LONDON — King Charles III was crowned monarch of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland on Saturday, in a ceremony steeped in a millennium of tradition and pageantry.
Shouts of “God Save the King!” were heard, trumpets blared and gun salutes rang out after the Archbishop of Canterbury placed the crown on Charles’s head at Westminster Abbey. The coronation comes almost eight months after Charles ascended the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on Sept. 8.
Charles, 74, and his wife, Queen Camilla, 75, then returned to Buckingham Palace in a sumptuous procession cheered on by crowds lining the roads despite the heavy rain. Soon after, the couple and other members of the family, including Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, and their three children appeared on the palace’s balcony and greeted a flag-waving crowd below them.
Not everyone is a fan of King Charles and the royals, however, and at least 25 anti-monarchy activists and other protesters were arrested earlier on Saturday. For many, the royal opulence is a bad-taste juxtaposition with what’s really going on in modern Britain: Economic hardship for millions.
What to know about the king's coronation
- Charles was crowned at noon as gun salutes sounded across the United Kingdom.
- Prince Harry arrived at his father's coronation while his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, remained in California. Neither Harry or Charles's disgraced younger brother, Prince Andrew, appeared on the balcony after the ceremony.
- This was the largest military ceremonial operation in 70 years, with more than 6,000 members of the U.K.'s Armed Forces taking part.
- Read our full guide on the day's events.
All the key moments from King Charles III's coronation
Watch all the key moments from King Charles III’s coronationMay 6, 202304:07
Jill Biden: Charles’ coronation was ‘just amazing to see’
First lady Jill Biden, who represented the United States at Saturday’s coronation of Britain’s King Charles III, said there was “such beauty in the pageantry of the ceremony” and it was “just amazing to see.”
“You can’t imagine that moment where you actually see the crown being placed on the head of the king and then on the head on the queen,” she said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press after the ceremony in London. “It’s really surreal to see and experience that moment.”
Charles’ wife, Camilla, also was crowned queen during Britain’s first coronation in 70 years. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died last September after a seven-decade reign.
An American president has never attended a British coronation and President Joe Biden asked the first lady to represent the U.S. in his place. The White House said Jill Biden’s appearance marked the first time that a U.S. first lady was present for a British coronation.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels parade on coronation day
Around 150 fluffy eared and doe-eyed namesakes of King Charles III’s ancestor paraded down London’s King’s Road to celebrate the country’s new monarch on Saturday.
Soggy but largely undeterred by the rain, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, some wearing tiaras and others red royal cloaks, turned out in force with their owners in Chelsea, one of the capital’s poshest neighborhoods.
“I just thought this is a no-brainer,” said Jenny Matthews, who owns a pet grooming service, cafe and boutique on the King’s Road and who came up with the idea for the parade.
See the royal family together on Buckingham Palace balcony
See the royal family together on Buckingham Palace balconyMay 6, 202312:56
Photo: Rain soaks King Charles spaniel parade
Rain drenches a parade of King Charles spaniels on King’s Road in London. The event was organized to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.
Crowds may have cheered coronation, but not everybody is a fan of the royals
Dozens of anti-monarchy activists and other protesters were arrested on Saturday, a reminder not everyone in the United Kingdom has been swept up in the royal adulation dominating TV screens.
Six people from the anti-royalist campaign group Republic and 19 people from environmental activists Just Stop Oil were detained by the Metropolitan Police in central London, near to where Charles was being crowned, according to the groups.
For free speech campaigners and some onlookers, it was a chilling scene, even on a day where polls and anecdote suggest that apathy — rather than royal or anti-monarchical fervor — is the prevailing mood in Britain.
Could royal drama spoil the party?
After the coronation, King Charles will have to navigate scandals and tricky family relationships that could tarnish his reign and the monarchy itself.
Past and ongoing issues with Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and even his wife, Camilla, could overshadow the new king’s rule if they are not carefully managed, royal experts say.
“The royal family is one of the most visible and tenuous aspects of the crown’s overall brand,” said Cele Otnes, co-author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture.” “It’s hard to manage people,” she added.
Gun salutes were fired at the exact moment the St. Edward’s Crown was placed on the king’s head from military bases across the U.K.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery was among the units that fired a six-gun salvo in which all six guns fire once at the same time.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave from balcony
Ukraine’s PM and Zelenskyy's wife represent country at coronation
Watch 4,000 troops salute King Charles III at Buckingham PalaceMay 6, 202303:39
Planes and helicopters take part in coronation flyby
Planes and helicopters from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force are flying over The Mall, the grand road leading from Buckingham Palace in central London, to mark the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla.
