Charles III Announces May Coronation Date—Here’s What To Expect

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Carlie Porterfield   Forbes U.S. Staff

Charles III Announces May Coronation Date—Here’s What To Expect

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Topline

King Charles III became Britain’s new monarch immediately after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, but his coronation—an ancient ceremony in which he will be officially crowned—will be held on Saturday, May 6 next year, Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday.

Key Facts

The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, following tradition that has largely remained the same for ten centuries, according to the palace.

Buckingham Palace confirmed that Charles’ wife Camilla will be crowned as queen consort beside him, a plan that received Elizabeth's blessing before her death (when Charles and Camilla married in 2005, eight years after the death of Charles’ first wife, Diana, Camilla was not expected to ever become queen consort).

The ceremony will “reflect the monarch’s role today” and look toward the future, while still being rooted in “longstanding traditions and pageantry,” Buckingham Palace said, adding more details are to come.

Sources have told British media outlets that Charles’ coronation ceremony will likely be a shorter, smaller and less expensive affair than those of previous rulers, and Charles has also reportedly asked for the coronation to reflect the diversity of modern Britain and represent different communities and faiths that reside in the U.K.

While Elizabeth was crowned in front of more than 8,000 guests in 1953, new safety measures in place at Westminster Abbey will restrict the guest list at Charles’ coronation to around 2,000.

However, Charles will likely be crowned with many of the same traditions of his ancestors, including being crowned with St. Edward’s Crown, the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels, which are collectively estimated to be worth around $4 billion.

Tangent

Even before becoming king, Charles had long planned to slim down the monarchy in an effort to make the ancient institution more modern, more cost-efficient and less flashy. That approach is widely believed to have influenced plans for his coronation, which has reportedly been planned for years under the code name Operation Golden Orb.

Contra

Not everyone in Britain will be celebrating the coronation. Anti-monarchy group Republic pledged shortly after Elizabeth’s death that Charles’ coronation “will be met by large republican protests.” CEO Graham Smith said in a September statement that "Charles is already king. There is absolutely no need to go through with this expensive pantomime.” Critics have blasted the idea of holding a costly coronation as Britain faces a cost-of-living crisis.

Key Background

The actual coronation ceremony is a solemn religious affair that has “remained essentially the same over a thousand years,” according to Buckingham Palace. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the senior bishop of the Church of England, has been tasked with holding the service at nearly every coronation since the Norman Conquest in 1066. During the ceremony, Charles is expected to take the coronation oath before being anointed, blessed and consecrated by the archbishop. He’ll then take a seat in King Edward's chair, which is from around the 14th century and has been used by every sovereign since 1626. After Charles receives the orb and scepter, part of the Crown Jewels, the archbishop will place St Edward's Crown on his head.

Surprising Fact

Bloomberg previously reported the coronation was tentatively scheduled for early June, which would have placed Charles’ ceremony almost exactly 70 years from when his mother was crowned on June 2, 1953. Coronations are typically held months after the death of the previous monarch, because they are considered celebratory occasions not to be held while in mourning. Elizabeth’s own coronation took place 16 months after the death of her father, King George VI.

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Carlie Porterfield   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a Texas native covering breaking news out of New York City. Previously, I was a Forbes intern in London. I am an alum of City, University of London and Texas State University.