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King Charles' Coronation is on Saturday, May 6, but what is happening on the day and the extra bank holiday on May 8?





King Charles III will be crowned King on May 6, 2023.

In front of a congregation of thousands and a global audience of millions, the late Queen's eldest son will officially accept the role he's spent a lifetime preparing for and here's everything we know about arrangements so far.

The official Coronation emblem of King Charles III and the Queen Consort. Image: Buckingham Palace.
The official Coronation emblem of King Charles III and the Queen Consort. Image: Buckingham Palace.

What is a Coronation?

Charles automatically became King when his mother died – so it is not necessary to hold a coronation ceremony in order to appoint a new monarch for the UK and the Commonwealth.

However the coronation is both a religious ceremony and an act of tradition that cements the new monarch's role as head of the Church of England and marks the transfer of titles and powers to them.

Upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, Charles became King
Upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, Charles became King

When and where is the King's Coronation?

Buckingham Palace confirmed back in October 2022 that the Coronation of His Majesty The King will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

The ceremony will see His Majesty King Charles III crowned alongside his wife Camilla, The Queen Consort.

The coronation ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey, London – the same location chosen for the Queen's State Funeral in September – and it will be conducted in part by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Events on the Saturday will be followed by two further days of official celebrations on Sunday, May 7, and Monday, May 8, which has been designated a bank holiday in honour of the coronation.

An entire weekend of events will follow Saturday's coronation
An entire weekend of events will follow Saturday's coronation

What will happen on the day?

Coronation ceremonies, which by their nature are steeped in tradition, have therefore changed little in hundreds of years. But it is expected that King Charles is opting for a much shorter ceremony on a much smaller scale compared to events arranged for previous monarchs, including his mother the late Queen.

For the Queen's coronation around 8,000 guests were invited thanks to extra seating installed in the Abbey months before the big event but it is expected the King Charles will issue closer to 2,000 official invitations.

Among the expected changes to the ceremony itself, and to reflect Britain's increasingly diverse and multi cultural society, will be an acknowledgement of other faiths alongside the Church of England's. While the monarch will remain 'Defender of the Faith' King Charles is also expected to pledge to help and support multiple religions.

The crowning ceremony inside Westminster Abbey will also trigger one of the largest displays of the Crown Jewels outside of the Tower of London where they are kept. These will all be used during the religious aspect of the event, including most importantly the St Edward's Crown which will be placed on the King's head at the all important 'crowning' moment.

Other items set to enjoy a rare outing include the Sovereign’s Orb, the Golden Spurs, bracelets known as Armills, five swords, the Sovereign’s Ring, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove.

Charles and Camilla will travel in two different carriages
Charles and Camilla will travel in two different carriages

When will we first see King Charles?

Those watching events unfold will get their first glimpse of the royal couple when they leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey in what is known as the King's Procession on Saturday morning.

In a break with tradition they will travel the 1.3 miles to the service in the more modern Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which has shock absorbers and air conditioning.

Charles and Camilla will only use the elaborate 260-year-old Gold State Coach one way – the same one used by the Queen during her coronation – on their return.

The official parade route has also been shortened compared to the route the Queen took – which was 1.6 miles on her outward journey and more than five miles long when she came back and took the young monarch through areas including Regent Street and Piccadilly.

Charles and Camilla are on a more tried and tested traditional route that takes in Parliament Square, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and The Mall and is simply the reverse of the route they will take to the Abbey in the morning.

Their return journey – which is known as the Coronation Procession – will happen in the Gold State Coach and will include hundreds of members of the Armed Forces from the UK, Commonwealth and Overseas Territories.

The carriage will also be drawn by eight Windsor grey horses and because of its weight, travel at nothing more than a walking pace, which should also help those lining the streets catch a better glimpse of proceedings.

Sally Goodsir from the Royal Collection Trust, said: "The Gold State Coach will be the centrepiece of the much larger procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace on coronation day.

"It weighs four tonnes and because of that it can only be used at walking pace which really adds to the majesty and stateliness of this great royal procession."

The coronation route is much shorter than the one taken by the Queen
The coronation route is much shorter than the one taken by the Queen

Who will be there?

The coronation, regardless of its ultimate size, is a state occasion, which means the Government will be involved in the formation of the guest list.

Alongside the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, other members of the government and representatives of the Houses of Parliament will be heads of state and other Royals from around the world. Places will also be given to those representing some of the country's good causes, charities the royal family support and those to have been recognised in recent honours lists.

King Charles' grandson Prince George has also been handed a central role in events – having been named as one of eight boys to be Pages of Honour to the new King and Queen.

These youngsters will 'attend their majesties' during the service with responsibility for things like helping to carry the heavy robes as the couple enter and exit the Abbey.

The King’s other Pages of Honour will be Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, Nicholas Barclay, 13, and Ralph Tollemache, 12. The Queen Consort’s Pages of Honour will be her grandsons, twins Gus and Louis Lopes, and Freddy Parker Bowles, along with great-nephew, Arthur Elliot.

The boys are expected to wear coats with a gold trim, white waistcoats, white breeches, white gloves, black buckled shoes and a lace cravat and ruffles, but the finer details of their clothing will be chosen by King Charles.

While not yet confirmed it is also expected that Camilla's two teenage granddaughters could be given a role in the proceedings too.

A large procession will escort the King and Queen back to Buckingham Palace. Image: MOD.
A large procession will escort the King and Queen back to Buckingham Palace. Image: MOD.

Alongside the service what else will happen?

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of London to see the new monarch and other members of the Royal Family arrive and leave the Abbey on May 6.

While Prince George has a very particular role during the ceremony, all three of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s children are expected take part in the procession alongside their parents.

His younger siblings Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four, will be among those to join their grandfather, the Queen and other members of the royal family as they leave the Abbey.

Millions are expected to tune in to watch the coronation before street parties take place across the weekend
Millions are expected to tune in to watch the coronation before street parties take place across the weekend

Where can I watch it?

More than 37 million people in the UK alone tuned in to watch the tradition and pageantry that accompanied Her Majesty The Queen's funeral and interest in the King's Coronation is also expected to be very high.

The day's events will be broadcast live on television from early on Saturday morning to viewers across the globe where an audience could number hundreds of millions of people.

Pub opening hours will be changed to allow for Coronation celebrations to continue into the night. Image: Stock photo.
Pub opening hours will be changed to allow for Coronation celebrations to continue into the night. Image: Stock photo.

Is there be a bank holiday?
Yes, an additional bank holiday across the UK has been agreed for Monday, May 8.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it would allow people to "come together and celebrate" just as communities did more recently for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022.

May's extra bank holiday is in addition to the May Day bank holiday on May 1 and the Spring Bank Holiday Monday on May 29.

Ministers also intend to allow pubs, clubs and bars in England and Wales to open longer to celebrate over the weekend. Licensing hours are set to be extended from 11pm until 1am on May 5, 6 and 7.

The Home Secretary, under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003, can make an order relaxing licensing hours to mark occasions of “exceptional national significance”, and the coronation is an occasion, says the Government, which will see the country 'united in celebration across the Bank Holiday weekend'.

Suella Braverman added: "Our country, and in particular our hospitality industry, has faced many challenges in recent years and the King’s coronation is an opportunity to give a boost to our local businesses, and celebrate with our local communities.

"Over the bank holiday weekend we can raise a glass to our new monarch, and with our friends and families wish him a long and successful reign."



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