Coronation of a King: What to know about King Charles III's coronation

Charles became heir to the throne at the age of 3, and now he will finally get to be crowned as king. Here is every little detail you need to know.
Promotional image for Coronation of a King program
Posted at 7:33 AM, May 05, 2023

While King Charles III succeeded to the throne of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth in September following the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of 96, on Saturday he will finally be crowned monarch.

He has been heir to the throne for 71 years, and after months of preparation, Charles and his queen consort, Camilla, will have their formal coronation in a grand and religious ceremony.

On the morning of May 6, the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey will mark the 40th occasion of this long-standing tradition that dates back to 1066.

As final preparations are put in place and speculations on who will attend arise as we get closer, Scripps News has you covered!

Here is every little detail you need to know ahead of the celebrations.

What's a coronation?

Let’s start with the basics. The term "coronation" is derived from the Latin word "corona," which means "crown."

A coronation is a formal ceremony during which a monarch, in this case Charles, is officially granted their regal powers.

It’s a symbolic celebratory event by the monarchy, the church and the state to present the royal ceremonial objects, such as the Crown Jewels, culminating in the placement of the crown upon the sovereign's head.

While the Crown Jewelsare composed of 100 pieces of regalia, some the coronation regalia for Charles will consist of the St. Edward's Crown, the Sceptre with Cross, the Sword of Offering, Sovereign’s Ring and Orb. Each item will be presented to Charles after he puts on the imperial robe.

Camilla's regalia will consist of the Queen Consort's Rod, Queen Consort's Sceptre, Queen Mary’s Crown and Queen Consort's Ring.

A cardboard cut out of the late Queen Elizabeth II on display as people camp along the King's Coronation route

What is the value of King Charles III's coronation?

The event has brought renewed focus on the cost of the monarchy.


What will Charles' ceremony be like?

According to Buckingham Palace, the coronation will "reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry."

Unlike his mother’s ceremony 70 years ago, which was not only the first coronation televised but also lasted for over three hours, Charles’ coronation ceremony will be shorter.

The coronation will last around two hours, starting at 6 a.m. ET (11 a.m. in the United Kingdom), following a 40-minute procession that will make its way through London beginning at 5:20 a.m. ET (10:20 a.m. in the United Kingdom).

To travel to Westminster Abbey for the ceremony, Charles and Camilla will ride in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was specially created to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 60th anniversary on the throne in 2012.

Upon their return to Buckingham Palace, they will ride in the Gold State Coach, which has been used in every coronation ceremony since that of William IV in 1831.

The day's events will conclude with the royals appearing together on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The Empire State Building, left, with the Lackawanna rail and ferry station, on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Empire State Building to shine in Union Jack colors for coronation

It's arguably New York City's most famous building, and officials plan to light it up in Union Jack colors to celebrate King Charles III's coronation.


What's the guest list like?

Around 2,000 people will get to attend the coronation, according to Buckingham Palace.

All the members of the British royal family are expected to attend, including Charles' son, Prince Harry. But Harry's wife Meghan, duchess of Sussex, and their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, will not be in attendance.

Many foreign monarchs are also expected to attend, including Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco and King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Although it’s unknown who from Camilla’s family will be in attendance, we do expect to see her children there.

And since this is a reunion of monarchy, church and state, we are also expecting to see some politicians, like the heads of state of France, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil and many more.

As for the United States, the White House announced last month that Jill Biden will attend King Charles III's coronation "on behalf of the United States," indicating that the president will not attend. 

Where to watch the celebration?

Charles became heir to the throne at the age of three in 1952, he became the longest serving Prince of Wales in 2017, and now you will finally get to see him be crowned King!

Scripps News will have a live special coverage called "Coronation of a King" that will air starting Saturday morning at 5 a.m. EST. 

To watch our live stream bookmark this story and come back to it on Saturday or find out where you can watch Scripps News for free here.