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King Charles III's coronation - when is it, who's attending and more

Every question on the monarch's Saturday coronation answered

Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
Updated: 6 May 2023
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King Charles III's coronation will take place this weekend at Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace has confirmed many details about the celebrations taking place over three days, including a special concert and the Big Lunch.

The big day on 6 May is almost upon us so here's everything you need to know about the historic occasion.

When is King Charles' coronation taking place?

King Charles III's coronation is taking place on 6 May 2023, at 11am BST. The decision to hold the coronation on this date has led to the creation of a special coronation bank holiday weekend in the UK for people to celebrate, which runs from the 6 to 8 May.

The interior of Westminster Abbey prior to King Charles III's coronation
The interior of Westminster Abbey prior to King Charles III's coronation

 The monarch's coronation is a break from tradition as it is the first coronation to take place on a Saturday in over 100 years. The service is expected to be "a solemn religious" event as well as one of "celebration and pageantry". It is also expected to be a "reflection" of the monarch's role in today's society while being "rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry".

What will happen at King Charles III's coronation?

The coronation will begin with the King's Procession, where Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will arrive at Westminster Abbey after travelling from Buckingham Palace. King Charles' coronation will involve six basic stages: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture, the enthronement, and the homage. At the heart of the coronation is the anointing with holy oil.

SHOPPING: HELLO! launches coronation pop-up shop to celebrate King Charles III 

During the key event, the King will remove his crimson robe and sit in King Edward's chair, which was made in 1300 and has been used by every monarch since 1626, under a canopy of silk or cloth of gold held by four Knights of the Garter.

The Queens coronation 1953© Photo: Getty Images
The Queen's coronation in 1953

The archbishop will then use the golden eagle-shaped ampulla – which pours the oil from its beak – and the 12th-century silver-gilt anointing spoon which is the most ancient treasure of the Crown Jewels, to anoint the King in the form of a cross. Traditionally the choir sings the anthem Zadok The Priest as the anointing is carried out.

MORE: How King Charles' coronation music will pay special tribute to Prince Philip

Following the service, the newly-crowned pair will return to Buckingham Palace in the Coronation Procession, where they will be joined by other members of the royal family. 

prince george charlotte louis© Getty
George, Charlotte and Louis will be part of the coronation procession

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will join the grand carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace after witnessing their grandfather being crowned.

The Princess Royal will ride on horseback behind Charles and Camilla as Gold Stick in Waiting and Colonel of the Blues and Royals, to the rear of the Gold State Coach.

In the first carriage behind the Gold State Coach will be the Prince and Princess of Wales with nine-year-old George, Charlotte, eight, and five-year-old Louis.

Edward, Sophie, Lady Louise and James on Easter Sunday 2022© Getty
The Edinburghs will also be part of the procession

The next carriage will contain the King’s youngest brother the Duke of Edinburgh with his wife the Duchess of Edinburgh and their children Lady Louise Windsor and the Earl of Wessex.

The late Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester and his wife the Duchess of Gloucester, and Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will travel in the third carriage,

Following by car are the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, also cousins of Elizabeth II, and completing the procession of royals.

Prince Harry waves© Getty
Prince Harry has flown to the UK to attend his father's coronation

The Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York do not have a formal role at the service, the palace confirmed. 

Upon arrival at the palace, the King and Queen will also receive a royal salute in the Buckingham Palace gardens from the military troops on parade.

They will take the salute from the West Terrace after the ceremony and the servicemen and women will give three cheers – a special coronation tribute from the Armed Forces to the couple.

This will be followed by a balcony moment when the couple will be joined by other members of the royal family to watch a flypast at around 2.15pm.

Who will conduct King Charles' coronation?

The coronation of King Charles III will be an Anglican service, carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Justin Welby

Justin Welby has served as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury since 2013. He was ordained in 1992 and later served as a Canon of Coventry Cathedral in 2002. Beyond this, he was Dean of Liverpool from 2007 to 2011 and Bishop of Durham from 2011 to 2012. Justin studied at Eton College and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned a master’s degree in history and law. He later studied at St. John's College, Durham, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a diploma in theology. The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct an Anglican service at the King's coronation. The service will be steeped in tradition and will include six basic stages: The recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture, the enthronement, and the homage.

Why will the coronation take place at Westminster Abbey?

