Charles’ slimmed down coronation will still be ‘religious’ event, says academic

The King is likely to be crowned monarch during a ceremony staged next summer.

10 October 2022

The King’s coronation will retain its “essential religious character” despite being pared back in the number of guests invited, duration and rituals staged, an academic has said.

Charles will be crowned monarch during a ceremony likely to be staged next summer, with speculation it will be held on, or close to, June 2 – the date of the late Queen’s 1953 coronation.

Reports in recent days claim the ceremony will be cut from more than three hours to just over one, compared with the Queen’s crowning.

Picture for every year of The Queen’s life
The Queen during her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey (PA)

Guest numbers will be reduced from 8,000 to around 2,000, with peers wearing suits and dresses instead of ceremonial robes and a number of rituals, such as the presentation of gold ingots, axed.

Westminster Abbey, where the event will be staged, has been the coronation church since 1066 – the Queen’s crowning was the 38th.

Bob Morris, a senior research associate at University College London (UCL), said about the King: “We are led to believe that he’s very sensitive to the present economic situation for example.

“I think when you look at what the last coronation was, it was an enormous undertaking – 8,250 people were crammed into Westminster Abbey, some of the rows of seating reached 11 tiers high in the nave.”

Mr Morris, who is a member of the honorary staff at UCL’s Constitution Unit, went on to say: “And I think he must be sensitive to the view that in retrospect we can see the whole business of 1953 as the last imperial hurrah.

Queen Elizabeth II death
Charles and Camilla will take part in his coronation service next year (Jacob King/PA)

“Thousands of people, thousands of troops who marched 12 abreast over a distance of five miles.”

The ceremony will reportedly retain elements of past coronations with the gold state coach still expected to carry the monarch and his Queen Consort.

The Duke of Norfolk organised the Queen’s funeral and also has the role of staging the coronation of monarchs.

He was recently banned from driving for six months after pleading guilty to using his mobile phone behind the wheel – despite claiming he needed his licence to arrange the upcoming coronation which has the codename Operation Golden Orb.

Mr Morris added: “What it looks as though is going to happen, if the speculation is true, is that the essential religious character of the coronation will remain.

“The coronation is wrapped around a communion service and there will no doubt be a crowning and an anointing, which is the great core of the ceremony, and all this is designed to mirror the notion of the descent of God’s grace on the ruler – although of course nowadays he doesn’t rule but he does reign.”

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