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Here’s Everything to Expect at the Coronation of King Charles III, from Prince George’s Role to the Concert Lineup

While it may not be a once-in-a-lifetime event for some (King Charles III is turning 75 this year, after all), a royal coronation hasn’t taken place in seven decades. So, yes, the crowning of Britain’s new monarch, King Charles III, and his Queen Consort, Camilla, on May 6 of this year is a *huge* deal, and the British are sure to produce all the pomp, pageantry and celebration they can muster for the big event. 

As hosts of the Royally Obsessed podcast, my colleague Rachel Bowie and I have been in coronation overdrive since pretty much the end of the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II in the fall of last year. It is, after all, an ancient ritual over 1,000 years old and steeped in history, the likes of which we just don’t see in our modern era. Over on the podcast, we caught up with BBC royal correspondent Daniela Relph to answer some of our burning questions about this “royal super bowl,” which you can tune into here, but we also wanted to provide a handy online guide you can go back to and reference later (and that we’ll be continuously updating as new information about the coronation emerges). 

So, here’s everything we know so far about the historic event, including how to watch, who will be there and what they’ll be wearing.

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When Is It?

The coronation ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in London (6 a.m. EST) May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey, but the entire weekend is jam-packed with events to celebrate the historic occasion.

What Events Are There?

In addition to a bank holiday for the U.K. on May 8, the Palace announced that Operation Golden Orb, aka the codename for the celebrations, will encompass a long weekend filled with events.

  • Saturday, May 6: Coronation Day
    On the morning of the coronation, Charles and Camilla will travel from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in what’s known as the King’s Procession. The couple will be driven in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, created in 2012 for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. The processions will contain the new royal standards, aka the flags bearing Charles's insignia and banner of arms. After the ceremony, a much larger procession with other members of the royal family, called the Coronation Procession, will take place. The newly crowned King and Queen will travel back from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach, which was commissioned in 1760 and has been used at every coronation since 1831. Here is the procession route. After the Coronation Procession, their majesties will receive a royal salute and three cheers from the armed forces who have been on parade that day. There will also be a balcony appearance by the royal family.
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  • Sunday, May 7: The Big Lunch and the Big Concert
    The Big Lunch will see neighbors and communities hosting street parties and luncheons together across the country the day after the coronation. Later that day, the Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle by the BBC to an audience of 20,000, along with a lights show called “Lighting Up the Nation,” which will see iconic locations across the U.K. lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations. On April 14, the BBC announced that Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli, Take That and other artists will perform at the coronation concert. "The show will be based on themes of love, respect and optimism," the announcement noted. Richie told Extra he's "walking in history" to be asked to perform but can't reveal his setlist early. "I must tell you I can't say a word — it's a royal secret. They told me, ‘Don't reveal.’ But I would tell everybody if I could…"
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  • Monday, May 8: The Big Help Out
    On the official bank holiday for the coronation, the Palace has announced The Big Help Out, which will encourage people to try volunteering and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas. 

How Can I Watch at Home?

Viewers in the U.S. can tune into BBC’s coronation coverage on the BBC and BBC World News, or streaming for free on (no VPN required). The proceedings will also be broadcast on major news networks, like ABC and CNN, as well.

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What Will the Ceremony Be Like?

We know that Charles is keen to be seen as a “defender of faiths”—plural—and his spokespeople say he is focused on a ceremony that is multicultural, diverse and inclusive to reflect a more modern-day Britain (and a nation in an extreme cost of living crisis), as well as his ongoing goal of a “slimmed down monarchy.”

The ceremony will see Charles and Camilla crowned side by side in a “solemn religious service” conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, according to the Palace. The event will reportedly clock in at just over an hour, in contrast to his mother’s ceremony that lasted over three hours. There are six major sections to the ceremony: the recognition, oath, anointing, investiture, crowning and homage (you can read more about each one here).

Buckingham Palace shut down earlier reports that key elements of his mother’s coronation that were thought to be too sacred to be broadcast on live television, like the anointing with holy oil, would be shown to the public for the first time.

The crowning and anointing parts of the ceremony will involve a chair from the 1300s, called the Coronation Chair, and a rock that will be brought from Scotland that sits inside the chair, called the Stone of Scone (pronounced "skoon"). Both the Coronation chair and Stone of Scone have been used in crowning ceremonies for hundreds of years. A Coronation Bible will be presented to the King during the Coronation service, who will then place his hand upon the Bible when he takes the Coronation Oath.

Charles will also pay tribute to his late mother and father in various ways throughout the day. The music for the ceremony was personally selected by the King and will include twelve newly commissioned pieces, including a version of the Coronation Anthem by Andrew Llyod Weber and Greek Orthodox music by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble as a tribute to the late Prince Philip (who was born in Greece).

On April 17, the royal family revealed the 84-page official souvenir coronation program, including a family photo from 2018 that features Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. The program is available for purchase at the Royal Collection Shop for £10 (or about $13).

What Will the Royals Wear?

