When is King Charles III’s coronation? May 6 date announced.


LONDON — King Charles III’s coronation, the first for Britain in more than 70 years, has been set for May 6 and may be a somewhat less extravagant affair than his mother’s coronation in 1953.

Buckingham Palace announced in a statement Tuesday that the ceremony will be “rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry” but also “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future.”

Charles’s biographers say he has talked about wanting a slimmed-down British monarchy, and there is a sense that the coronation may be slimmed down, as well — though still involving a cast of thousands.

Charles became king the moment Queen Elizabeth II died last month. But a period of time is traditionally allowed to pass before the new monarch is formally crowned — and “anointed, blessed and consecrated” in a religious ceremony led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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May 6, a Saturday, is also the 4th birthday of Charles’s grandson Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the oldest child of Prince Harry and Meghan. It is unclear if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who quit their jobs as “working royals,” will take part in the coronation. Royal watchers say that Prince William, the heir to the throne, is expected to play a role.

In keeping with tradition dating back to 1066, the ceremony is scheduled to take place at London’s Westminster Abbey. Charles would be the 40th sovereign to be crowned there.

Westminster is also where Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral took place last month — an event involving 2,000 guests, including nearly 90 world leaders, and 4,000 military personnel on parade. Though the cost hasn’t been made public, security officials said the expense was far greater than anything else they had ever undertaken.

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral: U.K.’s biggest security detail post-WWII

After that elaborate affair, and because Britain is facing a cost-of-living crisis, the idea of a somewhat more modest coronation may go over well in some quarters. As with so many things involving the monarchy, though, it’s a matter of debate. “Is King right to plan cut-price Coronation?,” the Daily Mail asked in a front-page headline this week, with commentators and historians weighing whether it should be pared back when millions are feeling the pinch or if such a ceremony would squander the chance to showcase Britain’s “soft power” on the world stage.

To be sure, a “slimmed down” coronation is a matter of perspective. There is sure to be plenty of pomp and pageantry. And lots of gold, in the form of spurs, orbs, rings, scepters and likely a horse-drawn state coach.

Few details have been announced, but in keeping with previous coronations, the king would be anointed with holy oil before receiving the orb, coronation ring, a scepter and a rod. He’s expected to be crowned with St. Edward’s Crown, which is normally resides under armed guard at the Tower of London’s Jewel House.

Several British papers have also reported in concert that the coronation — reportedly dubbed “Operation Golden Orb” — will have a guest list of 2,000, will last an hour and will nix some of the more arcane traditions, including a presentation of gold ingots. (The optics of that one might not look so good when inflation is so high).

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There are questions about how many elaborate robes and tunics will be worn by the new king. “King Charles to trim ‘costume changes’ in slimmer coronation,” ran a headline in the Daily Telegraph.

But the Mail on Sunday said the dress code for guests will not be as prescriptive as it was in 1953, when people were “instructed that ‘knee breeches’ were in order, while women were advised to wear headgear, preferably tiaras.”

Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, a year after she became queen, was a three-hour spectacle, costing £1.57 million or £31 million in modern money, according to the Times of London.

It was the fist British coronation to be televised, attracting some 27 million viewers in Britain alone. More than 8,200 people packed into Westminster Abbey, made possible because of special tiered seating. Thousands of journalists covered the event, including Jackie Kennedy, then Jacqueline Bouvier, who was working for the Washington Times-Herald.

One of the facts we do know for certain is that Camilla will be crowned Queen Consort alongside her husband. In 1953, Philip wasn’t crowned alongside Elizabeth II, as is the tradition for male consorts.



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