The UK is pinning its hopes on one date: May 6th. Then King Charles III. and his queen consort Camilla were crowned in London. Numerous prominent guests are expected. For many in the country, the first coronation of a British monarch in 70 years is a welcome opportunity to forget for a few days the extremely difficult economic and political situation. Most recently, the palace announced what music Charles wanted. How is the ceremony prepared?

The church

Traditionally, the coronation takes place in Westminster Abbey. The well-known London House of Worship opposite Parliament has been the coronation site for British monarchs for centuries. Charles automatically became king upon the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022, and could – like Edward VIII did – reign without a coronation. The symbolic religious ceremony formalizes his role as head of the Church of England. Charles is traditionally wearing the Edwardian crown, Camilla the crown of Queen Mary. It is the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for a king’s consort rather than a new one made, the palace stressed.

The ceremony

The service has remained almost unchanged since William the Conqueror in 1066, always presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church. Charles let it be known early on that he wanted to streamline and modernize the monarchy. The coronation should reflect that. The length of the king also adapts to the modern age. While the coronation at his mother’s in 1953 lasted three hours, this time only one hour is planned. However, core elements such as the anointing with consecrated oil and the coronation itself are retained.

The guests

Around 2,200 people will follow the spectacle in Westminster Abbey, with Elizabeth there were once more than 8,000. Dignitaries and the most important political representatives are expected, as well as numerous guests of honor and state from abroad. As at the Queen’s state funeral, dozens of royalty and heads of state are expected to attend. For Germany, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier usually takes part in such events. He will receive Charles a few weeks beforehand, when the king will travel to Berlin on his first trip abroad.

The family

Heir to the throne Prince William and his wife Princess Kate will be in the front row. For many observers, however, the most exciting question is whether Charles’ younger son Prince Harry and his wife Duchess Meghan will come to the coronation. The 38-year-old has harshly criticized his father, brother William and the palace system in his autobiography “Reserve” and many interviews, and revealed internals. Harry is in a quandary, wrote the Telegraph newspaper on Sunday. If he and wife Meghan don’t come to the celebration, they could be accused of “snubbing” the family. If they come, they risk whistles from onlookers. According to surveys, their reputation has recently suffered greatly. Charles wanted to invite his son despite all the arguments, was last read.

The date

Whether the election of May 6th has a deeper meaning is not yet known. The Coronation Day falls on the fourth birthday of Charles’ grandson Archie, son of Harry and Meghan, and the wedding anniversary of his aunt Princess Margaret. The Queen’s younger sister married the Earl of Snowdon in 1960, from whom she divorced in 1978.

The music

Charles commissioned a total of twelve pieces of music, the palace announced. These include a hymn by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (“Phantom of the Opera”) and a Greek Orthodox church piece in honor of his father Prince Philip, who died in 2021 and also had Greek roots. Singers and choirs will travel from all parts of the Commonwealth, including a “Coronation Orchestra” made up of members of the country’s best-known bands.

Die Party

The coronation alone is not enough. The historic event will be celebrated for three days, with an additional day off on May 8th. A big concert is planned at Windsor Castle on Sunday evening. The announced light effects bring back memories of the Queen’s anniversary concert in front of Buckingham Palace. Thousands of tickets are to be raffled across the country. A “coronation choir” sings from special choirs, such as refugees, members of the LGBTQ community and the hearing impaired. On Sunday, people are invited to street festivals and tea parties at the “Coronation Big Lunch” – roughly: the big coronation meal. Under the motto “Big Help” (great help), the population will then be encouraged on Monday to get to know volunteer work in their communities.