In three months, on Saturday May 6, will take place the coronation of Charles III in Westminster Abbey in London. Behind the scenes, the operation called “Golden Orb” is becoming more precise. Everything you need to know about this historic event to come.
If Prince Charles became king when his mother Elizabeth II breathed her last on September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, it is nevertheless necessary to wait several months for him to be crowned in Westminster Abbey in London. A historic ceremony, which has not taken place since June 1953 and the coronation of Elizabeth II. In her time, the monarch also had to wait several months before being crowned after the death of her father George VI, which occurred in February 1952. And for good reason: the event requires a meticulous organization. Behind the scenes, the coronation of Charles III is known as “Operation Golden Orb” and is prepared for years. Nothing must be left to chance. To keep the British people waiting, and above all, to give them the opportunity to rejoice, Buckingham Palace has revealed the program of festivities surrounding the coronation of Charles III. Three days of festivities that are already shaping up to be grandiose.
What is the detailed program of the coronation of Charles III?
On Saturday, January 21, Buckingham Palace announced in a statement, organize a “historic event”, festive and friendly that will give “the opportunity for people to meet”. To do this, no less than three days of festivities have been planned from May 6. The first day will be devoted to the inevitable ceremony in Westminster Abbey in London during which the King and Queen Consort will be crowned, in a religious ceremony that “will be forward-looking, while being rooted in tradition and long-standing pageantry.
The following day, a huge concert with “international music icons and contemporary stars” will take place at Windsor Castle, located west of London. Even if the names of the artists have not yet been announced, many stars should be there. All over the United Kingdom, English people are invited to take part in the “big coronation lunch”, but also in neighborhood parties to “celebrate friendship”. Monday May 8th will be a public holiday, Buckingham Palace wants to raise awareness and encourage people to volunteer.
Why Charles III’s coronation ceremony will not be like Elizabeth II’s
There are 70 years between the coronation of Charles III and that of his mother Elizabeth II. Thus, many changes are to be expected. At the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, 8,000 guests were invited. Kings, princes, ministers, squires, chamberlains and other pages were among them. The total bill: 46 million pounds today, or nearly 53 million euros, reports Capital. More than ever, the time has come to set an example. According to the wishes of Charles III, only 2,000 people will receive the precious sesame to attend this coronation, which will be broadcast in full on television. With one detail: it will be in color and should not last more than one hour, and not three hours like his mother! Other notable changes: the dress code will also be modified, passing from ceremonial dresses to more casual lounge suits. Charles III, anxious to highlight the diversity of the United Kingdom, representatives of the country’s main religious communities (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist) must take part in the event.
The age-old and sacred ritual, however, is not expected to change one bit. Celebrated in Westminster Abbey under the direction of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the coronation will be marked by several highlights. In front of the altar, where the insignia of power will shine brightly, Charles III will solemnly pronounce the coronation oath. Known for his sensitivity, he will not fail. The sovereign will be anointed with the holy chrism and will then be given the two royal scepters of the Cross and the Dove, the Orb and the ring.
Then comes the most solemn moment. Without any noise in the audience, the imperial crown of Saint Edward, on which more than a thousand precious stones shine, will be placed on his head before the “God save the King” resounds within the walls of the church building. At his side, Camilla, the new queen consort, will also wear a crown. Will the mysterious crown with the Koh-i-Noor diamond as its center stone be placed on her head? The doubt remains. Cheered by the crowd, with the Union Jack flags flying, Charles III will later make a remarkable appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. At his side, smiling and proud, his long-time ally, Camilla, Queen Consort. Next to them, the active members of the royal family, like the future heir to the throne, the new Prince of Wales, William, accompanied by his wife Kate Middleton and their three children.
What are these health problems that could complicate his coronation?
Three days of festivities are expected, but if the British are already looking forward to it, most of them do not suspect that behind the scenes, the new sovereign may well have to grit his teeth several times. Charles III suffered from terrible back pain. Bad falls from a horse while playing polo would be the cause of his problems. Thus, it is whispered that an osteopath would be constantly at his side to relieve him. It is therefore an understatement to say that the day of the coronation should be like a real way of the cross for the monarch. Indeed, Charles III and Camilla should take place in the Gold State Coach, a particularly uncomfortable carriage, and follow a long procession to greet the jubilant crowd. For the king, it will be necessary to clench the teeth and not to let anything appear. Unless his doctors and other valets provide him with lumbar cushions for the occasion, as they are used to doing. The whole thing will have to go unnoticed.
During the service, Elizabeth II’s eldest son will also have to breathe in and out calmly. Charles III will have to sit on the wooden coronation chair, one of the most precious and famous pieces of furniture in the world, but very uncomfortable, especially for someone with a bad back… There again, the trusted men and other valets of the sovereign could slip a small cushion to relieve his Majesty. Camilla, his faithful ally since always, will have to find the words to calm the king, and to appease him, while all the cameras will be focused on them.
hat roles will Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children play?
During the religious ceremony, Charles III will pronounce, as tradition dictates, the coronation oath, receive the anointing before the Archbishop of Canterbury places the crown of Saint Edward on his head. Then it will be his eldest son, Prince William, heir to the throne, to be the center of attention. “Prince William, who notably became Duke of Cornwall upon the death of Queen Elizabeth and titled Prince of Wales by his father the next day, will have a role: he will kneel before his father to ‘pay homage’ to the new king. The tradition is that the Prince of Wales rises, touches the crown, and kisses the sovereign on the left cheek” explains Philip Kyle, author of a biography on Charles III published by Perrin.
Kate Middleton, not far from her husband, will attend the event. The style, the elegance of the Princess of Wales will be scrutinized. If George and Charlotte should be present, and show exemplarity as at the funeral of Elizabeth II, both trained to stand at such a ceremony, it is not certain that the youngest, Prince Louis, attends the coronation. He should nevertheless appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and greet the crowd, which will not fail to melt the British.
Who are the expected guests?
If Elizabeth II had seen big in his time, during his coronation, inviting nearly 8,000 people, her son will have only 2,000 to 3,000 maximum, reports The Express. On the side of the crowned heads, if the American magazine People, has implied that Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife Charlene would be present, nothing has yet been acted. And an expert wonders. “It is the coronation of a head of state and the presence of another head of state at the ceremony is rather discouraged,” said Nicolas Fontaine of the website Histoires royales, before adding: “Members of European royal families and perhaps even international will certainly be present to represent the sovereigns but they should not travel in person. In general, it is the heirs to the throne who attend the coronation of the British sovereign.
Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle be present at the coronation of King Charles III?
The question is on everyone’s lips: will Prince Harry attend his father’s coronation? If Prince William will play a leading role, Prince Harry should stick to a role of simple spectator if he makes the trip. A new affront for the Spare, the substitute, as he calls himself, throughout his memoirs? Another potential humiliation and not the least: the salute to the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As at the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Sussex will not be invited to greet the crowd alongside the Windsors. By choosing to withdraw from the royal family, Prince Harry is paying a high price for his exile.
For the moment, Buckingham Palace has not announced the list of guests. But it is likely that Charles III will want to reach out to his son and invite him to the coronation celebrations. It is out of the question for the sovereign to have the wrong role. And this despite the open criticism of his youngest son in many interviews. But the case of Meghan Markle remains unresolved. For the time being, it is whispered that Prince Harry could make an express return trip to the United Kingdom, without his wife, who will remain in the United States to celebrate the birthday of their son Archie.
Photo credits: Agency / Bestimage