Everything We Know About King Charles' Coronation Ceremony

King Charles III is set to officially ascend the throne on May 6, 2023. The ceremony will be held at Westminster Abbey in London, which is often used for important royal ceremonies such as weddings. 

The coronation itself is primarily a religious ceremony that affirms the monarch's position. King Charles will be crowned literally and metaphorically and Camilla, Queen Consort will also be crowned at the same time. It's worth noting that it's entirely possible for a monarch to reign without a coronation, and in fact, King Charles has been the monarch since the death of his mother. 

The coronation is made up of three days of celebrations, with the crowning event taking place on the last day. It's believed that this coronation will not be quite as lavish as the one enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth II, but will still be notable. King Charles will go through several steps in the ceremony, including the anointing of holy oil that has been made with a secret recipe and used for monarchs at previous coronations.

King Charles has made a key change about how he will arrive

From the start, King Charles III's coronation will be different from any other simply because the monarch has made a fairly big change to the procession toward Westminster Abbey. This time around, he will arrive at the Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State coach, which was a gift to Queen Elizabeth II from Australia in 2014. Sally Goodsir, who works at the Royal Collection Trust, told CNN that the switch is a good one, as the coach itself is beautiful. 

As Goodsir put it: "Inside is beautifully upholstered in primrose yellow silk, and also fitted into the interior, our particular specimen woods. It's a real microcosm of British and world history. There're woods from the royal residences, from explorations and from other countries and nations as well."

Goodsir adds that the coach itself might surprise those watching on TV and definitely those watching in person, as it's much larger than any that have been used by the royal family in the past. The coach is also outfitted with an enormous gold crown on top of it, which will likely create a striking visual experience for everyone involved. The monarch will depart the coronation in the Gold State Coach, which has been used in each coronation since the 1830s.

King Charles and Queen Camilla will take the traditional route to the ceremony

While he might be making a change to the coach that he arrives in, King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort will still take the usual route to the ceremony itself. The day will begin with the procession kicking off at Buckingham Palace and traversing The Mall alongside The Sovereign's Escort. The group will follow the traditional path under the Admiralty Arch until they eventually end up at Westminster Abbey. The service is anticipated to begin at 6 a.m. Eastern Time.

After King Charles and Queen Camilla are officially crowned, they will travel back to Buckingham Palace. On their return, they will be accompanied by a number of members of the military, as well as The Sovereign's Bodyguard.

Sally Goodsir explained to CNN that it will be exciting to see a newly crowned King Charles and Queen Camilla in the Gold State Coach, which the two will ride in after the coronation. "There are very few monarchies which have retained coaches working of this age, and therefore it's an incredibly special thing to see," said Goodsir.

Over 800 community workers have been invited to the coronation

While there are many foreign leaders and dignitaries invited to the coronation, hundreds of community workers have also received invites. Many of these have received British Empire medals for their services to the monarchy and to the United Kingdom, and have been specifically chosen to attend by King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort.

Attendees include Des Lally, who raised money while climbing the highest mountain in Britain in honor of the charities Cancer Research and Help for Heroes. Lally was able to raise £60,000 while completing the feat. He later told the royal family's official site of his British Empire medal: "It's very humbling to be recognised for my efforts but this is all about the charities and the people and families that these charities represent."

Another attendee is Dr. Hareen De Silva, who received his medal for his services performed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As shared by the royal family on its official website, Dr. De Silva worked at a number of locations throughout the city of London, including "NHS Nightingale, the Test and Trace service, and GP clinics in London."

Jill Biden will attend King Charles' coronation instead of President Joe Biden

On April 4, 2023, CNN announced that First Lady Jill Biden will attend the coronation of King Charles III instead of President Joe Biden. The move was expected, as no sitting U.S. President has ever attended a coronation of a British monarch. The White House released a statement that affirmed the announcement. "The President congratulated the King on his upcoming Coronation and informed him that First Lady Jill Biden looks forward to attending on behalf of the United States." President Biden also announced that he will meet with King Charles in the future. 

Both Bidens have already connected with King Charles a number of times, and they both were in attendance at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral. First Lady Biden later revealed that she and King Charles spoke in private about his mother's life and death. She told CNN: "We really talked about the woman, and who she was, and what she meant really to the whole world."

Prince Harry will attend the coronation without Meghan Markle

For months, many speculated and wondered about whether or not Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex would attend King Charles III's coronation. The relationship between King Charles and Harry is believed to be highly strained. On April 12, 2023, Buckingham Palace announced in a short statement that Harry will attend the coronation without Meghan Markle and that the couple's two young children will remain home in California with their mother.

As reported by CNN, the statement reads: "Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on May 6th. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet." Harry most recently discussed his fractured relationship with the royal family in his book "Spare" which was released in January 2023.