More than 60 aircraft had been slated to take part, but Britain's Defense Ministry said in a statement that the event was scaled back because of “unsuitable weather conditions.”
The display was originally meant to last for six minutes, but the scaled-down version will last for less than half of that time, the ministry said.
Charles and Camilla wave from Buckingham Palace balcony
Charles and Camilla are waving to a massive cheering crowd, with Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, and other members of the family also appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
As expected, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew did not participate in the moment.
Since the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, it has been tradition for the new monarch to greet crowds on The Mall with a demure wave from the Buckingham Palace balcony.
The procession back to Buckingham Palace ran more than 1.4 miles long, with 4,000 Armed Forces personnel, 19 military bands and 250 horses taking part, Britain's defence ministry said on Twitter.
At least 33 Commonwealth countries were also represented, it said, adding that it was the largest military procession for 70 years.
This video is no longer availableMay 6, 202301:58:14
Charles wore two sets of robes during the ceremony
In accordance with tradition, King Charles wore two sets of robes during the coronation service.
As he arrived at the ceremony, he wore a cream silk overshirt with Royal Naval trousers and a robe of state made of crimson velvet. During the crowning, he added “the stole royal,” last worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation. Featuring a chain of gold discs on gold cloth, it is embroidered with the symbols of the United Kingdom, a rose, thistle, leek and shamrock.
He later removed the cloak before the procession from Westminster Abbey when he donned his final “robe of the estate,” which is made from purple silk velvet and embroidered in gold.
Underneath, he wore a set of diamonds named "the Lesser George" and jeweled in the shape of St. George, the patron saint of England.
Applause from the crowds wasn't just reserved for royalty — there were also cheers for the street sweepers that followed the procession to Buckingham Palace.
150 Cavalier King Charles spaniels to descend on the King’s Road
About 150 Cavalier King Charles spaniels, some in regal tiaras, will march down one of London’s most historic roads to mark the coronation.
Jenny Matthews, who owns a pet grooming service, cafe and boutique on the King’s Road, came up with the idea for the canine parade. “I just thought this is a no-brainer,” Matthews, 53, told NBC News. “It’s our King Charles III’s coronation day. What more can we do for him than to gather as many King Charles spaniel dogs as possible and parade down his road, it’s the King’s Road?”
Sophie Bradley from the London neighborhood of Hammersmith was one of the lucky ones to be selected. Her dog Amber, 6, is a therapy dog and by Bradley’s account is very excited to take part in the parade.
“Forget the British weather,” Bradley, 51, said, as it rained heavily outside. “It’s once in a lifetime, it’s history making… To celebrate the king and his coronation. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day, to be honest with you, amongst friends.”
Members of the U.K. and Commonwealth Armed Forces standing in the Buckingham Palace gardens are offering a collective salute to the newly crowned king and queen.
Zoo animals take part in the day's festivities
Animals at London Zoo were encouraged to take part in the celebrations by chowing down on fruit and vegetables for “The Big Lunch.”
The zoo posted pictures of gorillas and a tortoise eating on its Twitter feed.
The Big Lunch is a series of community meals held across streets, parks and gardens organized by British environmental charity the Eden Project.
Royal fan Ben Weller was visibly emotional as he watched the coronation ceremony on a screen in London’s Hyde Park.
Crowds cheer as the procession comes to an end
Crowds clapped and cheered as the procession to Buckingham Palace came to an end.
Wellwishers have been gathered for hours, mostly spent in the rain, to catch a glimpse of the newly crowned king and queen.
Drums began to beat again as members of the U.K. and Commonwealth Armed Forces prepared to offer a collective salute to Charles and Camilla.
King and queen arrive at Buckingham Palace
King Charles and Queen Camilla have arrived at Buckingham Palace following the procession from Westminster Abbey.
Next the couple are expected to be seen on the palace's balcony, from where monarchs traditionally wave to crowds of well-wishers.
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew leave coronation
Anti-Monarchy protesters demonstrate in London
See Prince William pledge his loyalty to King Charles IIIMay 6, 202300:28
Sea of color surrounds the Gold State Coach
Dressed in their full military regalia, their red, blue and black uniforms braided with gold, more than 4,000 troops are taking part in the mile-long procession escorting the king and queen back to Buckingham Palace.
