For the past 900 years the coronation has been held in Westminster Abbey – William the Conqueror was the first monarch to be crowned there, and Charles will be the 40th.
On May 6, it will be a coronation of many faiths and many languages.
King Charles III, 73, is keen to show that he can be a unifying figure for everyone in the United Kingdom, and will be crowned in a ceremony that will for the first time include the active participation of faiths other than the Church of England.
Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders will take part in various aspects of the coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office said Saturday, as it revealed details of a service it described as an act of Christian worship that will reflect contemporary society.
The ceremony also will include female bishops for the first time, as well as hymns and prayers sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic, as well as English.
The coronation ceremony reflects Charles’ efforts to show that the 1,000-year-old monarchy is still relevant in a country that is much more diverse than it was when his mother was crowned 70 years ago.
Built around the theme “Called to Serve,” the coronation service will begin with one of the youngest members of the congregation — a Chapel Royal chorister — greeting the king. Charles will respond by saying, “In His name and after His example, I come not to be served but to serve.”
The service will also include many historic elements underscoring the ancient traditions through which power has been passed on to new kings and queens throughout the centuries.
In the most sacred part of the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint the king with oil, consecrating him and setting him apart from his subjects. This will be followed by the presentation of the coronation regalia, sacred objects like the orb and scepter that symbolize the monarch’s power and responsibilities.
In another innovation that reflects the changed religious landscape in Britain, members of the House of Lords from the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions will present the king with objects with no explicit Christian symbolism.
It is an Anglican religious service, carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the climax of the ceremony, he will place St Edward’s Crown on Charles’s head – a solid 2.3kg gold crown, dating from 1661. This is the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, and is only worn by the monarch at the moment of coronation.
As the new king is crowned, the refrain “God Save the King” will echo through the Abbey.
After Charles is crowned, the traditional homage of the peers will be replaced by an “homage of the people,” in which people in the Abbey and those watching on television will be invited to affirm their allegiance to the king.
Camilla will then be anointed, in a form similar to that of Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, in 1937. However, Camilla’s anointing won’t be hidden behind a screen.
The congregation will also be invited to say the Lord’s Prayer’ in the language of their choice.
Charles: The King
Charles was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948. He was 4 years old when his mother was crowned as Queen Elizabeth II.
He married Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. From that marriage they had two sons: Prince William, born on 21 June 1982; and Prince Harry, born on 15 September 1984.
Their marriage was dissolved on 28 August 1996. Lady Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.
On 9 April 2005, he married the Queen Consort Camilla in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall, Windsor.
Koh-i-noor diamond not part of the ceremony
The Koh-i-noor diamond won’t be used during King Charles III’s coronation, allowing Buckingham Palace to sidestep the controversy surrounding a gem acquired during the age of Empire.
Camilla, the queen consort, will not use the diamond in her coronation crown. Rather than commission a new crown, as is customary, Camilla will modify Queen Mary’s crown using diamonds from
Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection, the palace said in a statement.
Seized by the East India Company after its victory in the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1849, the gem was given to Queen Victoria and has remained part of the Crown Jewels ever since. But countries including India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan have all claimed ownership.