Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla
The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla took place on Saturday 6 May 2023, at Westminster Abbey. A spectacular day watched by millions the world over, here we remember some of the highlights…
The Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday 6 May 2023 was the first coronation service to happen in the UK for 70 years, since that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s, on 2 June 1953.
A day filled with spectacle, pageantry, and solemn ceremony, the Coronation of King Charles III was one of the most hotly anticipated events ever in the British royal calendar. At age 74, King Charles is the oldest person to ever be crowned King in Britain, and is the longest serving Prince of Wales in British history.
What happened on the day of the Coronation of King Charles III?
The King’s Procession
Their Majesties King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, arrived at the Abbey on the morning of the Coronation, in a procession from Buckingham Palace known as ‘The King’s Procession’.
They travelled in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was built to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Flanking the route of their procession were over 1,000 members of the Armed Forces, Standard Bearers of the Royal British Legion, Civilian Services and Community Organisations.
Military veterans, NHS and social care workers, representatives of charitable organisations, and the Cadet Forces, all had the opportunity to view the procession.
The Coronation of King Charles III: Service
The service at Westminster Abbey began at 11am on Saturday morning. All eyes were on the Wales family, and Prince George acted as one of four Pages of Honour for the King, following behind him in his procession up the Abbey.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, sat with their parents at the front of the Abbey to watch the service. Prince Louis, aged five, after winning hearts with his adorable naughtiness at last year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, behaved impeccably throughout – although we did catch a couple of yawns from him!
The Wales family shared some wonderful behind-the-scenes footage from their special day on their social media accounts; watch it here.
For the last 900 years the coronation service has taken place at Westminster Abbey, and the ancient service is rich in religious significance, history and pageantry.
Conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the service is deeply sacred and traditional, while reflecting the Monarch’s role today and looking towards the future. You can read more about what each moment of the ceremony represented on the Royal Family’s website, here.
A particular highlight was the moment that the Prince of Wales, was called upon to swear an oath to his father, the King. The Prince kneeled before the King declaring: “I, William, Prince of Wales, pledge my loyalty to you, and faith and truth I will bear unto you, as your liege man of life and limb. So help me God.” Following this, he touched the King’s crown before kneeling down to kiss his father on the cheek. Charles quietly responded with ‘thank you, William.’ A very touching moment between father and son that must have meant a great deal to both them.
Prince Harry, Charles’ youngest son, had also flown in from the US to see his father crowned and was seated in the Abbey amongst his family.
On the moment of crowning itself, The Dean of Westminster delivered the St Edward’s Crown to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who offered a blessing, before placing it on his head. The Archbishop led the congregation in saying ‘God Save The King’ and the bells of the Abbey rang out as gun salutes were fired across London and at Saluting Stations throughout the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Bermuda, and His Majesty’s ships at sea. It was a moving moment, and the pinnacle of the whole ceremony.
Read more about the significance of St Edward’s Crown, here.
The Queen’s crowning ceremony, with the Crown of Queen Mary, followed the King’s and together they processed back down the Abbey as the National Anthem was sung, before embarking in the Gold State Coach for Buckingham Palace; our new King and Queen.
The Coronation procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace included Armed Forces from across the Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, and all Services of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, alongside The Sovereign’s Bodyguard and Royal Watermen. With nearly 4,000 personnel taking part, it was largest of its kind since the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The King and Queen waved joyfully at crowds who had gathered to wish them well, many of whom had been camping out for days and who persevered despite the persistent rain!
Read more about who took part in the Coronation Procession, here.
The Coronation of King Charles III: The Royal Salute
Upon their return to Buckingham Palace, Their Majesties received a Royal Salute in the Palace Garden from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Armed Forces who were on parade. The cries of ‘hip hip hooray’ as the soldiers removed their bearskin hats, was one of the most moving moments of the whole day, and The King looked emotional as he looked on.
The Coronation of King Charles III: Buckingham Palace Balcony
Like all good royal occasions, Saturday’s events ended with an appearance from the working royals on Buckingham Palace balcony, to wave and thank the crowds, and to view the ceremonial fly-past from the Red Arrows that concluded the day’s events. Despite the wind and rain, the colour and the joy that emanated from the crowds gathered in the mall, and the smiles from the King and his family was the perfect way to end what was a truly historic day.
See more photos from the balcony, and from the whole weekend on the Royal Family’s Instagram page, here.
The Coronation of King Charles III: The Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle
In addition to the nationwide Big Lunch, encouraging communities to get together to celebrate, Sunday saw a spectacular Coronation Concert held in the gardens of Windsor Castle, complete with international superstars such as Katy Perry and Andrea Bocelli, as well as performances from a specially formed choirs, and much more. It was a jubilant, and 21st-century way to celebrate the dawn of the Carolean Age.
William, Prince of Wales paid tribute to his father in a speech during the concert, saying ‘Pa, we are all so proud of you… for over 50 years, in every corner of the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world, he has dedicated himself to serve others, both current and future generations, and those whose memory must not be neglected.’
The Prince also made a sweet reference to his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, ; ‘I know she’s up there, fondly keeping an eye on us. And she would be a very proud mother.’
If that didn’t bring a tear to your eye after such a spectacular weekend, we don’t know what will.
There are plenty of Coronation celebration events happening throughout the country over the next few months. See our list here.