On 6 May 2023, King Charles III, together with Camilla, the Queen Consort, is scheduled to be crowned at Westminster Abbey in London. The ceremony, which will take place at 11 a.m., will formalise the monarch’s role as head of the Church of England and mark the transfer of title and powers. The code name for the operation is ‘Operation Golden Orb’. It is a symbolic religious ceremony during which a crown will be placed on the monarch’s head. However, it is not strictly necessary for the monarch to be crowned in order to become king, as demonstrated by the reign of Edward VIII without coronation and the fact that Charles automatically became king upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
WHO WILL ATTEND
The coronation is a state event, the guest list of which is controlled by the government. In addition to the royal family, guests include the prime minister, representatives of the Houses of Parliament, heads of state and royals from all over the world. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, has confirmed his attendance at the coronation, but his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will not attend. This will be the first time Prince Harry will be seen in public with the royal family since the publication of his controversial memoir ‘Spare’ in January. The coronation date coincides with the fourth birthday of the couple’s son, Prince Archie, who will remain in the US with his mother. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, will not attend the event as she was not invited. The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who was married to the Duchess until their divorce in 1996, is expected to attend. However, only the reigning royals will appear on the balcony next to the King in front of the crowd on the Mall, thus excluding Prince Harry and Prince Andrew from the line-up. Camilla’s grandchildren will be among the pageboys at Westminster Abbey, alongside the King’s grandson Prince George. Present of course will be the king’s eldest son William with his wife Kate, Princess of Wales, along with their children Charlotte and Louis. US President Joe Biden will not attend the event, but First Lady Jill Biden will go in his place.
Charles III and Camilla are breaking with a centuries-old tradition during the coronation procession. They will use a modern carriage with electric windows and air conditioning, called the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, built for Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. However, for the return to Buckingham Palace, they will use the Gold State Coach, a much heavier and more uncomfortable vehicle used for every coronation since 1831.
The coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the only one remaining in Europe, has maintained its form for more than 1,000 years. However, Charles III’s ceremony will be shorter and smaller in scale than Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953. The ceremony includes several stages, such as the recognition, in which the monarch is presented to the congregation, the oath to reign according to the law, the anointing with a holy oil made according to a secret recipe, the investiture with symbolic objects such as the Sceptre and the crown of St Edward, the enthronement and the homage of the royals to the new king.
Camilla will also be crowned as queen consort in a similar, but simpler ceremony.
During the coronation ceremony, the king will be adorned with St Edward’s 17th century solid gold crown, which is exceptionally heavy and is only used for this purpose. St Edward’s crown will be placed briefly on the king’s head, accompanied by the sounding of trumpets and gunfire throughout the UK. After the ceremony, on his way out of Westminster Abbey, Charles will wear The Imperial State Crown, a more comfortable crown made in 1937, which was previously used by his mother at the opening of Parliament.
Camilla, on the other hand, will be crowned with the Queen Mary’s Crown, which was specially modified for the ceremony in honour of Elizabeth II. The crown features stones from the late Queen’s personal collection, and was brought out of the Tower of London especially for the occasion.
THE OFFICIAL DISH
The official dish of the celebration, announced by Royal Chef Mark Flanagan, is Coronation Quiche. The recipe was shared on the royal family’s social media and consists of spinach, broad beans and fresh tarragon. The quiche is described as ‘a deep quiche with crispy, light pastry and delicate flavours’ and is ideal to be eaten hot or cold, accompanied by a green salad and boiled new potatoes.
The Coronation Quiche joins the list of royal dishes, which includes the Coronation Chicken created in 1953 especially for the occasion by Queen Elizabeth II, and her Platinum Jubilee Pudding, a lemon and almond English soup.
WHAT WILL BE PLAYED
The sovereign has personally selected the music for the ceremony, which includes twelve newly commissioned pieces, including an anthem by the famous composer of Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Part of the ceremony will be sung in Welsh and soloists will include the renowned Welsh opera singer Sir Bryn Terfel. In memory of the King’s father, Prince Philip, who was born in Greece, Greek Orthodox music will also be featured. The ceremony will feature a gospel choir as well as choristers from Westminster School. In addition, a campaign has been launched to recruit thousands of bell ringers who will ring to celebrate the coronation, as part of the ‘Ring for the King’ programme.
On 8 May, Monday, an extra public holiday will be observed across the UK. Buckingham Palace has announced a series of events for the weekend, including a concert at Windsor Castle on 7 May with performances by Katy Perry, Take That and Lionel Richie. In England and Wales, pubs, clubs and bars will be allowed to stay open for an additional two hours on the Friday and Saturday of the coronation. People are also invited to organise street parties and participate in volunteer projects in their local community as part of the Big Help Out initiative.