Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C

King Charles's coronation: Everything you need to know

It’s the first British coronation ceremony in 70 years.

THE CORONATION OF Britain’s King Charles (and his wife Queen Camilla) is taking place today, nine months after he ascended the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

UK residents will be treated to a bank holiday this Monday to mark the first coronation ceremony in 70 years. Many Britons will be celebrating the crowning of their new king throwing parties, baking Union Jack cakes or showing off crochet accessories they’ve made to mark the occasion.

featureimage PA PA

But others, in the UK and beyond, don’t see the coronation as reason to celebrate: critics have said the ceremony is a lavish “publicity stunt”, and have accused the monarchy and the government of being out of touch for making the taxpayer foot the £100 million bill.

We in Ireland have a curious relationship with the monarchy. It was historically a symbol of British rule here, but in recent years there has been more of a fascination with the often-dramatic ongoings of the Windsors across the sea.

Whether you’ll be watching the ceremony from start to finish, or plan to scoff at any and all royal coverage, here’s what you need to know.


Coronation Day begins early with viewing areas opening along the procession route at 6am and guests for Westminster Abbey beginning to arrive at security checkpoints in Victoria Tower Gardens between 7.15am and 8.30am.

embedded271913714 PA Westminster Abbey PA

Charles and Camilla will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, drawn by six Windsor Grey horses, and escorted by members of the king’s bodyguard, the Household Cavalry.

Some of those expected to be among the 2,300 guests include US first lady Jill Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron, Chinese vice-president Han Zheng, Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and president of Ireland Michael D Higgins.

The service will begin at 11am and last for two hours, with the key moment coming at midday when the King is crowned.

The Ceremony

There are five main elements: the Recognition, the Oath, the Anointing, the Investiture and Crowning and the Enthronement and Homage, as well as Camilla’s coronations as Queen.

After a moment of silent prayer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Holy Reverend Justin Welby, will give a greeting. There will then be a Welsh song, Coronation Kyrie, sung. It will be the first Welsh-language performance at a coronation. Hymns will follow throughout the ceremony, including one which will be sung in English, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish – the first time the coronation includes other languages associated with Britain and Northern Ireland.

king-charles-iii-coronation PA The Archbishop of Canterbury PA

Part One: The Recognition
The recognition rite dates back to the ancient procedures of the Witan – the supreme council of England in Anglo-Saxon times.

The king will stand in the theatre – the central space in Westminster Abbey – and turns to show himself to the people at each of the four directions – east, south, west and north.

A specially commissioned red, leather-bound Bible will be presented to the king.

Part Two: The Oath
For the first time, there is a preface to the coronation oath in which the Archbishop says the Church of England “will seek to foster an environment where people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely”.

The Coronation Oath Act of 1688 requires the King to declare during his crowning ceremony that he will maintain the established Anglican Protestant Church, rule according to laws agreed in Parliament, and cause law, justice and mercy to be executed in his judgment.

After that, Charles will become the first monarch to pray aloud in front of a coronation congregation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will do a reading.

The Alleluia will then be sung and the Gospel will be read by the Dean of HM Chapels Royal, Sarah Mullally. This will be the first coronation with female clergy. Female priests were introduced in the Church of England in 1994 and female bishops in 2014.

embedded270642845 PA Sarah Mullally, pictured with the Archbishop of Canterbury PA

The Alleluia will be sung again and the Archbishop will deliver a sermon. There was no sermon in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, but a sermon is usually part of the ceremony.

The Archbishop will then be presented with the Coronation Oil. Charles’s holy oil was made sacred in Jerusalem, and consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem.

The oil will be presented by Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Reverend Dr Hosam Naoum.

Part Three: The Anointing
The anointing with holy oil is the central act of the religious ceremony and takes place in private.

Charles will remove his crimson Robe of State and sit in the Coronation Chair – made for King Edward I around 1300.

The Anointing screen – a new, 2.6m high three-sided screen featuring an embroidered tree celebrating the Commonwealth – will be arranged around the Coronation Chair.

embedded271937030 PA The anointing screen PA

The Archbishop will anoint the King on his hands, breast and head. The coronation spoon used to hold the oil is the oldest item in the ceremony, dating back to the 12th century.

Part Four: The Investiture and Crowning
Charles will then be presented with the coronation regalia.

royal-coronation Press Association Images Press Association Images

In recognition of multi-faith Britain, peers from from non-Christian faith traditions have been chosen to take part for the first time.

The regalia represent virtues such as chivalry, royal power, sincerity and wisdom. One object, the Jewelled Sword of Offering, will be carried by a woman for the first time, when Commons leader Penny Mordaunt presents it.

english-from-left-to-right-the-jewelled-sword-of-offering-the-sword-of-state-and-the-sword-of-mercy-curtana-1-british-coronation-swords Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Charles will be presented with a glove to place on his right hand before he is presented with the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Rod with Dove.

