Although His Majesty King Charles III acceded to the throne – i.e. actually became king – upon the death of his mother HRH Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, the coronation by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey is an important ceremonial tradition.
King Charles III will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned in the present Abbey; the first was Edward I in 1274. The ceremony will take place on Saturday May 6th, with a bank holiday on Monday 8th in celebration of the historic event.
The Coronation Procession
On the morning of the coronation the King will travel to the Abbey from Buckinham Palace in what’s called The King’s Procession. After the ceremony he will return to the palace in The Coronation Procession, an even more elaborate affair including other members of the Royal Family. Once back at Buckingham Palace, there will be a traditional balcony appearance.
Details of the route have yet to be announced but expect crowds of well-wishers with bunting, Union Jack hats, tiny plastic flags and a Mexican wave of smartphones taking photos as the procession passes. Chances are that at least one of the processional journeys will be in the spectacularly ornate Gold State Coach, which is over 250 years old and has been used at every coronation since that of William IV. You can see this on show at The Royal Mews – although check before you book, as it may be undergoing preparation for the big day.
Unless you’re one of the ridiculously well-connected guests, you’ll just have to watch the actual ceremony on TV like the rest of us – although a big screen and a cheering crowd will make it a day to remember. Historic Royal Palaces are hosting a free screening of the coronation in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace and there are sure to be many other sites across London.
The Abbey will be closed to the public from 25th April-8th May for the coronation but it has some celebratory events planned.
The Church & Crown Tour
Tickets sold out quickly for this amazing tour which includes stories of mishaps and barred guests from previous coronations and a visit the chapel which houses the Coronation Chair. It also offers visitors the first chance in living memory to take off their shoes and stand on the Cosmati Pavement, laid in 1269 by Henry III. This is where the Coronation Chair will be placed for the crowning of HM The King on Saturday 6th May.
The Coronation Exhibition
Get the most out of this historic occasion with a crash course in coronation procedures, regalia and ceremonial objects.
See our events listing here.
Abbey Late: Crowns, Coronations and Creativity
The chance to chat to past kings and queens (well, at least knowledgeable actors in costume), make your own family seal and actually touch some of the crown jewels.
See our events listing here.
Royal Gun Salutes
In London, Royal salutes are fired at midday from the Tower of London, Hyde Park or Green Park, depending upon the occasion. The basic salute is 21 rounds, fired at ten second intervals, but in Hyde Park or Green Park an extra 20 are fired as it is a Royal Park.
For King Charles III’s coronation, the salute will be fired from Hyde Park.
The Coronation Concert
On Sunday, 7th May 2023, a special Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast by the BBC and BBC Studios live in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Several thousand pairs of tickets were available via a public ballot, which has now closed; lucky winners will be notified by the end of April.
Iconic locations across the UK will be lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations; it should be quite the spectacle.
The Coronation Big Lunch
Also on Sunday is the Coronation Big Lunch, a chance to connect with friends, family and your local community. Watch out for local street parties or celebrations in your own part of town. Nothing happening? Why not plan something – anything from a cup of tea with a neighbour to a bring-a-dish lunch for the whole street.
The Big Help Out
Monday, 8th May 2023 is the Big Help Out, your chance to volunteer some time and get involved in your local community. Nothing says good karma like offering a helping hand; meet some like-minded locals and maybe learn something new. Find out how here.
Crown to Couture Exhibition
The largest exhibition ever staged at Kensington Palace, Crown to Couture brings together over 200 items from the fashionable royal Georgian court to the celebrity red-carpet stunners of today and traces the path between them.
See our events listing here.
The Tower of London
Schools across the UK were invited to take part in a competition to design illustrated Coronation benches, exploring their hopes for themes such as unity, peace and the environment during the reign of King Charles III.
The winning designs will be made into benches which will remain in situ at the Tower throughout the summer, before being sent back to the winning schools as a lasting memory of the Coronation.
If you have a ticket for the Tower then don’t miss the free Yeoman Warder (aka Beefeater) tours – and check out the Ravenmaster on Insta @ravenology1 for some serious insider info on the Tower’s historic – and adorable – ravens.
Covent Garden Coronation Garden
Over 4.000 flags and a classic British Garden pop-up with beer, ploughman’s and singalongs around the old Joanna; see our listing here.
Mayfair’s Coronation Garden Party
Grosvenor Square will have a magic garden makeover with wine, cocktails and deckchairs to watch the Coronation celebrations and Windsor concert. Full details here.
Wembley Park Coronation Celebration
To honour the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on Saturday 6th May, North London neighbourhood Wembley Park will be holding a free-to-attend Coronation Day celebration; see our events listing here.
If you’d like to see your local celebration added to the list, let us know!