King Charles III coronation details revealed by Palace
The countdown to the King Charles’s Coronation has begun as preparations enter their final phase with just 10 days to go.
As Union flags line the Mall and seating and platforms are errected outside Buckingham Palace, here’s a look at how the nation and the monarch is preparing for the monumentous occasion on May 6.
Firstly, Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, took a brief pre-Coronation holiday to Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, enjoying a period of rest before they transition into the new, more demanding roles.
The late Queen Elizabeth II took a week of “complete rest” in Scotland ahead of her own Coronation 70 years ago, and it’s likely Charles was doing the same thing with his wife Camilla.
Meanwhile, in the UK capital, the BBC is checking its technical equipment ahead of the live television broadcast, while airport style scanners and checkpoints will be set up ready to screen the 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey.
At the Palace, glittering crowns have been resized and altered, and the jewels themselves have been carefully polished for the big day.
Elsewhere, Westminster Abbey – the venue for the deeply religious service – has shut its doors to visitors following its annual Anzac Day on Tuesday, and is being prepped for the historic ceremony.
A dais, known as the Coronation theatre is being built, as the clergy involved intensively prepare for their important roles.
Chairs inside the Abbey will be arranged, any decorations or hangings will be added, and the church will be spotlessly cleaned.
Eventually the Coronation Chair, which dates from around 1300 and on which the King will be crowned, will be carefully moved onto the Cosmati Pavement, where it will take centre stage facing the High Altar in the Sacrarium.
The Coronation theatre and Coronation chair will remain in place when the Abbey reopens on May 8, with visitors who have booked timed tickets able to see the historic scene until May 13.
At some point – amid great security after previously being stolen – the ancient Stone of Destiny will be brought from Scotland to be placed under the chair, as is tradition.
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Careful checks are also being made to the robes and gowns due to be worn by Charles, Camilla and other senior royals during the grand service.
The elaborately-decorated invitations have been posted and received, and feature a colourful abundance of wildflowers and wildlife and the motif of the head of the Green Man.
A replica of the Coronation stage built in the Buckingham Palace ballroom has allowed Charles and Camilla to secretly rehearse for the big day, but with Westminster Abbey now closed, in situ rehearsals can take place, with the King and Camilla expected to join some in person.
For Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953, a host of walk-throughs were carried out and attended by the monarch in the days running up to the ceremony, including a full dress rehearsal.
The Duchess of Norfolk – wife of the Earl Marshal who was in overall charge of the Coronation – had the duty of standing in for the Queen during drills when she was not there.
Detailed planning documents will set out directions for the movement of the King and his consort inside the Abbey and the placing of the clergy at the crucial moments.
Orchestrating their positions is key to ensuring the day goes smoothly, especially during the high-pressure anointing and the crowning.
Ceremonial diagrams were produced in 1953 in order to avoid a “collision” of key players – arrows illustrated their routes and the Queen was represented by a circle with the capital S for sovereign and the Archbishop of Canterbury by a circle with a capital C.
The Archbishop has received Charles III’s specially-commissioned red leather bound and gold-leaf decorated Coronation Bible – which the King will use when he makes his Coronation Oath.
Early morning rehearsals have seen the military parade through the empty streets of Central London, and hundreds of service personnel followed the procession route on horseback.
More than 6,000 members of the armed forces will take part on the day, and uniforms are being polished, horses groomed and routines meticulously practised.
A cast of thousands will be involved in the May 6 ceremony, from choristers and clergy to the scores of police patrolling the streets.
In the Royal Mews, the Gold State Coach and Diamond Jubilee State coach will be cleaned and checked, and the eight Windsor Greys pulling the carriages are undergoing special training to deal with the intense noise levels and crowds.
Staff at the equestrian stables are turning out to greet the animals with flags, drums, shouts and cheers on a daily basis to make sure they are ready.
Seating is being assembled on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, with union flags proudly on display.
Meanwhile, a ring of steel is expected in the capital and policing minister Chris Philp described it as a “huge policing operation”, with heads of state and foreign royals from around the world are set to travel to the UK.
Thousands of people will gather on the streets to see the newly crowned King and Queen Consort process in their carriage and appear on the balcony.
At Buckingham Palace, head royal chef Mark Flanagan is preparing to cater for a glittering reception for foreign royals and other dignitaries the night before the Coronation.
And royal fans are trying their hand at baking the Coronation Quiche – personally chosen by Charles and Camilla as their celebratory dish.
Other more unusual preparations are likely to emulate those chosen for the Queen’s state funeral last September.
A falcon patrolled the Abbey for four days beforehand to prevent London’s pigeons from disrupting the solemn national occasion.
The 15-year-old hooded bird called Rufus was taken up to the roof by the Abbey Falconer to scare the pigeons away.
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