Code-named Operation Golden Orb, the coronation of King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will take place on Saturday 6 May at Westminster Abby London. Preparations are in full-swing for an historic event that many people will only witness once in their lifetimes, and excitement is running high!
Shortly after Charles III’s accession to the throne, three days after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the new king made a public pledge to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms that he would serve “with loyalty, respect and love”. The coronation is the first step in that promise…
The coronation will see Charles III crowned King of the United Kingdom, head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith, formalising his role as the head of the Church of England. A symbolic religious ceremony, as well as an occasion of rare historic magnitude, the coronation will be steeped in ancient rites and spectacle that date back more than a millennium.
Rooted in history – looking to the future
British coronations have remained virtually unchanged for more than 1,000 years and take place at Westminster Abby, where every British monarch has been crowned since 1066 AD. We can expect Charles III’s coronation to be rooted in tradition, but Buckingham Palace has stated that it will also "reflect the monarch's role today and look towards the future".
Significantly, 2023 not only marks the year King Charles’ coronation, but also the 70th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - a meaningful and touching convergence. Infused with layers of symbolism and detail, the coronation will contain the same vital elements of ‘the recognition’ that Queen Elizabeth II witnessed 7 decades ago, but this time will be accompanied by trumpets and calls of “God save the King!”. The oath to the Church of England, the anointing and investiture, during which the monarch is presented with objects representing their power and responsibilities, and the enthronement, will all remain crucial parts of the coronation.
Charles III will be physically crowned with St Edward’s Crown, the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, made for the coronation of Charles II, and last utilised for the crowning of Elizabeth II in 1953. The Supertunica (the Robe Royal) and Coronation Ring will also feature, as will the Sovereign’s Sceptre, and the Sovereign’s Orb (the cross surmounting the orb signifying the monarch’s power ordained by God) . Camilla, as Queen Consort will also be anointed and crowned.
Here's what we know so far…
- Buckingham Palace has released an official Coronation logo, a beautiful design by Jonny Ive celebrating the nations of the UK with their official flowers - including a rose, thistle, daffodil and a shamrock. Expect to see this image everywhere from now until May 6 (and beyond), as all coronation events and official products are to be issued under this image.
- The coronation will likely be shorter than Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation with a wider range of religions represented as a nod to the modern United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The coronation procession will also be more modest than Queen Elizabeth’s 7km route that boasted 16,000 participants!
- The ceremony will feature new music, specially commissioned, by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, the man responsible for legendary musicals like ‘Cats’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’.
- Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be crowned with Queen Mary's Crown, which has been taken out of the Tower of London to be resized ahead of the ceremony. It is thought to be the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be "recycled" for a coronation.
- The holy oil that will be used to anoint King Charles at his coronation has already been consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, and the Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem, Hosam Naoum at a ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The oil is based on that used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953, with a formula that dates back hundreds of years.
- Australia will be represented by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who has announced he is planning to attend the coronation.
Who will feature?
There are still many unknown details about the coronation, with the public guessing at which members of the royal family will appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside the newly crowned king. All indications suggest a small royal party in adherence to Charles III’s aim of ‘slimmed down’ modern monarchy.
Will they, or won’t they? It is also unknown whether the embattled Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meaghan, will be in attendance, although it has now been confirmed that they have indeed been invited. Also, now that Charles III is king all his grandchildren can be styled as prince, or princess. In the leadup to the coronation the royal family's official website had been updated with new titles, listing Harry and Meghan's children as Prince Archie of Sussex and Princess Lilibet of Sussex.
The King and Queen Consort’s grandchildren will have a role to play in the coronation. Camilla’s five grandchildren will help attend to her on the day, and a role for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in the works.
Celebrations & commemorations!
Various events to celebrate the coronation weekend have been planned across the UK and Commonwealth, including a concert and laser light show at Windsor Castle on
Sunday 7 May. Royal fans will hold coronation viewing parties to mark the event – a wildly popular tradition that we can expect to see being upheld across Australia.
The Coronation Big Lunch is also being supported by Buckingham Palace, encouraging communities to come together with neighbours and share in food and fun together to celebrate the occasion. Camilla, Queen Consort, has been a patron of The Big Lunch since 2013.
Many royal fans and collectors will also be marking the coronation with their very own piece of history! Acquiring a coronation commemorative, or coin, is a golden opportunity not to be missed – with many of these becoming family heirlooms treasured for generations. Make sure to browse Downies Collectable’s spectacular range of coronation collectables, available in a wide range of precious metals and spectacular designs!