The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla: Plan Your Weekend
Coronation Logo (Credit: urbanbuzz / Alamy Stock Vector)
6 min read
This weekend will see the first coronation in Britain for 70 years: that of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Whether you are watching from the sofa, celebrating in the streets or lucky enough to attend, read our timeline of events to ensure you do not miss a thing
Saturday 6 May
Shortly before 11am –
The King’s Procession
The King and Queen Consort will travel to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which is designed to be pulled by six horses. The coach, built in 2010 and first used for the State Opening of Parliament in 2014, is fitted with padded seats, shock absorbers and air conditioning.
Timber segments from the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Henry VIII’s flagship The Mary Rose are inlaid into the interior lining of the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, as well as an original counterweight from Big Ben and part of a musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo.
The King’s Procession will travel down The Mall via Admiralty Arch, take the south side of Trafalgar Square, then go along Whitehall and Parliament Street. It will then take the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary, before arriving at the Abbey.
11am – The Coronation Ceremony
After entering Westminster Abbey, King Charles will take his oath, which is prescribed in the 1689 Coronation Oath Act. In it, he will swear to uphold the law and the Church of England. While the oath pertains solely to the Church of England, it is expected that King Charles will recognise all faiths in an addition made to the oath.
The new monarch will then be anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby with holy oil, in what is thought to be the most sacred part of the ceremony. The Archbishop will pour holy oil from the Ampulla – a small vessel – into the Coronation Spoon, and will anoint the King’s hands, head and breast. The King will be seated in King Edward’s Chair, which dates back to 1300, and has been used by every monarch since 1626.
The King will then be crowned with St Edward’s Crown. The 17th century crown is made of solid gold, with encrustations of rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnets, topaz and tourmalines. Despite being made lighter by George V in 1911, St Edward’s crown still weighs a hefty 2.23 kilograms.
The Queen Consort will be crowned alongside her husband with the crown of Queen Mary. In normal circumstances, a new crown would be made, but Buckingham Palace has said Queen Mary’s crown will be used “in the interests of sustainability and efficiency”. Following the coronation, Camilla will drop the title of Queen Consort to become Queen Camilla.
King Charles will then receive the Sovereign’s Orb, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove. The coronation ring will be placed on the fourth finger of his right hand, and he will put on the Royal Robe. This marks the monarch’s investiture – the first time the new monarch is dressed in their royal regalia.
The newly anointed King will change crowns to The Imperial State Crown upon leaving Westminster Abbey.
It is unconfirmed exactly how long the ceremony will take, but the late Queen Elizabeth II’s lasted for three hours.
2pm – The Coronation Procession
On leaving Westminster Abbey, the King and Queen will step into the Gold State Coach, which was last used at the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant in 2022. Gone are the comforts of the Diamond Jubilee State Coach – instead, the couple will be carried along by the 261-year-old horse carriage with only leather straps for suspension. Queen Elizabeth infamously described the carriage as “horrible” and “not very comfortable” when she rode in it to and from her own coronation.
The King and Queen will be joined by members of the Royal Family for the procession, which will travel 1.3 miles, mirroring the route the couple took on the way to Westminster Abbey.
On reaching Buckingham Palace, the newly crowned King and Queen will gather on the balcony. According to The Mirror, the King has chosen 15 of “his closest and most loyal family members” to appear on the balcony with him.
Sunday 7 May
The Coronation Concert and Coronation Big Lunch
A special Coronation Concert will take place at Windsor Castle, which will be broadcast by the BBC. Several thousand tickets are available for those lucky enough to win in a public ballot. While popstars Adele and Harry Styles turned down the chance to sing for royalty, the Daily Mail reported that Take That “jumped at the chance” to headline the concert.
A specially formed Coronation Choir will perform alongside the headline acts. Members of community singing groups – such as refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf singing groups – will come together to sing in the choir, with the story of how it came together being made into a documentary. The Coronation Choir will appear alongside The Virtual Choir, made up of singers from across the Commonwealth, for a special performance on the night.
A “Lighting Up the Nation” celebration will see iconic British landmarks festooned with illuminations, projections and lasers.
On the same day, revellers are encouraged to join in at their local Coronation Big Lunch, which is organised by the Big Lunch Team at the Eden Project. The Big Lunch project is funded by the National Lottery and is patroned by the Queen Consort. The Coronation Big Lunch will see neighbours and communities coming together to celebrate their majesties – with substantial meals of scotch eggs, sausage rolls and coronation themed fairy cakes, perhaps.
Monday 8 May
The Big Help Out
The Big Help Out will draw attention to the positive impact volunteering makes on communities across the country. The event is being 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 United Kingdom.
Organisations will join together to promote opportunities for people to help out in their communities. In tribute to the King’s dedication to helping others, locals will be able to give their time to charities, helping to raise the profile of volunteering in the process.
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