At the center, drawn by 8 Windsor Grey horses, the Gold State Coach, that has been used at every coronation since that of William IV in 1831.
Behind them in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, Kate and William sat opposite their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, who waved at the cheering crowds.
Keeping them in time as they marched, music and drums from the accompanying military band.
Watch the official crowning of King Charles IIIMay 6, 202308:32
Prince Charles Cinema refuses to change its name
A movie theater in London named the Prince Charles Cinema is letting it be known loud and clear that it will not be changing its name to reflect the king's current title, even after he's been crowned.
"Not now, not ever!" the cinema said in a tweet pinned to its Twitter page. The cinema shared a photo of its marquee, which says it all:
Charles privately anointed behind screens at coronationMay 6, 202307:06
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What is Princess Anne's role in the coronation?
Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth's only daughter, is responsible for the monarch’s personal safety during the coronation and so has a big role in the ceremonies.
In the role, officially called Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, Anne, 72, is leading the procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace.
The second of four children, Anne was given the title of Princess Royal in June 1987. She is older than her brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
When she was born in 1950, she was third in line to the throne. Now, she is 16th in line for the throne because of an old law that allowed men to skip over women in the line of succession.
Procession back to Buckingham Palace underway
Bells tolled across the country as King Charles and his queen left Westminster Abbey.
The royal couple passed the Chief Marshal, who ordered procession groups and street liners to come to attention.
The Chief Marshal also ordered for ceremonial signal flags to go up and ceremonial batons carried by the procession marshals to be raised as the king and queen boarded the gold state coach.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping congratulates King Charles
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan sent a congratulatory message to Charles and Camilla and called for increased cooperation between the countries as both adapt to a quickly changing world.
"Both China and the U.K. are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and should take a long-term and strategic perspective to jointly promote the historic trend of peace, development, cooperation and win-win results," according to the statement from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It added: "China is willing to work together with the UK to enhance people-to-people friendship, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, and deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to better benefit the two countries and the world with a stable and mutually beneficial China-UK relationship."
The king departs Westminster Abbey
The crowned king is now departing Westminster Abbey.
He will begin the coronation procession from the church to Buckingham Palace, with the procession expected to last around 30 minutes.
This time, the monarchs will travel in the Gold State Coach which will be draw by 8 Windsor Grey horses.
Celebrations for the king's coronation have been unfolding near and far, with villagers on Vanuatu’s Tanna island also marking the occasion.
Villagers held up a photo of Charles to commemorate his coronation and gave speeches. The Tanna celebration of King Charles stems from a longstanding relationship with his father, the late Prince Philip.
The villagers linked Philip to a legend of a pale-skinned son of a mountain god who traveled across the seas in search of a rich and powerful woman to marry, according to Reuters. Anthropologists believe Philip became linked to the legend in the 1960s when Vanuatu was an Anglo-French colony known as the New Hebrides.
Philip maintained a relationship with the group for 50 years until his death in 2021.
Just Stop Oil protesters arrested near coronation
Ursula von der Leyen: 'A symbol of stability and continuity'
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted her congratulations to Charles and Camilla.
"The Coronation is a testament to the enduring strength of the British monarchy. A symbol of stability and continuity," she said.
'Big lunches' happening across the U.K. in honor of coronation
Alongside street parties and celebratory teas, a number of “big lunches” will take place across the U.K. to mark the coronation.
The community meals in streets, parks and gardens were organized by British environmental charity the Eden Project.
A number took places during 2022’s jubilee celebrations for the late Queen Elizabeth II, the largest held on a long table at Windsor Castle that was almost 900-yards long.
This year’s lunches are likely to feature a “coronation quiche” — a spinach, broad bean and tarragon pie — designated the official recipe of the day.
The largest military ceremonial operation for 70 years
Over 6,000 women and men from the U.K.'s Armed Forces are taking part in today's historic coronation. It is the largest military ceremonial operation for 70 years, according to the British government.
Soldiers, sailors, and aviators from across the UK and the Commonwealth nations are participating in the two processions accompanying Charles and Camilla to and from Westminster Abbey.
Over the last few weeks, Armed Forces personnel have been busy meticulously rehearsing their displays of pageantry, in celebration of their new Commander-in-Chief, Charles.
