Coronation of King Charles III of the UK and 16 Interesting Facts about Coronations

king charles coronation

Updated On: November 09, 2023 by   Fatma MohamedFatma Mohamed

The eyes of the world turned to King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s coronation. If you are interested in occasions and special events that happen only a few times around the world, you definitely enjoyed this one.


When is the Coronation, and What Does it Entail?

The crowning ceremony of the monarchs of England, Scotland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom go back more than 1000 years. The coronation of the United Kingdom’s King is a ceremony (more precisely, the initiation rite) in which they are solemnly invested with regalia and crowned in Westminster Abbey. The event is a symbolic formality and does not reflect the starting date of the king’s reign. Whereas De Jure and De Facto, their reign begins from the moment of the previous king’s death while preserving the monarchy’s legal continuity.

So let’s learn more about the mind-blowing event of coronating King Charles III and Queen Camilla!

The Coronation: Date, Venue and Much More!

This special event usually takes place several months after the previous monarch’s death. It is considered a celebration of joy that would not be appropriate as mourning continued. This period also gives the planners and organisers enough time to complete the detailed arrangements required. King Charles III, the fortieth king, claimed the throne on 8 September 2022 after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who was the longest-ruling British monarch, and the royal event at which King Charles III and Queen Camilla were crowned was from 6 May 2023 to 8 May 2023.

Similarly, the previous crowning of Queen Elizabeth II was on 2 June 1953, after obtaining the reign on 6 February 1952, which is more than a year-difference.

The coronation took place at Westminster Abbey, which has been every coronation’s venue since 1066. Before the Abbey was built, those celebrations were performed wherever convenient, in Bath, Oxford or Canterbury. Due to the scale and importance of this event, temporary furnishings and indoor and outdoor extensions at Westminster Abbey, where the additions to the monastery include an annexe and additional seats designed to accommodate the highest number of guests, are added.

Guests are always welcomed to attend all the parts of the ceremonies except for when the monarch is anointed with the chrism oil, which must be performed privately. This moment is extraordinary, allowing the monarch to reflect on the responsibilities and duties that they are undertaking; therefore, it is treated with the greatest of reverence. The oil which was used to anoint King Charles III was made in Jerusalem, using olive oils from the Mount of Olives.

The Oath of Coronation, in which the monarch swears to rule the peoples of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms depending on their own laws and customs, as well as the Accession Declaration Oath, are the only parts required by law. The formulation of this oath has constantly developed to keep up with the changes surrounding the UK and the wider commonwealth.

The crowning ceremonies included 12 new commissions of music, consisting of a Coronation Anthem. The Official Royal Harpist also contributed as part of the Coronation Orchestra.

Finally, we cannot forget to mention the organiser behind all this, The Earl Marshal. This position has been carried out by The Duke of Norfolk since 1386. The 18th Duke of Norfolk carried out the duty of the King’s Coronation this year. He was also responsible for the Official Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Let’s dig deeper into some facts related to that defining day in the history of UK. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

More Interesting Facts About Coronation

  • Only three monarchs have not had a coronation in 950 years since the first recorded crowning.
    • The first monarch who hadn’t had a coronation was Edward V. The monarch and his brother were imprisoned in the Tower of London. Supposedly, they were murdered by their uncle, Richard III, before the ceremony.
    • The second monarch who hadn’t had a crowning was Lady Jane Grey, the legitimate heiress to the throne after her cousin Edward VI. Lady Jane Grey went to the Tower of London for her crowning ceremony’s preparations, but unfortunately, she was taken as a prisoner by Edwards’s older sister, Mary. So, Lady Jane Grey ruled only for nine days, then was executed for high treason after six months of arriving at the Tower as a queen.
    • Edward VIII, who waived the throne following a scandalous love affair with Wallis Simpson, was the final monarch without a coronation. His brother, George VI, rose to the throne instead of him and was crowned on the same date planned for Edward’s inaugural ceremony.
  • The first king to be crowned at Westminster Abbey was William the Conqueror in 1066.
  • Queen Elizabeth was the last queen consort to be crowned, so the coronation of King Charles III, besides the queen consort’s crowning, will be for the first time since 1937.
  • An additional coronation annexe was added to the venue, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II that featured all the animals from her heraldry, including unique stands inside the Abbey to accommodate all of her 8,000 guests.
  • Queen of Scots, Mary, was the youngest monarch to become a queen at six days old in 1542.
  • A “coronation spoon”, or the anointing spoon, is an innocuous gilded silver spoon that has been used to hold a secret mixture of oils since 1349 at every coronation to anoint the monarch.
  • The modern form of the coronation was known for the first time when King Edward VII was crowned in 1902. The ceremony included a state procession from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey, another parade inside, the Recognition, the Coronation Oath, the Anointing, and the Homage, and then another parade from the Abbey back to the Palace.
  • The Tower of London contributed to the coronation before it became known as a prison and dungeon. A long time ago, the monarch stayed two nights before being crowned at the Tower of London to prepare for the ceremony. Then the monarch processed through London to Westminster. This happened last in 1661 with Charles II. 
  • As we talk about interesting facts about the coronation, one is also related to Scotland. Interestingly, one of the essential coronation artefacts, The Stone of Scone, symbolising the Scottish monarchy, was stolen from Scotland. The old stone was used in the inauguration of Scottish kings for centuries before King Edward I confiscated it in 1296. In 1950, the stone was stolen by a group of Scottish students and was found three months later. In 1996, the stone was returned safely to Scotland. So, it’s understandable that it would make short visits to Westminster Abbey for all future coronations.
  • Not every coronation goes smoothly, but some have been exceptionally bad. ‘The last of the botched coronations’ was the nickname of Queen Victoria’s coronation due to the numerous unpleasant series of events that took place that day. It was so bad that a special committee of historians was tasked with making a controlled plan for future monarchs to follow. These are some examples of the unforgettable incidents that took place during the ceremony:
    • The coronation ring was too small, and the archbishop forced the ring onto her finger painfully.
    • Elderly peer Lord Rolle fell down the stairs.
    • A bishop announced the end of the ceremony at the wrong moment.
  • The Gold Royal Coach is an eight-horse-drawn carriage enclosed to be used on significant official events, such as coronations, the jubilees of a monarch and royal weddings by the Royal Family. The official royal coach was used in every crowning from the period of George IV until World War II. The coach was the monarch’s standard transportation since the official opening of the parliament.
  • St Edward’s Chair was made for Edward I in 1300. Since then, the chair has been used in every coronation. It is constantly kept in Westminster Abbey.
  • The St. Edward’s Crown, which is immersed in history and tradition and was made in 1661, weighs almost 2.2kg and is made of pure gold. The Crown of St. Edward has been used in every crowning for a British monarch since King Charles II and was used as well in the coronation of King Charles III.
  • The Sovereign’s Orb was made in 1661; since then, it has been in every coronation. It has pearls, precious stones and a large amethyst below the cross. 
  • The Sovereign’s Ring was initially made in 1831 for William IV. It has a cross on a single blue sapphire background. It is also known as ‘The Wedding Ring of England‘.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation was the first to be televised. What is really astonishing is that about 27 million people watched the crowning ceremonies on television, and the radio audience at the time exceeded 11 million listeners in the United Kingdom.
  • The first photo to be ever taken of a crowning ceremony was during the coronation of George V in the early 20th.
Coronation of King Charles III of the UK and 16 Interesting Facts about Coronations

That’s All

Many countries have many traditions, and the article sheds light on the traditions that characterise the United Kingdom and the coronation process. Here, we have finished that comprehensive coverage of the historic event to the United Kingdom and the world.

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