London's Westminster Abbey has played host to royal coronations for the past 900 years. Westminster Abbey has been Britain's coronation church since 1066 and has witnessed 38 coronation ceremonies for reigning monarchs. The first documented coronation at Westminster was that of William the Conqueror on 25th December 1066.

READ: How King Charles is practising for his coronation at Buckingham Palace 

Westminster Abbey© Photo: Getty Images
Westminster Abbey has been Britain's coronation church since 1066

By 1953, millions around the world were able to tune into Queen Elizabeth II's spectacular coronation on 2 June.

The church features the Coronation Chair which was originally built for King Edward I between 1297 and 1300. Due to its historic importance, it is one of the most valuable artefacts to have survived the Middle Ages.

WATCH: Discover King Charles' coronation chair's 700 years of secrets

Why was 6 May chosen as the King's coronation date?

There will be some speculation with regard to the significance of Charles' coronation date. Many royal fans will be drawing attention to the fact that 6 May is also Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's fourth birthday. The date was chosen in consultation with the government, the Church of England and the Royal Household.

Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie© Photo: Getty Images
Archie was born on 6 May 2019

Imbued with significance, 6 May also happens to be the wedding anniversary of the late Queen's sister Princess Margaret. And to top it all off, the King's grandfather George VI held his coronation on 12 May 1937, just six days after Charles' set date.

Who will be attending the King's coronation?

King Charles III's coronation is expected to be a scaled-back affair with significantly reduced guest numbers. More than 2,300 people will be among the congregation at Westminster Abbey on the day. 

Guests will include members of the royal family, foreign royals, heads of state, overseas government representatives, Government ministers, first ministers and former prime ministers. For a full list of who is attending, view the confirmed coronation guest list.

Royal family on Buckingham Palace balcony© Photo: Getty Images
Members of the royal family will reunite in Westminster Abbey

Key members of the royal family will reunite for the special occasion, with the likes of Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and The Prince and Princess of Wales are all expected to attend the religious ceremony. We also now know that Prince Harry will be there, although Meghan and their children will remain in the US.

SEE: King Charles's coronation: Big surprise as royal guests are finally confirmed 

Meanwhile many other royal guests and non-royal guests have confirmed their attendance.

How will King Charles' coronation differ from Queen Elizabeth II's coronation?

Unlike bygone coronations which were were far longer, Charles's coronation will last for two hours.

READ: How King Charles' coronation breaks from tradition from the Queen's 

Prince Charles and Camilla© Photo: Getty Images
Charles' coronation will 'look towards the future'

In an effort to conform to the modern era, it is expected to be more inclusive of multi-faith Britain than past coronations.

Take a look at the military rehearsing for the coronation through the streets of London... 

WATCH: Early morning Coronation rehearsal featuring state coaches staged in London

Which crowns will be worn at King Charles III's coronation?

King Charles III will wear St Edward's Crown at the end of the coronation ceremony.

SEE: King Charles's coronation crown jewels - your guide to all of the historic regalia 

The crown was made in 1661 and once belonged to Edward the Confessor. It is remarkably heavy and is made of solid gold. It currently resides in the Crown Jewels collection at the Tower of London.

St Edwards Crown© Photo: Getty Images
St Edward's Crown is the most sacred of all crowns

However, Charles will also wear the Imperial State Crown during the historic service.

As for Queen Consort Camilla, it has been revealed that she will be wearing Queen Mary's crown. The eye-catching crown was designed for the coronation of June 1911. The Daily Telegraph described it saying "It has no jewels but diamonds, and the diamonds cluster together as if they had no support but their own light."

What will be the route of the coronation procession?

Thousands of spectators are set to line the streets to view the pomp and ceremony next month, with Charles's coronation procession stretching to just 1.3 miles – around a quarter of the length of the late Queen's five-mile celebratory journey.

A newly crowned Charles and Queen Consort will make their way back from Westminster Abbey via the tried and tested route of Parliament Square, along Whitehall, around Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and down The Mall back to Buckingham Palace. 

How to watch the flypast

More than 60 aircraft will soar over London in a flypast to mark the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla. Jets from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force – including the Red Arrows – are scheduled to fly over Buckingham Palace at around 2.15pm on Saturday. But many people outside London will be able to see them as they fly to and from the capital.

