The planning and scheduling for King Charles III’s coronation is over as the day of his crowing has finally arrived. On this historic day, King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort will be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a centuries-old ceremony featuring a display of military procession, religious service and pageantry. The main elements of the ceremony will be the oath, the anointing, the investiture and crowning, the enthronement and homage; and the Queen Consort’s coronation with more than 2,000 people watching at Westminster Abbey.
Coronation celebrations of the 40th reigning monarch since 1066 will convene on Saturday at 6am as routes will open for the procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey with public viewing areas also fully set up. The doors of Westminster Abbey will open at 7:30am to welcome more than 2,200 signatories from 203 countries. 1,000 military personnel and a 160-man guard of honor will start lining up on the route for the first procession to begin. King Charles and Camilla Queen Consort will be escorted by the cavalry division starting from 9:20am onwards and the procession will begin moving along the Mall to Trafalgar Square on its way to the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey. Apart from military personnel, the procession will involve people of different faiths and representatives from Commonwealth countries carrying their national flags and accompanied by their state leaders. It will also include the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The coronation ceremony is then said to take a modern turn with the arrival of King Charles and Camilla Queen Consort in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach at 11am. The formal ceremony will then convene with the King’s choice of music made up of 12 newly commissioned pieces. After the King’s procession arrives, the bells of the Abbey will be rung, paving the way for the first stage of the main ceremony to begin. King Charles will be presented to ‘the people’, a tradition dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, as he walks from the abbey to the theatre of coronation. Standing beside the 700-year-old Coronation Chair, the King will turn to face the four sides of the abbey.
The first declaration will the made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in front of King Charles who will be standing silent in prayer with his head bowed. For the first time, the subsequent declarations will be made by the Lady of the Garter and the Lady of the Thistle – representing the oldest orders of chivalry in England and Scotland respectively – and a George Cross holder from the armed forces. “I here present unto you King Charles, your undoubted King. The congregation and choir will reply “God save King Charles’’ and trumpets will sound after each recognition.
Stage two of the coronation, the Oath taking ceremony, will commence with the archbishop administering the Coronation Oath consisting of the King placing his hand on the Holy Gospel and pledging to “perform and keep” those promises. The King will also take a second oath, the Accession Declaration Oath, stating that he is a “faithful Protestant”. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will read The Epistle, with Dame Sarah Mullally, the dean of the Chapels Royal, following with a passage from the Gospel. The Archbishop of Canterbury now takes center stage with the keynote sermon.
Stage three of the ceremony will be King Charles sitting on the Coronation Chair also known as St Edward’s Chair, which is the UK’s oldest piece of furniture still used for its original purpose. The action emphasizes King Charles’s position as head of the Church of England. The archbishop will then anoint the King with holy oil in the form of a cross on his head, chest and hands, a ceremony which takes place in private, behind a 2.6m screen.
The King will then be putting on the Coronation robe which was previously used in Coronations of King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. During stage four of the ceremony, the King will be crowned with St Edward’s Crown, a moment the King has been destined for since he became heir at age three. Stage five will see the King take the throne and Prince William will be the only Royal Duke to be kneeling and paying homage to King Charles.
Moving to the Camilla Queen Consort’s coronation, she will be anointed, crowned and enthroned in a simpler ceremony – although she will not have to take an oath. She will be crowned with Queen Mary’s Crown.
On their way outside, a change of costumes will take place for the royals and they will put on their robe of the estate behind the altar in the Chapel of St Edward. The King will be seen donning the dazzling imperial state crown. The outward procession will feature various faith leaders from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim communities greeting the King and Queen Consort —an ode to Britain’s diversity. The King will acknowledge their greeting before taking the gold state coach to Buckingham Palace, where the much-anticipated balcony moment will later take place at around 12:45pm with other members of the royal family.