Brits have had King Charles III as their monarch for the best part of a year now, but his Coronation is only just about to happen. On 6 May 2023, the King will be crowned at Westminster Abbey, alongside Her Majesty The Queen Consort, Camilla. But what will actually happen on the day? And how best to watch the action? Here’s everything you need to know about the Coronation 2023.
A Guide To King Charles III’s Coronation 2023
From the longest-serving heir apparent to the oldest person (aged 73) to accede to the British throne in history, Charles became King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022. A month later, we were given a date for the monumental occasion of his coronation: 6 May 2023, almost eight months after he became King.
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At the heart of the Coronation is the crowning ceremony, which will take place at Westminster Abbey, the fortieth coronation to occur there since 1066. The ceremony will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and, the first coronation of the twenty-first century, it is expected to reflect the modern Monarch’s role, incorporating multiple faiths, cultures and communities into a shorter ceremony than the late Queen’s, spliced together with traditional archaic pageantry. That said, with an extra Bank Holiday gifted to the nation to mark the Coronation, there will be plenty of opportunities for people across the country to celebrate our new King, from Saturday 6 until Monday 8 May 2023.
What Will Happen On Saturday 6 May 2023?
The official Coronation of King Charles III will occur on the morning of Saturday 6 May 2023, the ceremony at the heart of the entire celebration. ‘The Coronation is a solemn religious service, as well as an occasion for celebration and pageantry,’ says Buckingham Palace. ‘Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort will arrive at Westminster Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as “The King’s Procession”. After the Service, Their Majesties will return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as “The Coronation Procession”. Their Majesties will be joined in this procession by other Members of the Royal Family. At Buckingham Palace, The King and The Queen Consort, accompanied by Members of the Royal Family, will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events.’
Buckingham Palace has gradually released further detail on the ceremony, including new music commissions and invitees specially selected by Charles and Camilla for their community and charity work.
The Coronation will begin at 11am, and is expected to last approximately one hour. The King and Queen will travel to Westminster Abbey from Buckingham Palace for the service in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was created for the sixtieth anniversary of her late majesty’s reign in 2012. After the ceremony, the newly coronated King and Queen will don their crowns and reverse their journey, this time in the extremely ornate (and hefty, weighing four tonnes) Gold State Coach, drawn by eight Windsor Grey horses. This coach, last seen during the Platinum Jubilee in June 2022, was first used by King George III in 1762, when he travelled to the State Opening of Parliament; it has been used at every coronation since that of King William IV in 1831. As the King and Queen pass through Buckingham Palace’s gardens, they will receive a royal salute from the military troops on parade.
How To Watch The Coronation On Saturday 6 May
The procession – the largest military procession in several decades – is expected to draw huge crowds to London, all looking to catch a glimpse of the new King. If you can’t make it to London, or would just prefer to watch the action on TV, the BBC will have a live, continuous broadcast showcasing all of the key events.
The main coverage will be on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with commentary from eight presenters filling any gaps and guiding viewers through what is happening. The presenters are: JJ Chalmers, Clara Amfo, Clare Balding, Huw Edwards, Kirsty Young, Sophie Raworth, Jordan Banjo and Anita Rani. There will also be accessible coverage for people who are blind or partially sighted on Red Button, hosted by Petroc Trelawny, as well as subtitles, sign language, and an alternative commentary version for people with sight loss all available live on iPlayer.
Precise timings are still to be confirmed, but we expect TV coverage to kick off well ahead of the ceremony beginning at 11am, and will certainly stretch beyond 2pm when the procession back to Buckingham Palace is expected to start.
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What Will Happen On Sunday 7 May 2023?
Official ceremony all done and dusted, Sunday 7 May is when the true partying starts. According to Buckingham Palace, this is the day to have your street party as part of the Coronation Big Lunch scheme, ‘at which neighbours and communities are invited to share food and fun together’. If you’re planning on hosting a street or garden party, check out our comprehensive how-to guide. If you haven’t heard of it before, The Big Lunch is an annual scheme organised by the Eden Project, which takes place every year on the first weekend of June with the aim of ‘creating friendships, reducing loneliness and boosting community spirit’. The Coronation Big Lunch is a bonus Big Lunch, so the typical June parties (3–4 June 2023) will still be taking place. Learn how to get involved at edenprojectcommunities.com.
Meanwhile, there will also be a special Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle, beginning at 8pm for which 5,000 free tickets were given away by public ballot. If you weren’t lucky enough to snag one, the concert will also be broadcast live by the BBC. Also in attendance will be volunteers from the King and Queen’s charity affiliations.
A centrepiece of the concert will be the ‘Lighting up the Nation’ scheme, which will see iconic locations across the UK lit up with projections, lasers and illuminations.
Who Will Perform At The Coronation Concert?
Presented by Hugh Bonneville, the Coronation Concert will feature performances from:
- Take That (sans Robbie Williams)
- Lionel Richie
- Katy Perry
- Andrea Bocelli and Sir Bryn Terfel
- Freya Ridings and Alexis Ffrench
- Bette Midler
- The Coronation Choir – a 300 strong consortium of singing groups, including London Cabbies, an all-deaf sign performance group, a Northern Irish farming community, an LGBTQ+ choir, a Gaelic choir from the Western Isles of Scotland, Hull’s NHS choir, a traditional male voice choir from Caerphilly and a refugee choir
- World-class dance and arts performers
- Spoken word sequences delivered by stars of stage and screen
- A 74 piece world-class classical orchestra made up of the strings of the Countess of Wessex String Orchestra and the woodwind, brass and percussion sections from the Bands of the Household Division.
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What Will Happen On Monday 8 May 2023?
Bank Holiday time: Monday 8 May is a special Bank Holiday gifted to the nation in commemoration of the Coronation. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the hopeful sun, or Buckingham Palace invites the nation to partake in The Big Help Out, ‘which will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas’. With categories spanning community, sustainability, and arts and culture, individuals, organisations and businesses can learn how to get involved at thebighelpout.org.uk.