King Charles III’s Coronation 2023: Highlights & Viral Moments

Everything you may have missed

Royalists flocked to London in droves over the long-awaited Coronation weekend, which saw King Charles III and Queen Camilla crowned British monarchs, with plenty of old world fanfare, bunting, street parties, charity work, and the Coronation concert to boot. (Likewise, an estimated 18.8 million viewers tuned in from afar, watching the broadcast across 11 channels and services.) Here are the highlights from the monumental weekend.


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King Charles III’s Coronation 2023: Highlights & Viral Moments

The Crowning

King Charles III was crowned on 6 May 2023 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who held the hefty St Edward’s Crown high for all to see before firmly placing it atop the new King’s head, with a slight wiggle back and forth to be sure of its stability.

Weighing in at almost five lbs, the St Edward’s Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels, bedecked with 444 precious and fine gemstones. Created in 1649 for the coronation of King Charles II, the crown is a replica of an original 13th century crown which was melted down with the 1649 abolition of the monarchy during the English Civil War.


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The King was dressed in layers of luxurious robes, including: 

  • A crimson surcoat worn by King George VI at his 1937 coronation, the velvet exterior conserved by the Royal School of Needlework, and the lining and gold lace conserved by tailors Ede and Ravenscroft.
  • The Robe of State (aka the Parliament Robe) – this is the long train-like robe of red velvet, ermine and gold lace.
  • The Colobium Sindonis, a plain white anointing gown, free from decoration in order to convey purity before god.
  • A Supertunica: a long, gold silk coat created in 1911. 
  • The Robe Royal, an ornately embroidered gold robe and the oldest robe in the collection, created for King George IV’s coronation in 1821; the robe features foliage, flowers, crowns and national symbols, brought together with a gold eagle clasp.

Special mention for the tender kiss planted by Prince William on his father’s cheek, following his pledge of allegiance to the new King.

The Celebrity Attendance

The Coronation ceremony was well-attended by Royals and celebrities alike, including Ant and Dec, Emma Thompson and Dame Judi Dench. But it was Katy Perry who stole the show, on the hunt for her seat donning a dusky pink bespoke Vivienne Westwood suit.

Penny Mordaunt’s Sword

Whether you agree with her politics or not, you can’t deny Penny Mordaunt’s upper body strength. Present at the Coronation in her role as Lord President of the Privy Council, the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North was in charge of presenting the Jewelled Sword of Offering to King Charles – the first woman in history to do so. Made with gold, blued and gilt steel and silver and bedecked with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, Mordaunt retrieved the eight lbs sword from the Dean of Westminster, drew it from its leather sheath, and carried it to the King.


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The Ascension Choir

Handpicked for the occasion, the Ascension Choir is a sure Coronation highlight, injecting some lively jubilation into the ceremony and delighting guests with a gospel version of the classic ‘Hallelujah’ – a specially composed piece titled ‘Alleluia’ – while dressed in matching white outfits and swaying in sync.

Pretty Yende’s Performance

Internationally renowned South African soprano Pretty Yende’s vocals were another highlight, wowing audiences at the Coronation ceremony – but it was the glittering Graff necklace that caught our eyes. Encircled by the plump collar of her sunny yellow Stéphane Rolland gown, the necklace featured over 138 carats of diamonds, the result of many hundreds of hours of intense focus and highly skilled craftsmanship on the part of Graff. Framing Pretty’s face was more Graff jewellery in the form of yellow and white diamond earrings, with over 35 carats of diamonds shimmering as she performed ‘Sacred Fire’, a new piece written by British composer Sarah Class.


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Prince Louis

But not all guests found the lengthy ceremony – which was shorter, at the request of Charles, than previous coronations – quite so riveting. Absent from the late Queen’s funeral but back in full force for the new King’s crowning was playful Prince Louis, the five-year-old son of the Prince and Princess of Wales who displayed yawns, impatience, a bored wave, and typical dissatisfaction at the Red Arrow flypast, following the viral moment he screamed and covered his ears beside the late Queen when the Red Arrows flew over Buckingham Palace in 2022.

The Coronation Procession

While the initial procession – known as ‘The King’s Procession’ – transported King Charles and Queen Camilla from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, the reciprocal Coronation Procession was a much more celebratory affair, concluding with the newly crowned King and Queen waving to crowds from the balcony. The monarchs travelled down the mall in the ornate Gold State Coach – which dates back to 1762 when it was first used by King George III – drawn by eight Windsor Grey horses, named Icon, Shadow, Milford Haven, Echo, Knightsbridge, Tyrone, Meg and Newark. 


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Katy Perry, Generally

Selfies, seat searching and singing: Katy Perry was a vision at the Coronation, attending both the ceremony – in her capacity as an ambassador to the British Asian Trust – and performing orchestral versions of smash hits ‘Roar’ and ‘Firework’ in a gilded gown at the concert. Her lilac leather coronation suit was taken from the Vivienne Westwood fabric archives and paired with a dramatic hat.

Special mention to Princess Charlotte, who was captured beside her mother singing along to ‘Roar’ during the concert.


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The Royal Family Dancing At The Coronation Concert

It’s not often we get to see the Royals shed their composure, but the Coronation concert saw many family members bopping along to the hit tracks being performed – most notably, to Lionel Richie. 

Ncuti Gatwa And Mei Mac Take Romeo and Juliet

Five Royal institutions – the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Ballet – pulled together for a Romeo and Juliet tribute, with the newly designated Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa, and Mei Mac in the starring roles.

Prince William’s Impromptu Speech

Along with the glittering line up of celebs, the Prince of Wales took to the Coronation Concert stage to deliver a heartfelt, impassioned speech honouring his father, the new King.

Featured image: A view of Buckingham Palace and The Mall lined with Union Jack flags ahead of the coronation of King Charles III (via Getty).