The coronation of King Charles III will take place on May 6 next year, Buckingham Palace has announced, in a ceremony that will seek to reflect the British monarchy’s historic traditions and its modern role.
Charles, 73, will be formally crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey, following a long tradition dating back more than 900 years.
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The monarch’s wife, Queen Consort Camilla, 75, will also be crowned, the palace confirmed.
May 6 is the fourth birthday of Charles’s grandson Archie, the son of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.
“The coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,” royal officials said in a short statement.
The much-anticipated confirmation of the date comes just over a month after the death of Charles’s mother Queen Elizabeth II, and after widespread speculation about when the ceremony might be held.
Charles immediately became the United Kingdom’s monarch when Elizabeth died on September 8. He also took over as head of state of 14 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The queen, who was 96, passed away at her remote Scottish estate Balmoral Castle after a year of declining health. She was on the throne for a record 70 years.
World leaders attended her state funeral at Westminster Abbey before she was laid to rest after a ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to watch, with the same number queueing round the clock over four days to pay their final respects as her coffin lay in state.
Similar crowds will be expected for the first coronation since 1953 and the accompanying display of closely choreographed pomp and pageantry.
The coronation of British monarchs is both a solemn religious service and an occasion for celebration.
The priceless Crown Jewels form the centrepiece, symbolising the history and power of the British monarchy over the centuries.
Charles is expected to sign a proclamation formally declaring the coronation date at a meeting of the Privy Council formal body of advisers later this year.
During the ceremony, he will be “anointed, blessed and consecrated” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England, who has crowned the monarch since 1066.
The coronation traditionally takes place some months after a new sovereign has ascended to the throne, following a period of national and royal mourning as well as intense preparation.
Elizabeth II’s own coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953 – some 16 months after she had become queen – was the first major televised international event.
Charles, who was four at the time, recalled in 2006 that crowds outside Buckingham Palace chanting “We want the Queen!” kept him awake the night before.
Some 27 million people – more than half the population at the time – followed the event on television. It was, for many, the first time they had watched TV.
The ceremony lasted almost three hours, drew 8,251 official guests crammed into temporary tiers and included representatives from 129 nations and territories.
In recent days, the British media has speculated that Charles wants a slimmed-down ceremony, mindful that a lengthy display of wealth may not sit well in a country in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis.