• Saturday, June 10, 2023


From the procession to the anointing: a guide to the key moments in King Charles’ coronation

The coronation will feature a procession of about one mile in length, with the participation of approximately 4,000 armed forces personnel

The Gold State Coach is ridden alongside members of the military during a full overnight dress rehearsal of the Coronation Ceremony of Britain’s King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort in London, Britain, May 3, 2023. (Photo: Reuters)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

What are the most anticipated highlights of King Charles’ coronation on Saturday (06), from the religious symbolism of his anointment to the pivotal moment when the crown is placed on his head?


During the coronation of King Charles on Saturday (06), one of the highlights will be a magnificent procession of the royals in historic coaches through central London. This grand spectacle is a customary feature of any significant state occasion.

Breaking with tradition, King Charles and his wife Camilla, who will also be crowned queen during the ceremony, will travel from Buckingham Palace to London’s Westminster Abbey in the modern Diamond Jubilee State Coach.

This coach was designed to celebrate the 60th year of the reign of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

After the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, King Charles and his wife Camilla will make their way back to Buckingham Palace in the Coronation Procession.

But unlike their journey to the Abbey, they will ride in the 260-year-old, four-tonne Gold State Coach, pulled by eight horses.

This historic coach has been used in every coronation since King William IV’s in 1831 and was first used by George III to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762.

Although the Gold State Coach is a magnificent sight, the return journey will be much slower as the coach can only travel at a walking pace.

Nonetheless, the route will still cover a significant distance, approximately one-third of the 7.2 km (4.5 mile) route taken by King Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, during her coronation in 1953 when millions of people lined the streets of London to witness the historic event.

The coronation will also feature a procession of about one mile in length, with the participation of approximately 4,000 armed forces personnel, making it the most extensive military parade of its kind in a generation.


During the coronation service, King Charles will be anointed with holy Chrism oil, which is made using olives from the Mount of Olives and is consecrated in Jerusalem.

This tradition dates back to the Old Testament of the Bible, which describes the anointing of King Solomon by Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet.

The anointing ceremony emphasises the monarch’s spiritual status and is often considered the most sacred part of the coronation.

Charles Farris, a Public Historian at Historic Royal Palaces, explained that historically, the anointing ceremony was similar to the anointing of priests and bishops, and it serves as a way for the Church to solidify its relationship with the new monarch and as a symbol to all present that the monarch has been marked out as someone very special.


The coronation ceremony will showcase 12 new works, personally chosen or commissioned by Charles, including a brand-new coronation anthem from acclaimed musical theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Alongside the new pieces, the ceremony will also feature the customary trumpet fanfares and traditional music that has been a part of coronations for the past four centuries.

The most recognisable of these is “Zadok the Priest,” a coronation anthem composed by George Frideric Handel for King George II in 1727, and sung at every coronation since. Fans of soccer may recognise the famous tune as the UEFA Champions League anthem.

The most significant moment of the coronation ceremony is when King Charles, seated on a 700-year-old coronation chair, will receive the regalia, including bejewelled orbs, sceptres, swords, and a ring.

The climax of the ceremony is the placement of the St Edward’s Crown, weighing 2.2 kg (4 lb 12 ounces) and a replacement for an original from the 11th century, on Charles’ head by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

According to Professor Kate Williams, a royal historian, “It is the most blingy way of signing your job contract”.

She adds, “The big moment, the big photograph moment, the big moment that everyone’s going to be talking about, making memes of, making TikToks of, that’s when the king is crowned, when the king has the crown put on his head”.


Upon returning to Buckingham Palace, the grand finale of the coronation ceremony is the appearance of the senior members of the royal family on the balcony, a tradition seen at major royal events such as weddings and jubilees.

The event will feature a fly past by military aircraft, including the renowned Red Arrows Royal Air Force aerobatic team, and historic planes from World War Two.

Although the newly crowned King and Queen will undoubtedly attract attention, all eyes will also be on Prince Harry to see if he makes an appearance.

In addition, many will be looking out for Prince Louis, the youngest child of heir Prince William, after he captured hearts during last year’s celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee by covering his ears and screaming amid the noise of the aircraft fly past.


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