The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla takes place today – Saturday – in a significant occasion for many people, which sees the crowning of our new King.
As most will know, Charles – formerly Prince of Wales – replaces his mother the long-serving monarch Elizabeth II who passed away late last year.
For most people this event will be the first time they have seen a British coronation, the late Queen’s having taken place way back in 1953.
The historical moment, which is sure to combine public celebration and extravagant spectacle has been many months in the making.
The proceedings include ceremonial processions in London before and after the coronation service at Westminster Abbey.
Charles becomes the oldest UK monarch to be crowned – he’s 74 years old – when he surpassed William IV, who was 64 when he became King in 1830. The 70-year wait for Charles to become King also means he is the longest-serving British heir apparent, surpassing Edward VII’s record of 59 years in 2011.
Charles Philip Arthur George – to give him his full name – was three years old when his mother ascended the throne in 1952 and was crowned the following year, making him the heir apparent. He was made Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in 1958, with his Prince of Wales investiture held in 1969.
He took his seat in the House of Lords in 1970 and by 1976 was taking on more public and official duties and engagements on behalf of his mother, as heir apparent. He founded The Prince’s Trust in 1976, sponsors The Prince’s Charities, and is a patron, president, or member of over 800 other charities and organisations.
The last UK coronation was held on June 2, 1953, for Elizabeth II. This time, with 70 years in between coronations, a number of changes have been implemented, aimed at modernising the ceremony.
These include some female clergy, multilingual hymns, the participation of leaders of other faiths besides Christianity – Charles becomes head of the Church of England when he’s crowned – and perhaps most controversial, the public being invited to publicly swear allegiance to the new King.
Associate Professor History, University of Sydney, Cindy McCreery, said Charles III “has huge shoes to fill”.
“This Coronation is an incredibly important moment for Charles to put his ‘stamp’ on his reign and to signal to the world how his reign will unfold,” Dr McCreery said.
“The announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury will invite people to ‘pledge allegiance’ to King Charles II at his coronation on Saturday is intended to bring people from across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Realms together in a show of support for the new monarch.
“But Australians today are not used to ‘pledging allegiance’ (other than to the nation at citizenship ceremonies) and it seems likely that many Australians will feel uncomfortable doing so on Saturday – or indeed at any time.”
But of course, the pledge is your choice and no matter whether you decide for or against it, the day’s ceremonies may well be a once-in-a-lifetime event, so if you’re in to pomp and circumstance or just want to see our new King crowned, tune in on Saturday.
The schedule of events (in ACST) for the Saturday coronation is as follows and can be seen on the ABC, as well as Channels 7, Nine and 10.
- Preview (4.30pm)
- Arrival of guests (5.30pm-7pm)
- The King’s procession (7pm)
- Coronation service (7.30pm)
- Westminster Abbey procession (9.30pm)
- Buckingham Palace balcony appearance (10pm).
IMAGE CREDIT – Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/SIPA USA