Royal coronations are the epitome of glitzy, glamorous ceremonies that mark a British monarch’s formal ascension to the throne. These momentous events are a mix and match of religious and political rites that abound with symbolism, circumstance, and pomp, filled with century-old traditions.
The institution itself is already more than 1,000 years old, and King Charles III’s upcoming coronation ceremony on the 6th of May is not just rife with history; it is also the best time and place for the British monarchy to remind the public of its enduring role not just in the country but also in the rest of the world.
What happens during these ceremonies in the first place? Who’s included in the official list of guests? Take a look at the ten things you didn’t know about the coronation ceremony to get a glimpse of what will happen during this much-awaited occasion.
1. King Charles is the 40th sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey
The coronation itself doesn’t necessarily mark the moment of anointing a new monarch. The truth is that there is never a time when there is no monarch. Once a queen or king passes away, their heir will become the new succeeding monarch right away.
The Accession Council meets at St. James’ Palace within days for the legal confirmation of the new monarch. Proclamations to the public are then made in different locations all over the country. It was likely how the news of a new monarch was spread in the past centuries.
2. Operation Golden Orb Has Been in Place for Years in Preparation for the Coronation
Believe it or not, the plans for the coronation ceremony of the King had already been underway for several years, known as Operation Golden Orb as its secret code name. One of the notable parts of the ceremony will be investing the jewel-encrusted sceptres and the regalia of the golden orb of the sovereign in the new king.
3. Approximately 2,000 guests will witness the coronation
Around 2,000 guests are anticipated to be invited to the king’s coronation. While this figure may seem huge, it’s a bit smaller than Westminster Abbey’s total capacity. It was also significantly lower than during the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, which had a staggering 8,000 guests, most of whom took their seats in the grandstands specially built for the occasion.
4. The anointing of the new monarch is part of the coronation ceremony
The anointing oil that will be used for the ceremony is infused with several essential oils, including orange blossom, amber, benzoin, neroli, jasmine, rose, cinnamon, and sesame. The formulation for this oil was inspired by the same oil used during the coronation of the late queen and has been used for many centuries. The same oil will also be used for anointing the Queen Consort.
Sanctified in Jerusalem, this oil was made from the olives that were cultivated in groves located on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene, and at the Monastery of the Ascension. Princess Alice of Greece, the grandmother of the king, is buried at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene.
5. The Flora of the UK’s Four Nations is Incorporated in the Coronation Emblem
The flora includes Northern Ireland’s shamrock, Wales’ daffodil, Scotland’s thistle, and England’s rose. These images combine to form the shape of St. Edward’s Crown.
6. The law only mandates the Coronation Oath itself
Only one aspect of the coronation ceremony is mandated by law, and that’s the coronation oath itself and nothing else. The monarch’s oath includes the pledge for governing the peoples of the realms of the Commonwealth and the United Kingdom.
But since the wording of the oath has changed through the years according to changes in territory, the oath of the new king will likely be different from that of his mother.
7. The Upcoming Coronation Ceremony is Less Extravagant Than Its Predecessors
The government of the UK will shoulder the funding for the coronation ceremony, but it’s expected that it may not have the same level of extravagance as the earlier ones. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 had an estimated cost of £1.57 million, which is currently equivalent to an enormous £46 million.
8. King Charles III Will Wear St. Edward’s Crown
St. Edward’s Crown is made of solid gold with a weight of 4 pounds and 12 ounces. This crown was traditionally used during the coronation ceremony. In December, however, it was discreetly removed from the Tower of London to be resized for the king just in time for the coronation.
Initially, it was made for the coronation of the king as a replacement for the medieval crown that the parliamentarians melted back in 1649 after the execution of King Charles I.
The Jewel House at the Tower of London serves as the home of the crown jewels, with armed guards keeping them safe and secure. These jewels are held in trust for the nation by the king and queen and are passed on to the next monarch once they ascend to the throne.
9. Then-Prince Charles Had His Exclusive, Specially Illustrated Children’s Invitation During His Mother’s Coronation Ceremony
When he was still the prince, King Charles III was the first child to witness the coronation of his mother as sovereign. Since she was still too young, Princess Anne was unable to attend. However, it’s not yet clear if the king’s grandchildren will also attend the coronation, although Prince George is expected to be there.
10. All Coronation Ceremonies Were Held at Westminster Abbey Since 1066
Any location that was most convenient at the time became the venue for coronation ceremonies. Before Westminster Abbey, the events were held at Bath, Canterbury, and Oxford. But the religious ceremony remained almost unchanged for over 1,000 years.
These are just some of the facts that you probably didn’t know about the coronation ceremony. But if there’s one thing people know, it’s that this event is highly anticipated not just by the country but by the world as a whole as well!
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