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The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla took place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May 2023. It was the first Coronation in nearly 70 years.

This briefing describes preparations for the Coronation, what took place on the day of the Coronation and other events associated with the ceremony.

Planning for the Coronation

The crowning of a King or Queen is an ancient ceremony and rich in religious significance, history and pageantry. Although coronations have no explicit basis in law, several Acts of Parliament clearly expect that such a ceremony will take place at some point following the accession of a new Monarch.

The date for the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla was announced by Buckingham Palace in October 2022, a month after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. A Coronation Committee oversaw the planning, while the Cabinet Office established a Coronation Claims Office to decide who would perform certain roles on the day. Preparations were also made to transport the Stone of Destiny from Edinburgh Castle to Westminster Abbey so it could be used, as is traditional, in the ceremony.

On 1 May 2023, the Palace announced that a “congregation” of more than 2,200 people would attend the Coronation, including members of the Royal Family, international representatives from 203 countries (including approximately 100 Heads of State), as well as “community and charity champions”. This briefing looks at the different categories of those who attended in greater depth.

What happened on Coronation day?

A Coronation liturgy (or Order of Service) was authorised by the Archbishop of Canterbury and produced in close consultation with the King and, with regard to the constitutional elements of the service, the UK Government. The Archbishop conducted the service.

The day began with processions by the Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Speaker of the House of Lords from Westminster Hall to the Abbey. Later, the King’s Procession – in which the King and Queen travelled in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach – departed from Buckingham Palace before a much larger procession entered the Abbey itself.

The Order of Service comprised both traditional and completely new elements. This briefing describes each aspect of the Coronation service and compares it with previous ceremonies, particularly that of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953. New changes to the statutory Coronation Oath are also described.

What happened after the Coronation?

The final section of this briefing looks at other events during the Coronation weekend, including the Coronation Big Lunch, the Coronation Concert at Windsor, and the Big Help Out on the Coronation bank holiday (Monday 8 May).

Parliamentary scrutiny of the policing of republican protests on Coronation day is also considered, as are Coronation events in other Commonwealth Realms and the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, which took place on 5 July 2023.

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