Charles seems especially open to modernizing in the clothing department. The Palace have announced that peers from the House of Lords will not wear crimson-and-ermine robes and coronets, but rather have the option of parliamentary robes (donned for the state opening of Parliament each year) or “standard business dress.” Charles will also ditch the traditional silk stockings and breeches and perhaps opt for a military uniform, according to The Telegraph. He will enter Westminster Abbey in the Robe of State over his uniform, and then change into four other robes throughout the ceremony.

Queen Camilla tapped Bruce Oldfield, one of her go-to designers, to create her custom coronation gown. She recently wore a Bruce Oldfield gown for her British Vogue cover story, as well as during her and King Charles's state visit to Germany in March.

Guests are probably going to be instructed to wear “day dress,” according to The Telegraph, which consists of dresses, trouser suits, hats, morning suits and business attire, and which may give us a clue as to what other members of the royal family, like Prince William and Kate Middleton, will opt to wear.

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What Crowns Will the King and Queen Wear?

The King will be crowned with St. Edward's Crown, which is made of solid gold and features over 400 gemstones, including rubies, garnets and sapphires. He will leave Westminster Abbey wearing the Imperial State Crown.

Camilla will be crowned with Queen Mary’s Crown, containing 2,200 diamonds, albeit with some changes made. The Palace announced it would be replacing the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond of the crown with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds as a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, as the diamonds were part of the Queen’s personal jewelry collection and worn as brooches. It will also remove four of the crown’s eight detachable arches to create a different look to that of 1911, when it was created and when Queen Mary wore it for the coronation of King George V.

What Do the Invitations Look Like?

While digital Save the Dates went out in March (requesting RSVP by April 3), Buckingham Palace unveiled the design of the hard copy invitations on April 4, but they have yet to be mailed, according to The Telegraph. The invitation was designed by Andrew Jamieson, a heraldic artist, manuscript illuminator and Brother of the Art Workers’ Guild, of which the King is an Honorary Member.

The original artwork for the invitation was hand-painted in watercolor and gouache, and the design will be reproduced and printed on recycled card, with gold foil detailing. The design echoes the florals of the Coronation Emblem, unveiled in February, and features a Green Man, an ancient figure from British folklore, symbolic of spring and rebirth, to celebrate the new reign.

The wildflower meadow bordering the invitation contains lily of the valley, cornflowers, wild strawberries, dog roses, bluebells and a sprig of rosemary "for remembrance," as well as a bee, a butterfly, a ladybird, a wren and a robin. Flowers appear in groupings of three, signifying Charles becoming the third monarch of his name. A lion, a unicorn and a boar taken from the coats of arms of Their Majesties can be seen amongst the flowers. 

The invitation also refers to Camilla as Queen Camilla (no consort), an indication that the royal family will be dropping the use of consort from her title in all official correspondence moving forward. 

Who’s Invited?

Unlike his mother Queen Elixabeth II’s coronation, which included some 8,000 attendees, King Charles III is opting for a smaller guest list. The Palace announced it would be inviting 2,000 people who will form the congregation in the ancient Abbey, including:

  • The British Royal Family: Yes, that includes Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. However, on April 12, a Palace spokesperson confirmed that only Harry would be attending his father’s coronation, while Meghan would stay in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. Considering May 6 is also Archie’s fourth birthday, there’s sure to be plenty of celebrating on both sides of the pond.
  • Royalty from Around the World: So far, we have confirmation from People that Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco will be in attendance, as well as King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, King Carl Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan.
  • The First Lady: While President Biden was officially invited, he RSVP’d “no” and is following previous coronation precedent (since our nation’s founding, no American president has ever attended a British coronation). On April 4, the White House confirmed First Lady Jill Biden would be attending and leading a delegation representing the U.S. to the event.
  • Charity Representatives: On April 8, the Palace announced that the King had invited over 850 community and charity representatives to his historic crowning ceremony. Over 450 British Empire Medallist recipients were invited to see the service from the ancient Abbey itself, while the other 400 young people will witness the festivities from St. Margaret's Church at Westminster Abbey in what the Palace described as a “special private viewing.”
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What Roles Will Members of the Royal Family Have in the Ceremony?

King Charles and Queen Camilla will each be attended by four Pages of Honour during the ceremony. The Pages will form part of the procession through the nave of Westminster Abbey. 

Charles’s Pages of Honor will be his grandson Prince George, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Nicholas Barclay and Ralph Tollemache. Camilla’s Pages of Honor will be her grandsons, Gus and Louis Lopes and Freddy Parker Bowles, and her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson for Prince Wiliam and Kate Middleton told People: “We’re all very excited about Prince George’s role in the coronation, it will be an incredibly special moment.”

What Does the Official Coronation Emoji Look Like?

OK, we’re not sure you were actually wondering this—but it’s true! The King has unveiled an official coronation emoji (my, how times have changed!) based on the design of St. Edward’s Crown. The emoji will appear when social media users type in the hashtags #Coronation, #CoronationConcert, #CoronationWeekend and #CoronationBigLunch on Twitter.


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