Coronation timetable: Updated schedule of events for King Charles's big weekend

The procession route, a detailed look at the ceremony inside Westminster Abbey and beyond

A rehearsal for the coronation in central London. Reuters
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Millions of people across the UK and beyond are preparing to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday.

The event will take place at Westminster Abbey in central London in a grand and elaborate ceremony.

The king will be crowned with St Edward's Crown, a jewelled relic that has been used for coronations since the 11th century.

He will also be anointed with holy oil and given the symbols of his office, including the Orb, the Sceptre and the Sword of State.

Here is a more detailed look at what to expect on the day of the coronation and on the days following.

Saturday, May 6

6am: Viewing areas open

Viewing areas along the procession route will be open to the public. These will provide spectators with prime points from which to witness the event and catch a glimpse of the British royal family.

Access to sites on Pall Mall and Whitehall will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, with official locations available from which to watch on large screens in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park.

Invited guests, including veterans and NHS and social care staff, will have access to stands outside Buckingham Palace.

On Saturday morning, slightly fewer than 200 members of the armed forces, mostly from the Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry, will gather to take part in the procession to Westminster Abbey.

While 1,000 service personnel will line the route, the overall procession will be much smaller than the one in 1953, which included other royal families and Commonwealth prime ministers.

7.15am-8.30am: Guests arrive at Westminster Abbey

Doors open to the general congregation at Westminster Abbey. Guests will begin to arrive at security checkpoints in Victoria Tower Gardens for the ceremony.

They will include close friends, family and various people who have contributed to the nation in diverse ways such as charity work and volunteering.

9.00am: Music begins in the Abbey for the congregation

9.30am-9.55am: Distinguished guests arrive

Heads of state and overseas government representatives, government ministers, first ministers and former prime ministers will arrive.

Notable attendees include US first lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese Vice President Han Zheng, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf, Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Their presence is a testament to the significance of this event and underscores the close relationships and partnerships that exist between the UK and nations around the world.

By 10:00am: Sovereign's Escort in position at Buckingham Palace

10:15am: Procession of Commonwealth Realms through the Abbey

10.20am: Carriage procession begins

The royal procession will set off from Buckingham Palace, providing an opportunity for people to catch a glimpse of the king and queen consort.

Departing from the norm, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will ride in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach instead of the older, less comfortable Gold State Coach.

They will arrive at Westminster Abbey at 10.53am, and it is likely the king will don military attire as opposed to the customary breeches and silk stockings of previous kings.

10.25am: Foreign royal family members arrive at Great West Door

Among these will be: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the UAE's Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court; Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania; Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki bin Mohammed, Minister of State; King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain; King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia; King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands; Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa; Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene; Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Mary; Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Crown Princess Mette-Marit; and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and Crown Princess Kiko.

10.35am: British royal family members arrive at Great West Door

Members of the British royal family will arrive at this time, including: the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence; The Earl and Countess of Wessex; The Duke of York; and Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Lastly, at 10.45am, the Prince and Princess of Wales will arrive, along with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

10.50am: Members of the royal household arrive at the West Gate

The equerry and pages of honour to the king, along with equerry and pages of honour and companions to the queen consort, will arrive at the West Gate of Westminster Abbey where they will await the arrival of their majesties.

10.53am: The king and queen consort arrive in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach

The king and queen consort's carriage arrives at the Great West Gate of the Abbey. The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry, stationed in the Abbey, will sound a fanfare.

The King’s Procession, led by the Cross of Wales, begins.

10.54am: The bells of Westminster Abbey are rung

11am: Coronation service starts

The two-hour service at Westminster Abbey will feature hymns, prayers and speeches.

Upon his arrival, King Charles will enter through the Great West Door and proceed through the nave until reaching the central space within the Abbey.

Preceding him will be processions comprising faith leaders and representatives from various Commonwealth countries carrying their respective flags, accompanied by governors general and prime ministers, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is scheduled to give a reading later in the service.

The ceremony will feature music chosen by the king, including 12 newly commissioned pieces, one by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as Greek Orthodox music in honour of the king's late father Prince Philip.

Prince George, the king's grandson, will be one of the pages present, alongside the queen consort's grandchildren Lola, Eliza, Gus, Louis and Freddy.

Some participants in the internal procession will carry the regalia ahead of the king, with most items placed on the altar until they are required for the ceremony.