The Archbishop will then bring the Crown of St Edward down onto the king’s head and proclaim: “God save The King.”

royalty-coronation-of-queen-elizabeth-ii-london PA The crowning of the late Queen Elizabeth in 1953 PA

The Abbey bells will ring for two minutes. A fanfare will be sounded followed by a gun salute.

Gun Salutes will also be fired at the Tower of London.

Part Five: Enthronment and Homage
The enthroning is the setting of the King in his crown on the throne.

The ancient ritual descends from coronations of old when early kings were crowned upon a mound of earth and lifted high on to the shoulders of noblemen for all to see.

The Archbishop and Prince William will swear allegiance to the king.

The new – somewhat controversial – Homage of the People invites people watching around the UK and across world in the King’s overseas realms to cry out and join in by swearing allegiance to the King.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will again proclaim: “God save The King”, with the people replying: “God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May The King live for ever.”

Coronation of the Queen
Charles’s wife Camilla will then be crowned Queen.


In a break with tradition, she will be anointed in public rather than in private under a canopy.

The Archbishop will place Queen Mary’s crown on Camilla’s head. The crown was made for Charles’s great-grandmother Queen Mary for George V’s coronation in 1911. It will be the first time a consort’s crown has been reused for a coronation rather than a new one created.

embedded8274144 Royal Collection Trust Queen Mary's crown Royal Collection Trust

Camilla will be presented the rod and sceptre.

The enthroning of Camilla is the moment in which she and Charles “are united in their joint vocation before God”.

Holy Communion
The gifts of bread and wine will be brought before the king for him to acknowledge, and from there the celebration of the Eucharist takes place much like a regular Anglican mass.

God Save the King, the national anthem, will be sung and the procession will exit the cathedral.

At the end of the procession, Charles will be greeted by leaders and representatives from different faith communities.

He will then proceed to the gold state coach with Camilla for their coronation procession back to Buckingham Palace.

embedded271997610 PA A rehearsal for the coronation during the week PA

The journey is 1.3 miles, considerably shorter than the five miles that Elizabeth traipsed for her coronation. The gold state coach is said to be rather uncomfortable as a mode of transport.

royal-coronation-screens Press Association Images Press Association Images

Charles and Camilla will receive a royal salute from the military in the palace gardens at 1.45pm.

This will be followed by a balcony moment when the couple will be joined by other members of the royal family to watch a flypast at around 2.15pm.

file-photo-dated-020622-of-left-to-right-the-then-duchess-of-cornwall-the-prince-of-wales-queen-elizabeth-ii-prince-louis-the-duchess-of-cambridge-princess-charlotte-prince-george-the-d Alamy Stock Photo Members of the royal family watch a flypast for the late Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee celebrations Alamy Stock Photo


Thousands of street parties are expected to be held over the weekend, with people encouraged to come together across the country for the Coronation Big Lunch.

Several members of the royal family, including Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, will attend community parties.

Later, around 20,000 members of the public are expected to attend the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle where they will see performances by Take That, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Olly Murs, veteran rock guitarist Steve Winwood, and Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls.

The show, hosted by Paddington and Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville, will see Hollywood star Tom Cruise, Dynasty actress Dame Joan Collins, adventurer Bear Grylls and singer Tom Jones appear via video message.

The series of pre-recorded sketches will reveal little-known facts about the monarch and will also include moments from beloved literary figure Winnie the Pooh – seemingly echoing the famous moment Paddington Bear drank tea with the Queen during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Classical acts including Andrea Bocelli, Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and Chinese pianist Lang Lang will also perform.

The Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Art will come together for the first time to create a one-off performance featuring Sex Education and Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa and Olivier Award nominee Mei Mac.

As part of the Coronation Concert, choreographed lasers, projections and drone displays will radiate over historic bridges and buildings.


The ‘Big Help Out’ will take place on bank holiday Monday, with the aim of inspiring and recruiting a new generation of volunteers.

Buckingham Palace said the Big Help Out will “highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities across the nation”.

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie will take part in a puppy class at the Guide Dogs training centre in Reading, while Princess Anne and her husband Tim Laurence will attend a civic service recognising local volunteers at Gloucester Cathedral.

embedded271999386 PA Princess Anne PA

The palace spokesperson said that according to the latest polling, an estimated 6.5 million people say they are planning to take part in the Big Help Out, ranging from community litter picks to signing up to longer-term volunteering opportunities with a wide range of charities.

The palace said that while “wholly supportive” of the Big Help Out initiatives on Monday, Charles and Camilla will not be attending any of the events in person.

Additional reporting by PA and AFP

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel