Friday, May 05, 2023

King Charles coronation: Here's what you should know about Saturday's ceremony

By Misty Severi | The Washington Examiner

King Charles III will be crowned as the United Kingdom's latest monarch on Saturday. It will be the first such ceremony in more than 70 years and continue a tradition that spans centuries.

Charles, who legally became king after the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in September, will honor the royal occasion in a three-day celebration that centers on the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Here is everything to know heading into the coronation.

A woman poses next to an art installation celebrating the Coronation of 
King Charles III in London, Thursday, May 4, 2023. The Coronation of
 King Charles III will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 6.
 - Andreea Alexandru/AP

How and when to watch the coronation

The Washington Examiner will be livestreaming the event, but viewers hoping to witness the ceremony on television can stream the service through CBS or ABC News. Coverage of the coronation is expected to start around 5 a.m. EDT and 2 a.m. PDT on Saturday, May 6. However, the ceremony itself will not start until 6 a.m. EDT and 3 a.m. PDT. It begins at 11 a.m. in England.

What to expect from the ceremony itself

Coronations are often broken into six separate sections. Charles and his wife, Camilla, will arrive at Westminster Abbey via the Diamond Jubilee State Coach at 6 a.m. Eastern, where the Archbishop of Canterbury will make the recognition by introducing the royal couple to the congregation. The audience will respond with "God save the king!" Then trumpets will sound.

The second part is the oath of allegiance, which will be led by the archbishop and repeated by Charles. The king will vow to uphold the law and the Church of England. Third is the anointing of the monarch with holy oil, which will take place behind a canopy because it is considered too sacred to be witnessed by the public. This represents the monarch's designation as the head of the Church of England and God's consecration of Charles as monarch.

Fourth is considered the investiture. Charles will be seated on the coronation chair and given the crown jewels of the United Kingdom, which include the Sovereign's Orb that dates back to the 17th century, two Sovereign's Sceptres, St. Edward's Crown, and the Imperial State Crown. Charles will wear both crowns during the ceremony.

People walk by an art installation depicting the St Edward's crown in central 
London, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. The Coronation of King Charles III will take 
place at Westminster Abbey on May 6. - Vadim Ghirda/AP

Fifth comes the enthronement, in which Charles will transition from the coronation chair to the throne. The final stage is the closing procession, wherein Charles and Camilla will leave the abbey for Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach. At Buckingham Palace, they will be greeted with a royal salute and three cheers from the military.

Camilla will also be crowned the queen in a similar but shorter ceremony on Saturday, according to Buckingham Palace.

Changes to Charles's coronation compared to that of previous monarchs

Charles's coronation is expected to be a much smaller and shorter affair than previous coronations. What was usually a three- or four-hour demonstration of the wealth and power of the British monarchy will instead be scaled back to between one and two hours, and it will be more inclusive of other cultures and religions.

In this June. 2, 1953, photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, 
Duke of Edinburgh, wave to supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, 
following her coronation at Westminster Abbey, London. - Leslie Priest/AP

One major change in particular is the king's oath. Typically the monarch promises to be the "defender of the faith" and vows to uphold the rights and laws of the Church of England. However, Charles is expected to change the language to make it more inclusive to other religions, considering himself a defender of all faiths. However, the monarch is still considered the leader of the Anglican church.

Another major change will be the public swearing an oath of allegiance to the monarch instead of his hereditary peers. The oath will be: "I will pay true allegiance to your majesty and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God."

There will also be 12 new musical compositions, including a new coronation anthem composed by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. The others were selected to better represent a more diverse commonwealth.

A look at who made the guest list

Another scaling down for the coronation is the number of guests at Westminster Abbey. In the past, the monarch invited 8,000 guests to witness the ceremony in person, but this year there will only be 2,000.

Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry arrive for the statue unveiling on 
what would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday, in the Sunken Garden 
at Kensington Palace, London, Thursday July 1, 2021. - Yui Muk/AP

Included on the guest list are:

Members of the royal family, including Princes William and Harry, William's wife, Kate, and their children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte. All three of Charles's siblings will also be at the ceremony, including his brother Andrew, who has been engulfed in a scandal over his friendship with late sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Other royal families and world leaders will also be in attendance, along with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and former British prime ministers, including Liz Truss. Also in attendance will be 850 representatives of the public who have been chosen for their charity work.

Notably absent are President Joe Biden, who is sending first lady Jill Biden instead, and Harry's wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who will remain in California with the couple's children. The duchess's absence is notable due to the tension between the royal family and the Sussexes, which includes allegations of racism in the royal family. The feud has been thoroughly documented in multiple press interviews, a memoir by Harry titled Spare, and a six-part Netflix documentary.

How to celebrate the coronation in DC

Locals hoping to celebrate the momentous occasion for the United States's strongest allies can attend several parties, including viewing parties at the Hillwood Estate's Merriweather Cafe for $38 a person, Duke's Grocery for $10 a ticket, or the King's Coronation Tea at the Four Seasons for $125 a person.

The Four Seasons event starts at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and will include rare treats like Charles's coronation quiche or Queen Elizabeth’s coronation children’s sandwich. It will also feature a string quartet and bubbly drinks. The event at Hillwood will include pastries, scones, and tea. The Duke's Grocery event will start at 6 a.m. and include a livestream of the ceremony and British-themed food and drinks.

Those looking for a free event can visit the British Embassy's sidewalk celebration, which includes cutouts of the royals for photos, activities for children, and British-themed refreshments.

There will also be additional events in London and the U.K. over the weekend to celebrate Charles's ascension, including street fairs and concerts. A full list of events in the U.K. can be found here.