King Charles III coronation: Date, times, route, guests and what you need to know

Monarch will be crowned alongside his wife in historic ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla pose for a photo at Buckingham Palace. AP
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King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla's coronation will take place on May 6, with Britain declaring a bank holiday weekend so that as many people as possible can enjoy the event.

Security will be tight as world leaders fly in and fans of the royal family — as well as others wanting to see history being made — line the central London procession route.

Members of all branches of the British military as well as some from Commonwealth nations will join the processions between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, many of them with small but key roles that will make the ceremony unique.

The ceremony is a mix of duty, religion and celebration, with the king's closest family also helping to make the day unforgettable.

One of the highlights of the day will be the Buckingham Palace balcony appearance.

What will happen at the king's coronation?

The coronation service will take place at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6 and will begin at 11am. The majority of the guests have been advised to arrive at a ticket and security checkpoint almost five hours ahead and be seated by 9am.

Heads of state, cabinet members, former prime ministers, foreign royalty and the royal family will enter Westminster Abbey ahead of the arrival of the king and queen consort, with the service due to end at 1pm.

It will be conducted by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and will be attended by high-profile figures from British public life.

King Charles will be anointed with holy oil and crowned with the 17th century St Edward’s Crown which has been resized to fit his head.

He will switch to the lighter Imperial State Crown at the end of the ceremony, as is the custom.

Queen Consort Camilla will wear Queen Mary's Crown, which has been reconfigured so as not to feature the controversial Koh-i-noor diamond.

The palace also confirmed the priceless array of regalia from the Crown Jewels to be used during the hour-long ceremony, which will include among other elements an orb, swords and sceptres.

What is the procession route?

The outward journey, know as the king's procession, will take the monarch and his wife from Buckingham Palace to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The couple will be travelling in the diamond jubilee state coach, which was built in 2014 and has shock absorbers, heating and air conditioning.

They will make their way back via Parliament Square, along Whitehall, around Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and down The Mall back to Buckingham Palace.

The pair will travel back in the 260-year-old gold state coach, famously criticised by many monarchs for being uncomfortable.

The return route will be much shorter than Queen Elizabeth’s 8km return expedition around central London during which the 27-year-old monarch waved to crowds along Piccadilly, Oxford Street and Regent Street.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will later appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside other “working royals”, where they will wave to the gathered crowds.

Londoners are advised to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey, as the procession is expected to have a significant impact on traffic and travel.

The roads around Westminster Abbey will be closed to traffic, and there will be increased traffic congestion in the city centre. It is recommended that commuters check for updates and consider alternative routes to avoid delays.

Are these the UK's biggest royal fans?

Are these the UK's biggest royal fans?

Who will be there, and will Prince Harry and Meghan attend?

Senior members of the royal family, including the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children George, Charlotte and Louis, will be in attendance.

Prince Harry will attend the coronation but his wife Meghan and their children will not make the trip from their home in California.

The guest list is expected to reach 2,000 and will include royalty from Europe and the Middle East.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan and Maori royals have all said they will be there.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will give a reading from the bible. His wife will also attend, but only a limited number of current politicians have been invited.

US first lady Jill Biden will be there representing US President Joe Biden, in line with historic precedence.

In addition, more than 850 community and charity representatives from across the UK will be included.

Women are asked to wear day dresses, with hats and fascinators optional, while for men, morning coats, lounge suits and uniforms are acceptable.

Both sexes can wear national dress and decorations such as an insignia for an MBE or knighthood.

The Ministry of Defence has issued guidance for the three services, with men and women from the military required to wear their most formal uniforms.

The seating arrangements for the coronation are based on rank and importance. The most important guests will be seated closest to the king and queen, while the less important guests will be seated further away.

How can I watch it?

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of London for the occasion. Supporters will also be able to watch the king’s coronation on big screens across the country.

More than 30 screens will be erected in cities and towns across the UK.

Confirmed sites include Cardiff Castle, Belfast City Hall, Piece Hall in Halifax, Jubilee Square in Brighton and Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester.

Royal fans in London can watch proceedings on big screens in the royal parks, including in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park.

What day is the bank holiday and what other events are planned?

A bank holiday has been declared for Monday, May 8, to mark the occasion, meaning most of Britain will have the day off to enjoy the festivities.

A number of “global music icons and contemporary stars” are due to perform at Windsor Castle on Sunday, May 7, for a concert that will be broadcast live by the BBC.

About 20,000 members of the public will attend a star-studded concert with performances by Take That, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Olly Murs, Steve Winwood and Nicole Scherzinger.

Classical stars, including Andrea Bocelli, Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and Chinese pianist Lang Lang will also perform.

That day, people are also invited to gather for a “coronation big lunch” overseen and organised by the Big Lunch team at the Eden Project. The queen consort has been a patron of Big Lunch since 2013.

Buckingham Palace has also revealed an official emoji to celebrate the coronation. The colourful cartoon motif depicts the 17th century jewelled solid gold St Edward’s Crown with purple velvet cap — the regalia which will be used to crown the King on May 6.

Who will be the presenters?

Kirsty Young and Huw Edwards have been named as being among the BBC’s presenting team for the broadcast.

The corporation did not name veteran presenter David Dimbleby, who last year came out of retirement to cover the queen’s funeral procession, as among those contributing to its live coverage

Radio 2 DJs Zoe Ball and Dermot O’Leary, Radio 4’s Martha Kearney and royal correspondent Jonny Dymond will also be among those presenting the weekend’s coronation coverage on BBC Radio and BBC Sounds.

Updated: May 05, 2023, 3:16 PM