How is King Charles breaking tradition with his coronation?
The soon-to-be crowned king’s coronation is scheduled to be drastically different from Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years ago.
There will be many striking departures from tradition at King Charles III’s upcoming coronation May 6 — in fact, it may be that the only link the king will maintain to the monarch’s long history are the ceremonial crowns the king himself will wear.
A departure from royal tradition
King Charles’ coronation day is scheduled to be far more modest than his mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation seven decades ago.
While the late queen had 8251 guests in attendance at the Westminster Abbey for her coronation, King Charles has invited only 2000 people.
Further, the members of the royal family to walk in the procession from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace is set to be a third of the size of his mother’s, and the duration of the service has been slimmed down to 60 minutes — substantially shorter than Queen Elizabeth II’s three-hour ceremony 70 years ago.
Author Lady Anne Glenconner, formerly Lady Anne Coke, and one of Queen Elizabeth’s six personal maids, commented that things have changed significantly since the late queen’s day.
“It’s going to be more inclusive,” Glenconner said. “I think with many more religions.”
The author and former royal maiden said that when the queen had her coronation, people were celebrating the end of the war-time era by proudly wearing their family jewels.
“No one had worn their jewelry or tiaras during the war,” Lady Anne Glenconner remembered, “people were queuing to have their tiaras, which were like great fenders of diamonds, stomachers and necklaces cleaned.”
What about Camilla’s crown?
Queen Consort Camilla will be making history by not following history. She is set to wear Queen Mary’s Crown, who wore it at the 1911 coronation for King George V.
The Queen Consort’s choice is the first time in palace memory that a member of the royal family in attendance at a monarch’s coronation has worn a recycled crown. The decision to reuse a crown for the coronation is “in the interests of sustainability and efficiency.”
King Charles’ coronation crowns
King Charles III is to be crowned with the historically significant St. Edward’s Crown, which was originally for King Charles II’s coronation in 1661. It has 444 semi-precious stones and weighs almost five pounds.
The Historic Royal Palace website describes the heirloom as “the most important and sacred of all the crowns [...] only used at the moment of crowning itself.
The king is speculated to follow the steps of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who accepted the St. Edward’s Crown for the ceremony, but swap with the lighter, three-pound, Imperial State Crown, upon leaving Westminster Abbey.
The Imperial State Crown may be lighter physically, but it holds some of the most important and famous jewels in the royal family collection. It features the Black Prince’s Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire, the Cullinan II diamond, and St. Edward’s Sapphire, which had belonged to Anglo-Saxon King Edward, known as Edward the Confessor, who died in 1066.