightsbridge, Charing Cross, and Embankment.
Other Coronation Events
Coronation Weekend extends for three days: May 6–8, 2023. There’s going to be plenty to do, either officially or unofficially, as the city celebrates this event.
Windsor Castle has its own role to play next to its more well-known sister, Buckingham Palace. The BBC and palace have planned a Coronation Concert on May 7th. A special Coronation Choir and Orchestra and stars like Lionel Richie are due to perform.
The good news is that this event is open to the public. The bad news is that the tickets available by the public ballot are already gone.
Pro Tip: Tickets were free, so be wary of anyone selling Coronation Concert tickets!
The Big Help Out
If you know much about King Charles—aside from his scandals—you’ll know that he has always prioritized various charities. So it’s fitting that the third day is meant to focus on charities and volunteering.
The idea is to encourage people to find ways to donate their time to helping people in their own communities. Perhaps there is a soup kitchen that needs help or a food bank in need of supplies. Whatever it is, you can participate in the Coronation Weekend wherever you are by setting aside some time to volunteer in your neighborhood.
Interesting Things to Know About the Coronation
Unless you’re a native Brit, you might not know about some of the important traditions and historical significance of what’s happening this year. We’ll try to clarify a few things for you.
King Charles III
As mentioned, the coronation is considered sacred since the King or Queen becomes head of the Church of England. King Charles III became the head of the church when he ascended to the throne, though the duties and operations are still left to the clergy.
During the ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint King Charles before crowning him with St. Edward’s Crown, the orb, and scepter. He will officially be known as King Charles III with the initials of CIIIR (Charles The Third Rex). Those initials will replace Queen Elizabeth’s initials (EIIR) that you have seen on the uniforms of the Beefeaters, for instance.
In early April, the Royal family issued their official invites to the Coronation. A historical moment itself, but what proved interesting to many royal scholars was the dropping of the title ‘Consort’ from Queen Camilla’s title. “Like everyone else, I was surprised to see Camilla announced as Queen Camilla, as opposed to Queen Consort Camilla, which Queen Elizabeth had indicated, was how she expected Camilla to be addressed once she became the monarch,” says Nicoletta Gullace, associate professor of British history at the University of New Hampshire. It seems a small point and is largely symbolic, but it should be remembered the monarchy itself is largely symbolic.
King Charles and Queen Camilla will arrive at the coronation in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Built in 2014, it is a far more comfortable ride than the Gold State Coach that has been used in every coronation since 1830 and will be used to take the back to Buckingham Palace.
The Diamond Jubilee coach is made of aluminum and incorporates pieces of wood from historic ships like HMS Victory and Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose. It includes everything they could need for a pleasant ride, including suspension, electric windows, and air conditioning.
The Gold State Coach, on the other hand, was described by Queen Elizabeth as “horrible and very comfortable.” In fact, even Willaim IV, crowned in 1831, complained it was like being on a ship “in a rough sea.”
After the coronation ceremony at Westminster, the new king will travel to Buckingham Palace by way of the Mall. This is called the Coronation Procession and will include numerous members of the Royal Family.
Finally, you’ll get a chance to see King Charles and the family stand on the iconic balcony at Buckingham Palace.
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