At the time of publication, it is not entirely clear if Harry will have much of a role in his father's coronation, especially as he and the Duchess of Sussex are no longer working royals.

There are rumors that Lionel Richie and Paul McCartney will perform

It's anticipated that many people will be celebrating the crowning of King Charles III, and this reportedly includes a number of celebrity entertainers who are rumored to be slated to perform at the event. The Sun reported that Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, and Take That are on the list of performers, and that former Beatle Paul McCartney could also take the stage.

However, a number of groups and artists have reportedly turned down the invitation to perform at the event. These are said to include Adele, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Elton John.

As The Daily Mail noted, event organizers have reportedly had a difficult time lining up acts. "Although booking performers hasn't been easy, due to busy schedules and the last minute nature of the gig, bosses are quietly confident that a very special event is coming together," a source said. If confirmed, this won't be the first time that Midler has performed for the royal family, as she previously took the stage that Royal Variety Performance Show in 2009 and again in 2014.

The Queen Consort was called 'Queen Camilla' on the invitation

The official invitation for King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort's coronation was revealed on April 5, 2023. The invite was notable for a few reasons, and chief among them was the fact that Camilla, Queen Consort is simply referred to as "Queen Camilla" for the first time. A palace source told CNN that the change was made for a few key reasons, one of which was that it was time for it to be made. "It made sense to refer to Her Majesty as the Queen Consort in the early months of His Majesty's reign, to distinguish from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."

The source continued and explained that when paired next to the name "King Charles," it's only logical to write "Queen Camilla." As the royal source put it: "All former Queen Consorts have been known as 'Queen' plus their first name."

The two royals also took the opportunity to share a new photo along with the invitation. The invite itself is printed on recycled paper and printed on it is "an illustrated border of wild flowers and the Green Man from British folklore."

Several children of friends of the royal family have roles in the coronation

Adults aren't the only ones who will have roles in the coronation — though royal watchers can certainly expect to see the members of King Charles III's family out and about on the big day — there will also be several children involved in making the day go smoothly. 

Eight pages of honor have been named as part of the coronation ceremony (via Town & Country). These include 9-year-old Prince George, son of Prince William and second in line to the throne following his father. They also include Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, the 13-year-old son of David Cholmondeley and Rose Hanbury, who is notable for the rumors that she and Prince William had an affair. 

These two will be joined by Master Nicholas Barclay, whose grandmother Sarah Troughton is very close to Camilla, Queen Consort and is also a cousin of King Charles; 12-year-old Master Ralph Tollemache, whose grandparents are good friends of King Charles; Master Gus Lopes and Master Louis Lopes, Camilla's grandsons; Master Freddy Parker Bowles, another grandson of Camilla's; and Master Arthur Elliott, Camilla's grand-nephew.

The Princess of Wales' mother is reportedly using the coronation to promote her own business

The coronation hasn't been without its own drama, and there are some rumors that Carole Middleton, the mother of Catherine, Princess of Wales, is using the coronation to promote her own party planning business. 

The Middletons have long been known for their family business Party Pieces, and the brand has started selling a line of coronation-themed products that are an obvious nod to their close royal affiliation. As reported by Yahoo! News, one item, in particular, has surprised people who have seen it online: a banner that reads "King Charles III God Save the King."

It's believed by some that the family is using the coronation to boost lagging sales, especially as there have been rumors that the Middletons are hoping to sell and are nearly $2 million in debt. A source explained to The Daily Mail that part of the problem has been a slow market, as well as strikes. "Carole's been explaining that it has been a terrible Christmas, made worse by the postal strikes. She has emphasised that she'd like to continue doing business with them [the suppliers], but would like terms allowing Party Pieces 90 days rather than the usual 30 days," the source 

King Charles plans to include different religions in the ceremony

There have also been some conversations that indicate not everyone is fully on board with King Charles III's plan for his coronation ceremony itself. As the head of the Church of England, it's assumed that there will be plenty of Christian songs and iconography throughout the service. However, King Charles has made it clear that he wants to represent a modern Britain at his ceremony, and therefore wants to include nods to a number of religions.

The Daily Mail reported that church leaders have taken issue with this goal. In early April 2023, the outlet noted: "Church sources say the monarch has been told that his desire for a 'diverse' ceremony, including participation by non-Christians, risks clashing with centuries- old canon law, which bars Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and other faith leaders from reading out prayers during the service."

The outlet also reported that part of the issue is that church leaders don't want to cede parts of the ceremony to leaders from other faiths. Both Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will officiate at the ceremony, and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell have issued statements that insist the coronation is "rooted in long-standing tradition and Christian symbolism."