LONDON (AP) — Britain’s royal family turns the page on a new chapter on Saturday with the coronation of King Charles III — a show that echoes medieval times but with modern flourishes.
The pump, the apparatus and the symbolism dates back over 1,000 years, but this king’s coronation will feature new twists on lore and changes since the coronation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, 70 years ago.
Plans for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey call for a more muted affair than the last, although royals from other nations, heads of state and most of Charles’ family will be there, and the monarch plans to wear the same clothes like Elizabeth did.
Here are some things to know about coronation:
WHY HAVE THE CORONATION IF CHARLES IS ALREADY KING?
Charles automatically ascended the throne upon Elizabeth’s death on September 8and he was officially proclaimed British monarch two days later in an ascension ceremony first shown on television.
Charles said he was “deeply aware of this great heritage and the heavy duties and responsibilities of sovereignty which have now been handed down to me”.
There is no legal requirement for a coronation, and other European monarchies have abolished ceremonies.
But the deeply religious event, rich in insignia, is a more formal confirmation of his role as head of state. and titular head of the Church of England and was intended to show that the king’s authority came from God.
During the performance led by the spiritual leader of the church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles will be anointed with oilreceive the monarch’s traditional symbols – including the orb and scepter – and have the crown of St. Edwards placed on his head for the first time. Charles’s wifeCamilla, will be crowned queen consort.
HOW WILL IT BE DIFFERENT FROM THE LAST CORONATION?
The coronation ceremony dates back to the medieval period, and much of it remains unchanged.
Westminster Abbey has been the setting for the ritual since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.
The coronation of Elizabeth II in June 1953 was the first to be televised live. The black-and-white show attracted an audience of tens of millions in Britain and was later broadcast to global audiences. In the age of streaming and social media, people will be able to watch Charles’ coronation live – and in vivid reds, blues and golds – from virtually anywhere on the planet and post their takes with an emoji. crown created for the occasion.
Charles said he planned to downsize the monarchy. Her coronation is expected to reflect this with a ceremony shorter than her mother’s three-hour extravaganza and 2,000 guests in the audience – a quarter of the number who gathered to see Elizabeth crowned.
In a nod to the changing religious makeup of the UK, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh religious leaders will play a part in the coronation. This reflects Charles’s wish to be “the defender of religions”, as opposed to the “defender of the faith”.
The post-ceremony procession will also be significantly shorter than the 5-mile (8 kilometer) route that Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip took. around London in 1953. Charles and Camilla plan to take a more modern set of horse-drawn wheels for the 1.3-mile (2-kilometre) route from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey. Once crowned, they will step back in time and retrace the journey in the 260-year-old car – known for its hard driving – used at every coronation since that of William IV in 1831.
WHO IS ON THE GUEST LIST?
Around 100 heads of state are expected as well as royalty ranging from Japanese Crown Prince Akishino and his wife, Kiko, to King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia.
US will keep alive its string of presidents who have never attended a British royal coronation, although first lady Jill Biden is set to attend.
William, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, is expected to kneel before his father and pledge his loyalty in what is known as the Royal Blood Tribute.
Her younger brother Prince Harry, unhappy with the Duke of Sussex, is not expected to attend the service. His explosive memoir ‘Spare’, which became a bestseller earlier this year, made some unflattering claims about the royal family.
Until three weeks ago it was debated whether Harry and his wife, Meghan, would attend the coronation after making accusations of racism and media manipulation. to the royal family.
While Harry is therethe Duchess is to stay at the couple’s Southern California home with their two young children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
The coronation is just days before the first of Harry’s trials against the British tabloid press is due. The case could reveal more family secrets.
At a hearing in a similar case last week, Harry said in court papers that Buckingham Palace, with the Queen’s approval, had reached an agreement with Rupert Murdoch’s English newspapers to settle the phone hacking allegations without a trial. Harry said he was ordered by palace staff to drop his litigation because his father wanted to curry favor with the press.
The family drama does not end there. Charles’ brother Prince Andrew is also not expected to play a role in the ceremony. Andrew renounced his royal duties and was stripped of his military titles and patronages after revelations about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was forced to have sex with him when she was a teenager.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CORONATION?
With opinion polls showing that support for the monarchy has weakened in recent years, this is an opportunity for Charles to seek out and show the public embrace.
Crowds are expected to line the streets to cheer for the new king, and crowds will stand outside Buckingham Palace waiting for him to appear on the balcony after the procession.
While criticism of the crown has been relatively subdued in recent years out of respect for the Queen and her decades of service to the country, there is likely to be much more discussion about whether Britain still needs this antiquated institution or whether it should become a republic with an elected head of state.
The leader of the anti-monarchist group Republic said he expected to have more than 1,000 protesters dressed in yellow chanting “Not my king” as the royal motorcade passed.
For the vast majority, however, it will be a time to celebrate being British – or to show support for an institution that fascinates so many around the world.
The streets will be lined with Union flags, spectators will dress in red, white and blue, and military jets will fly over plumes of smoke in the national colours. The pomp and circumstances of the ceremony itself are also reminiscent of an era when Britain was the most powerful nation in the world.
WHO TAKES NOTE FOR THE CELEBRATION?
The public pays the bill for the coronation. There’s no official estimate yet of what it might cost. Some reports estimate it could exceed 100 million pounds ($125 million).
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said on Tuesday that some estimates were “more fanciful than others” and the true cost would be shared later.
The celebration comes as the UK faces a deadly cost of living crisis that has left many struggling to heat their homes this winter and put food on their tables.
But many people take advantage of the hype.
Officials expect to see tourism boost and there’s no shortage of coronation-themed events and commemorative products that could incur additional sales taxes.
Fans looking to remember the historic event can find everything from fine china to the souvenir pieces or even to the cardboard masks of Charles and Camilla. Coronation-themed cookies, chocolates and beers are likely to be quickly forgotten.
Danica Kirka contributed to this report.