In October 2022, just a few weeks after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the official website of the British Royal Family released details of the new king’s upcoming coronation. 

After much speculation, it was revealed that King Charles III would be crowned as the King of England in a lavish coronation ceremony – literally fit for a king – on the 6th May 2023. 

King Charles III in New Zealand in 2019 – Mark Tantrum, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As more details of the coronation emerged, along with news of an additional Bank Holiday to mark the celebrations, royal fans and followers around the world have become increasingly curious about how the ceremony will unfold. 

So, here are some insights into the historic coronation event, along with some of the coronation traditions of the past few centuries. 

What Happens When King Charles III Is Coronated? 

In the simplest terms, when King Charles III is coronated he will go through a formal and religious ceremony that involves a crown being placed upon his head. 

The coronation is an important and symbolic ceremony, as anyone who has followed the enormous amount of planning and preparing for this historic event will know. 

While the coronation includes some formal transfers of titles and powers to both the king and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, their positions as the heads of the British Royal Family are already secured. 

The formal crowning and anointing of sovereigns and monarchs is a symbolic occasion, and there are many traditions and nuances that are included in these vast and elaborate royal events. 

Yet the true power of a king or queen, i.e. their status and title as the reigning sovereign, is usually already in place long before the coronation ceremony. 

In the case of King Charles III, he became king as soon as his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away. His ascension to the throne was instant and automatic, in line with the laws of royal inheritance, and there was no need to wait for a formal ceremony before he could be king. 

So, the coronation is not so much about King Charles III becoming king – he is already king and has been for some months. The lavish ceremony is more about the symbolic and formal gesture of Charles and Camilla being publicly crowned, to present to the world the image of their new rank and status.

What Will The Coronation Ceremony Include? 

The coronation is a grand state occasion and many heads of state from around the world will be included on the guest list. 

The ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey – one of the most famous and popular venues for royal events – in the nation’s capital of London. 

As with many royal religious ceremonies, the service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the highest-ranking bishop within the Church of England. 

The most important moment of the entire coronation weekend is the moment when the crown is placed upon the heads of the new king and his queen consort, as well as the moment of anointing, when oil is applied to the forehead of the new sovereign in a deeply-rooted tradition among kings and queens. 

This latter aspect is regarded to be a sacred ritual, and it’s believed that King Charles III will perform this part of the ceremony away from the world’s cameras. The application of holy oils, in a tradition that dates back to biblical times, is deemed to be a more private part of the ceremony than the crowning event.  

As much as the anointing and the crowning are the most symbolic aspects of the coronation ceremony, they are just two of the elements to be included in this great and historic occasion. 

In line with tradition, a lavish and grand procession through the city of London will also be a memorable and iconic part of the coronation celebrations. Viewers and visitors can expect the mesmerising pageantry and impeccable precision that these royal events have become famous for. 

There will be two of these grand processions – the first is called the King’s Procession and marks the new king’s journey to the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The second procession is called the Coronation Procession and will see the newly crowned king and Queen consort return to Buckingham Palace, where they will make their appearance on the famous royal balcony. 

As well as the formal and state ceremonies, the entire Coronation Weekend has been designed to be a time of celebration and festivities across the entire United Kingdom. There has also been an inspiring theme of modern sensitivity and altruism, which promises a refreshing new phase of royal leadership under the famously forward-thinking new king. 

Will Camilla Be Crowned Queen? 

There has been much speculation around the topic of whether Camilla will also be crowned. Perhaps this is based on the fact that the previous monarch, Queen Elizabeth, was crowned alone, and her husband, Prince Philip, was not crowned alongside her. 

It was revealed by the official website of the British Royal Family that Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom, would indeed be crowned alongside her husband, King Charles III. 

Given the importance of history and tradition, as well as royal legislature and public opinion, it’s likely that this decision was not taken lightly. It’s been suggested that King Charles is keen to introduce a new, more modern phase of monarchy, and the decision for Camilla to be crowned may be evidence of this philosophy. (It’s believed that Prince Philip wasn’t crowned alongside his wife due to issues of gender.) 

Whatever the logistics and politics of this controversial decision, the nation will once again have a crowned king and queen consort, a couple who are already establishing an inspiring new era of sovereignty with their unique roles and plans for their country and their leadership. 

The King’s Coronation of 2023 promises to be a spectacular display of the royal pomp and pageantry that is so beloved by millions around the world. The planning has been designed to make this a national celebration, one that will mark the formal status of the new king and queen consort, but also a new era of community and kindness at all levels of society.