Noon: The crowning of the king

The crowning of the king at midday will be the highlight of the affair, with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby placing the St Edward's Crown on his head.

At the point of crowning, a fanfare will sound, the Abbey bells will ring for two minutes and a gun salute will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery stationed at Horse Guards Parade.

This will be accompanied by gun salutes at the Tower of London, fired by the Honourable Artillery Company, and at all saluting stations throughout the UK, Gibraltar, Bermuda and ships at sea.

After the ceremony, the royal couple will descend from their thrones and proceed to St Edward's Chapel behind the High Altar.

Here, King Charles will remove the solid gold St Edward's Crown and replace it with the lighter Imperial State Crown, as is the custom, before joining the procession out of the Abbey as the national anthem plays.

Circa 1.00pm: Royal procession departs for Buckingham Palace

After the service, the newly crowned king and queen will embark on their coronation procession back to Buckingham Palace, following a route through Parliament Square, Whitehall, around Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and down The Mall.

The Prince of Wales's three children are expected to join their parents in a carriage behind the Gold State Coach for the procession.

About 4,000 members of the UK armed forces and representatives of Commonwealth countries and British Overseas Territories will participate.

The Royal British Legion will provide a guard of honour, featuring 100 members, on the procession route, and the king and queen will receive a royal salute and cheers from military personnel upon their arrival.

At 2.3km, the route is considerably shorter than that of 1953, which measured 6.5km.

1.45pm: Royal salute in the palace gardens

The king and queen arrive on the West Terrace of Buckingham Palace where they will be received by the UK and Commonwealth Armed Forces with a royal salute from the palace gardens, honouring their new roles and acknowledging their loyalty to the crown.

2.30pm: Balcony appearance and fly-past

The royal couple will be joined on the Buckingham Palace balcony by other members of the royal family to watch a fly-past delivered, weather permitting, by the Ministry of Defence.

This special moment will be captured by photographers and broadcasters from around the world.

Viewing options for the public include big screens in the royal parks and at more than 57 locations across the UK, as well as TV broadcasts on BBC and ITV.

Presenters such as Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards, Tom Bradby and Julie Etchingham will provide commentary and insights throughout the day.

Sunday, May 7

Coronation Big Lunch

Thousands of street parties will be held across the country as part of the Coronation Big Lunch, with people encouraged to come together to celebrate the historic occasion.

Royal family members will attend various events, including the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh in Cranleigh, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence in Swindon, and Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie in Windsor.

Coronation concert at Windsor Castle

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

The show, hosted by Paddington and Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville, will also feature appearances by Hollywood star Tom Cruise, Dynasty actress Dame Joan Collins, adventurer Bear Grylls and singer Sir Tom Jones via video message.

In addition to contemporary artists, classical stars such as Andrea Bocelli, Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and Chinese pianist Lang Lang will perform.

The Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Art will come together for the first time to create a one-off performance featuring Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa and Olivier Award nominee Mei Mac.

The event will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds from 8pm.

Lighting Up the Nation

Choreographed lasers, projections and drone displays will illuminate historic bridges and buildings at 10 sites across the UK, seven of which have been disclosed so far.

These include Blackpool seafront in Lancashire, Sheffield Town Hall's Peace Gardens, Newcastle's Tyne Bridge, Gateshead's Millennium Bridge and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Light shows will also brighten up Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff at various locations. The remaining three places will be revealed during the concert.

Monday, May 8

The Big Help Out

Bank holiday Monday will see the Big Help Out take place, aiming to inspire and recruit a new generation of volunteers.

Various royal family members will participate in activities throughout the day, highlighting the positive impact volunteering has on communities.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will take part in a puppy class at the Guide Dogs training centre in Reading, while the Princess Royal and her husband Sir Tim Laurence will attend a civic service recognising volunteers at Gloucester Cathedral.

The service will be followed by a short reception for invited volunteers and representatives of voluntary organisations from across Gloucestershire.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will meet young volunteers from the Coptic Orthodox Church at a coronation party at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Kensington, west London.

A palace representative said that, according to the latest polling, an estimated 6.5 million people are planning to take part in the Big Help Out, ranging from community litter clean-ups to longer-term volunteering opportunities with a wide range of charities.

The palace also mentioned that while “wholly supportive” of the Big Help Out initiatives on Monday, King Charles and Queen Camilla will not be attending any of the events in person.

Updated: May 06, 2023, 7:22 AM