The exact routes of the aircraft are not being published in advance for security reasons. But airspace restrictions relating to the flypast have been announced, revealing the areas being flown over. The restrictions have been split into eight zones, each with a specific time slot to prevent the aircraft being disrupted by other pilots. Take a look below (all times are in BST): 

  • Area A between 1.15pm and 3pm: The Lincolnshire coast including Skegness and the Norfolk coast including Cromer and Great Yarmouth.
  • Area B between 1.45pm and 3pm: Thetford, Norfolk and Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
  • Area C between 2pm and 3pm: Ipswich, Suffolk.Area D between 2pm and 2.45pm: Colchester and Chelmsford, Essex.
  • Area E between 2.10pm and 2.45pm: London
  • Area F between 2.20pm and 3pm: Croydon, south-east London, and Epsom, Surrey.
  • Area G between 2.20pm and 3pm: Farnborough, Hampshire; Reading, Berkshire; Swindon, Wiltshire; and Oxford, Oxfordshire.
  • Area H between 2.20pm and 3pm: East Gloucestershire and west Oxfordshire.
  • Area I between 2.20pm and 3pm: Marlborough and Tidworth, Wiltshire.

What will happen at Sunday 7 May's coronation concert?

Sunday 7 May's coronation concert will feature a celebratory musical event similar to the Party at the Palace of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, but this time outside Windsor Castle. The star-studded line-up will include performances from Take That, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. 

DISCOVER: What time is the King's coronation concert, who is playing and how to watch? 

The concert will also include an orchestra and dancers as well as The Coronation Choir, which will be made up of members of community choirs from across the nation, including refugees, deaf people, NHS staff and the LGBTQ+ community.

Royals at Platinum Jubilee concert 2022© Photo: Getty Images
The royals at the Platinum Jubilee concert in 2022

What will happen at the Big Lunch on Sunday 7 May?

Meanwhile, people are invited to gather for a "coronation big lunch" on Sunday, overseen and organised by the Big Lunch team at the Eden Project.

The Queen Consort has been patron of the Big Lunch since 2013. The palace said thousands of events are expected to take place in streets, gardens and parks in every corner of the UK.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh attends the 2023 Commonwealth Day Servic© Getty
Edward and Sophie will take part in the Big Lunch

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will be among the royals getting involved in the festivities taking place across the nation, with thousands of people expected to come together for street parties on Sunday. Edward and Sophie will attend a big lunch in Cranleigh.

Meanwhile, the Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, will attend a community street party in Swindon, while the King's nieces, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie will attend a big lunch in Windsor.

The King and Queen are to leave the Big Help Out volunteering and Big Lunch celebrations over the coronation weekend to the rest of the royal family, Buckingham Palace has said.

What will happen on Monday 8 May?

Monday, which will be a bank holiday, has been set aside for volunteering and is being billed as "the big help out".

Organised by The Together Coalition and a wide range of partners such as The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and faith groups from across the UK, the big help out aims to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities.

A palace spokesperson said: "In tribute to the King's public service, it will encourage people to try volunteering, and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas.

"The aim of Big Help Out is to create a lasting volunteering legacy from the coronation weekend."

The palace confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will take part in a puppy class at the Guide Dogs training centre in Reading, while the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will attend a civic service recognising local volunteers at Gloucester Cathedral. The service will be followed by a short reception for invited volunteers and representatives of voluntary organisations from across Gloucestershire.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will meet young volunteers from the Coptic Orthodox Church at a coronation party at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Kensington.

What will the weather be like over the coronation weekend?

According to the Met Office, we're in for a mixed bag with showers and sunny spells currently forecast for Saturday. 

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Matthew Lehnert said: "An area of rain is expected to move into southwest England early on Saturday, moving northeast through the day with some heavy bursts at times. This is likely to bring some rain to London from mid-morning. Further north in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland it will be a day of sunshine and showers before the more persistent rain moves northwards overnight. Under the cloud and rain, temperatures will be subdued with 16 °C in London, whilst 20 °C is likely in sunnier northwest Scotland."

If you're heading to a street party or a Big Lunch on Sunday, the day will start off dry and bright in many western areas, but cloudier with some rain and drizzle in the east. Western and central parts of the UK are expected to have a mainly fine, warm and dry day with sunny spells, which will eventually spread to all areas.  

The forecast for eastern areas on Monday looks drier, but "quite cloudy or murky". The Met Office says that  heavy rain and showers in the west will sweep eastwards throughout the day bringing rain eventually to most places. 

LISTEN:  Want to hear more about the royal family? Check out the best of 'A Right Royal Podcast' 

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