King Charles III Coronation
The forthcoming coronation of Charles III, on May 6, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September, is going to be a mix of novelty and tradition. Although the coronation of a new king or queen is an occasion for pageantry and celebration, it is also a Christian ceremony whose rituals have remained basically unchanged for the last thousand years.
The coronation ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey, which has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066, when William the Conqueror was crowned.
The coronation service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury who always crowns the monarch. The crowning itself is near the end of the ceremony which includes the monarch making promises to God and the people they serve, a sacred blessing known as anointing and the receiving of the royal regalia.
The oil that will be used to anoint King Charles III comes from olives harvested on the Mount of Olives and was consecrated last march in a special ceremony at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The ceremony will also make use of a newly crafted silver cross called the Cross of Wales in which two fragments from Christ’s cross, given by Pope Francis to the King as a personal coronation gift, have been embedded.
The royal regalia are sacred and secular objects which symbolise of the king’s power and majesty, the service and responsibilities of the monarch and the monarchy as a form of government. It includes two crowns, swords, an orb, scepters, spurs, bracelets and a ring and is kept in the Tower of London.
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Also in show will be the Stone of Destiny, a historic artifact seen as a sacred object, an ancient symbol of Scottish monarchy that has been at the centre of a controversy after being stolen in 1296 by King Edward I of England and used to build a throne at Westminster. Returned officially to Scotland in 1996 it only will leave again for a coronation in Westminster Abbey.
Despite all these profound Christian roots in which coronation rituals are founded, King Charles III acknowledgement that he and his heirs will reign over a Britain in which many of its people follow religions other than his own Anglican faith or none at all, will result on the rituals of the coronation being adapted, as some of them have been over the centuries. One of the proposed changes will see foreign monarchs to attend the coronation, breaking with a 900 year tradition. In addition, the King’s sensitivity towards the economic turbulences faced by the nation at these particular times, has advised for a shorter and less expensive ceremony.
After the ceremony there will be a procession where the King and Queen Consort will travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Place joined by other members of the Royal Family, including the children of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The celebrations of the day will end with the appearance of the King and his family on the palace balcony to greet the public.
Over The Coronation Weekend different events have been organised to celebrate the community spirit;
The Coronation Big Lunch and the Windsor Castle Concert on Sunday
and The Big Help Out on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Coronation Big Lunch
The Big Lunch – a central part of the Coronation Weekend – is an idea aimed at tackling loneliness which has been encouraging communities to celebrate their connections and get to know each other a little better every year since 2009, bringing neighbours and communities together to share friendship, food and fun at street parties or other events. Following the success of the first Big Jubilee Lunch to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, The Big Lunch brought the Jubilee celebrations into the heart of every community in 2022 and will continue to bring people together for May’s Coronation Celebrations as The Coronation Big Lunch with at least 7,000 street parties are being planned, including one at Downing Street.
Windsor Castle Concert
Later on Sunday, Windsor Castle will host a concert for an audience of about 10,000, which has mainly been selected by national ballot but also includes volunteers from the King’s and Queen’s charity affiliations. Windsor Castle Concert will be broadcasted by the BBC and the confirmed line up will include Take That, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli and Welsh singer Sir Bryn Terfel performing as a duo.
The Big Help Out
Monday 8 will see the happening of The Big Help Out, a festival of volunteering to commemorate the Coronation and to inspire people to try volunteering for the first time and help recruit more volunteers into the movement. The idea is to make volunteering easy and accessible as around 1 in 5 people have never been asked to volunteer, and many do not know where to begin. Dozen of charities will take part and use the day to encourage people to ‘Lend a Hand; make a change.’
In conclusion, as Buckingham Palace said:
“The coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry. The coronation is a solemn religious service, together with an occasion for celebration and pageantry”.
Keeping with this spirit of solemnity, united with the celebration of community and voluntary organizations, FHB is organizing its «King Charles III Coronation Charity Gala», with profits going to Fundación Cudeca and British Benevolent Fund, two Charities based in Spain but both with deep British roots.
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