What we know so far about King Charles’ coronation
By Mary Nersessian, Executive Producer, Audience Growth & Development, CTV News
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TORONTO (CTV Network) — The coronation of King Charles III will take place in May, in a ceremony that is expected to be less extravagant, while underscoring a new era for the Royal Family.
The May 6 service will take place at London’s Westminster Abbey, the setting for every coronation since 1066.
The coronation will “reflect the Monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,” according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.
The religious ceremony, seven months after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric in the Church of England, for which the monarch is considered the Supreme Governor.
“We know that King Charles is having some spiritual guidance from the Archbishop of Canterbury,” royal commentator Afua Hagan told CTVNews.ca, “They have a very close relationship.” HOW THE CORONATION WILL UNFOLD
The service will include the King’s oath, where he will swear to uphold the law and Church of England, the anointing with the holy oil, the investing of the regalia, and finally the crowning.
King Charles III will be crowned with St. Edward’s Crown, one of the iconic symbols of the British monarchy, which was created for the coronation of Charles II. The crown was quietly removed from the Tower of London last December to be resized for the monarch. Meanwhile, Queen Consort Camilla will be wearing Queen Mary’s Crown, which was commissioned by Charles’ great-grandmother, Mary, for her husband King George V’s 1911 coronation.
“Using these crowns is a good idea because they are less controversial, they don’t contain diamonds and jewels that have a dubious history,” Hagan said.
Camilla’s choice means she avoids the controversy surrounding another crown featuring the Koh-i-Noor diamond. India has demanded the return of the disputed 106-carat diamond. WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
As the date comes closer, however, more details are being released about the ceremony, including the 6.5-foot-high chair the King will be sitting on.
The fragile 700-year-old chair is being restored by a conservator at the Abbey, and has been used at other coronations for centuries, including those of Henry VIII, Charles I, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.
Another detail that’s been released is that the King will be anointed with holy oil consecrated in Jerusalem, reflecting the British monarch’s connection to the Holy Land, in what is considered the most sacred part of the ceremony.
The oil was produced from olives that grew from groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of the Ascension and the Monastery of Mary Magdalene, the burial place of Charles’ grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece. THE SECRETIVE ANOINTING
The anointing will take place hidden from view of the public, said Hagan, as it’s a “private, significant part of the service.”
During the anointing, the ceremonial robes will be removed, a canopy of cloth of gold will be placed around the monarch to conceal him from view, as is the custom, and it’s believed he will be wearing a simple white robe underneath.
The King will be anointed with the holy oil on his hands, his chest and his head. WHAT ELSE CAN WE EXPECT?
At time of publication, it’s unclear how long the service will be. In comparison, the Queen’s coronation was about three hours long.
Still, the King’s coronation is expected to be more muted than that of his mother’s.
“I think the King is quite aware of the rising protests we’ve seen… the cost of living crisis, said Hagan.
“Yes, the King’s coronation has to have a certain sense of pomp and ceremony but it’s not going to be as extravagant as in the past.” WHO WILL ATTEND THE CORONATION?
Westminster Abbey’s capacity is about 2,000 people and it’s expected to be filled with dignitaries, members of Parliament, and heads of state from around the world.
“We do know that Camilla’s grandchildren will have a part in it, we don’t think that Harry and Meghan will have a part in it, but will probably attend,” Hagan said.
Their children have not been invited, which isn’t that unusual because of their age, Hagan added.
Still, Prince William’s son George will “definitely be there,” Hagan said, “because let’s be honest, it’s going to be him one day…. Princess Charlotte will probably be there, I think she’s probably old enough.
However, it’s yet unclear whether Prince Louis, much-loved by the public for his mischievous behaviour, will be sitting in the Abbey.
After the service, the King and Queen will return to Buckingham Palace in a procession called “the Coronation Procession.”
They will be joined by other members of the Royal Family, whose names have not been released; however, the Prince William and his wife, Catherine Middleton, are expected to join the procession, Hagan said.
Following the procession, the King, the Queen Consort and other members of the Royal Family will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events.
The public can expect to see the King and Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, likely Prince George, and perhaps Prince Edward and his wife, Sophia, who have been elevated with their new titles of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Hagan said.
The image of the Royal Family on the balcony is mean to “cement in our minds that this is the new Royal Family, going forth, here we are in the new era,” Hagan said.
While a spokesperson for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, have confirmed that he has received “email correspondence” from his father’s office about the coronation, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not disclosed their response.
Prince Harry and Meghan have been asked to give a month’s notice to the Home Office before they make any trips to the U.K. because of security, Hagan said.
Attention on the tense family dynamics has been fuelled by the publication of Harry’s memoir, which outlined allegations of a dysfunctional Royal Family behind closed doors.
“It would help Charles a lot in terms of his image if Harry and Meghan were there,” royal historian Kate Williams previously told CNN. “It’s particularly going to look bad for him if his son is not there because, of course, Harry still is very high in line to the throne, as are his children.” WHY IS THE CORONATION SO LONG AFTER THE QUEEN’S DEATH?
The coronation of the new monarch takes place after a period of mourning, in the months after the new sovereign’s accession and after enough time has passed that it is appropriate to mark the occasion.
CTV News royal commentator Richard Berthelsen says as far as planning periods go, “it’s actually a pretty short gap… there’s a lot of stuff to work out.” In fact, the Queen’s coronation took place nearly 16 months after her father’s death, Berthelsen told CTVNews.ca. “Considering all that has to be done and decided, they’re probably really scrambled because they chose to change virtually every aspect of the coronation this time.”
While there needed to be a period of mourning, and then a period of rest, the timing may also have something to do with the British weather, Hagan said, as the Royal Family hopes the public will be lining the streets not only for the coronation but for the festivities to follow.
The coronation will kick off the long bank holiday weekend’s festivities, which will include a special concert that will be broadcast live from Windsor Castle on the following day, on Sunday, May 7.
The concert will begin in the mid-evening and is expected to last somewhere between two and three hours, rain or shine. Locations across the U.K. will be lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations, according to the coronation website. WHO WILL PERFORM?
The anthem for the coronation has been written by English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, the mastermind behind blockbuster musicals such as “Cats” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”
However details on the coronation concert are scant.
While the official website says music icons, contemporary stars and a world-class orchestra will perform at the concert, high-profile acts have made headlines for purportedly declining to perform.
What has been announced however, is that the Coronation Choir will perform, which comprises members of the nation’s community choirs and amateur singers from across the United Kingdom, including “refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf singing choirs.”
They will appear alongside the Virtual Choir, which comprises singers from across the Commonwealth.
The concert will also feature a selection of spoken word sequences, according to the BBC, which will produce the Coronation Concert.
Five thousand pairs of tickets were made available to the public via ballot, which has now closed. Volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s charity affiliations will also be in attendance.
Members of the public are also encouraged to hold a Coronation Big Lunch on their streets or in gardens, parks and community spaces between May 6 and 8 to mark the occasion, with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosting his own lunch event at Downing Street on May 7.
Meanwhile, Sunak has proclaimed Monday, May 8 as a special bank holiday.
On that day, members of the public are encouraged to take part in The Big Help Out, meant to highlight the impact of volunteering on communities.
The aim of the event is to bring communities together and “create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation Weekend.”
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