On May 6, King Charles III will become the 40th monarch of the United Kingdom to be crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, while his wife Camilla will be anointed as the queen consort.
Millions of people in the UK and around the globe will be watching the coronation event and attending celebrations.
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Here is what you need to know about the event.
What is a coronation?
A coronation is the formal inauguration of a monarch with their royal powers. During the event, King Charles III, who is 74, will be crowned in front of 2,000 guests.
The coronation of British monarchs has remained relatively unchanged for nearly 1,000 years.
William I was crowned king of England at the same location in Westminster Abbey in 1066.
Britain’s last coronation took place in 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at the age of 27.
What time and where will the coronation take place?
There will be two processions on May 6 — the King’s Procession and the larger Coronation Procession, as well as the Coronation ceremony.
The King’s Procession will set off from Buckingham Palace at 10:20am (9:20 GMT). The royals will travel along The Mall, through Admiralty Arch, along the south side of King Charles Island in Trafalgar Square, before going down Whitehall through the east and south side of Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey. All in, it is a distance of some 2.3km (1.4 miles).
King Charles III and the queen consort will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which will be drawn by six Windsor Grey horses.
The coach was built to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary on the throne in 2012.
The Coronation ceremony will start at 11am (10:00 GMT) at Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey was originally founded as a Benedictine monastery more than a thousand years ago. The royal church was rebuilt in 1065 by Edward the Confessor and then again between 1220 and 1272.
The abbey today has a floor area of 2,973 square metres (32,000 square feet) and two towers with a height of 69 metres (225 feet).
It has seen many state weddings and funerals, including that of Princess Diana in 1997.
What happens during the coronation process?
The coronation service will be led by the archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey.
Rituals, including the recognition, coronation oath, anointing, investiture and enthronement, will form the stages of the coronation service.
The first processions into Westminster Abbey will be of representatives and leaders from different faiths and Commonwealth countries.
During the recognition, King Charles will stand beside the Coronation Chair and will be presented by the archbishop to the people within the Abbey. They will then state: God save the King!
During the oath, the king will pledge to uphold the law and the Church.
The anointing involves removing the king’s ceremonial robe and sitting on the Coronation Chair. The archbishop will anoint the king with holy oil, the symbolism of which is the conferring of God’s grace upon the monarch.
The king will return to the Coronation Chair and be presented with royal artefacts such as the royal orb and the sceptre. The archbishop will then place the St Edward’s Crown on the king’s head.
During the enthronement, the king will leave the Coronation Chair and move to the throne. Camila will then be anointed.
After the service, at 1pm local time (12:00 GMT), the king and queen consort will return to Buckingham Palace in what is referred to as the Coronation Procession. On the return journey, they will be riding in the Gold State Coach, drawn by eight Windsor Grey horses. The Gold State Coach has been used for every coronation since the 1800s.
The king will then greet crowds in The Mall from the Buckingham Palace balcony.
Who is in line to the throne?
Charles took to the throne following the death of his mother, Elizabeth II, in 2022. She was queen for 70 years — Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
Succession to the British throne determines who will become the next king or queen. It is decided based upon descent, religion and primogeniture.
Protestant descendants of Princess Sophia, the granddaughter of James I, are eligible to the throne. The future monarch must also be “in communion” with the Church of England.
Previously, younger male heirs acceded to the throne, displacing elder daughters. However, in 2013, a law was passed that allowed female heirs equal rights in the line of succession.
After King Charles III, the line of succession for the British crown is:
Prince William, the duke of Cambridge (40)
Prince George (9)
Princess Charlotte (8)
Prince Louis (5)
How much will the coronation cost?
It is estimated that the coronation will cost between 50 to 100 million pounds ($63m-126m), according to unofficial sources. It comes at a time when the UK is facing persistently high inflation. In a recent YouGov poll, 51 percent of Britons said the coronation should not be publicly funded.
Coronations are state occasions, as such they are paid for by the government. According to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson, “funding sources will include the sovereign grant and the UK government”.
The sovereign grant is taxpayer funded and is used to pay for official duties carried out by the monarch. For the 2021-22 period, the grant was 86.3 million pounds ($108.8m).
King Charles III’s grandfather, King George VI’s coronation cost 454,000 pounds ($573,000) in 1937 — 24.8 million pounds ($31m) in today’s money. While his mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 cost 912,000 pounds ($1.2m) — roughly 20.6 million pounds ($26m) in today’s money.
The cost of King Charles’s coronation will be released after the event.