Gospel music included in coronation for the first time
Gospel music was included in the coronation for the first time when the Ascension Choir sang Alleluia (O Sing Praises).
Gospel singers were handpicked for the event, to join the choir.
Their inclusion was requested by King Charles, according to British composer Debbie Wiseman, who arranged the performance. She told British radio station Classic FM, that he “very much wanted a gospel choir included in the service.”
The only surviving regalia from medieval coronations
In 1649, most of England’s regalia were destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell after the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England.
The silver gilt coronation spoon — which is used to dispense the anointing oil — survived. It is the oldest and one of the most sacred items in the whole ceremony, and was likely made for Henry II or Richard I.
It is first recorded to have been used at Westminster Abbey in 1349, when the bubonic plague known as the Black Death was spreading across the country.
The spoon has two indentations, suggesting it was made for the archbishop to dip two fingers into holy oil to anoint the sovereign — its exact use since the coronation of Charles II in 1661.
Charles is crowned king
Wide array of religious leaders play role in coronation for first time
An wide array of religious leaders participated in the coronation for the first time on Saturday.
Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim representatives joined Catholic and Presbyterian leaders, among others, to take part in the Anglican Christian ceremony.
King Charles III's coronation was also be the first to include female bishops from within the Church of England and music from gospel singers.
Man traveled from Beijing 'because I wanted to be in England when it happened'
It was very wet, but thousands of people watched the crowning of King Charles III in central London’s Green Park.
The traditional British weather didn’t stop the enjoyment of traditional British pomp and ceremony, especially for Ian Lewis, who traveled from his home in the Chinese capital Beijing to watch the ceremony.
Lewis, 59, who hails from Sussex in southern England, said he “wanted to be in England when it happened.”
He said that he thought Charles was a good man and would be a good king, but added that he hoped he “doesn’t go overboard with the idea of a slimmed down monarchy. We want a proper monarchy.”
Outside Westminster Abbey, wellwishers been braving the rain for hours now to take part in today's historic event.
Biden congratulates Charles and Camilla
Choir sings coronation anthem composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber
A choir has been singing the coronation anthem, Make a Joyful Noise, composed by English composer and Broadway icon Andrew Lloyd Webber and a Coronation March by the Oscar-nominated Scottish composer, Patrick Doyle.
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord for he hath done marvelous things. And his holy arm hath gotten him the victory. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God," it begins.
Coronation is sign that times have changed, chief rabbi says
Among the U.K.’s five national faith leaders attending the ceremony is Sir Ephraim Mirvis, the U.K.’s chief rabbi, who walked to the ceremony because Saturday is Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.
In an emotional post on Twitter, Mirvis noted that conditions had changed for Jews in Britain over the centuries.
“On 3 September 1189, Richard I was crowned King in Westminster Abbey. Jews were barred from attending, but in a spirit of heartfelt goodwill, some Jewish leaders arrived bearing gifts for the new king. They were informed that Jews were not welcome, whereupon Richard’s courtiers stripped and flogged them, and then flung them out of court,” he wrote.
A rumor then spread that the king had given the order for Jews to be attacked, and many homes were destroyed and some Jews were forcibly converted, Mirvis added. Around 30 were murdered, including Rabbi Jacob of Orléans, the most senior rabbi in England at that time.
The “tragic events stand in sharp contrast to our experience as Jews in 21st Century Britain,” Mirvis said.
Camilla crowned without the controversial Kohinoor diamond
Queen consort, Camilla, has been given the crown of Queen Mary, which today, does not feature the controversial Kohinoor diamond.
Worn as a brooch by Queen Victoria, the Kohinoor, one of the largest diamonds in the world, was one of many plunders of British imperialism. Eventually becoming part of the crown jewels, it was set in a crown last worn by Charles’s grandmother, the Queen Mother, during her coronation. India and Pakistan have demanded it be returned.
The Queen Mary crown has instead been reset with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds, in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth, Buckingham Palace said, adding that this was the first time in history and existing crown was being used for the coronation of a consort.
Not amused: Prince Louis appears to yawn during service
The stone of destiny: a symbol of Scotland’s monarchy
The coronation chair was built in around 1300 to house the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone.
It might sound like something out of a Marvel film, but in fact, it is a 336-pound pinkish sandstone that is a symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, which sits beneath the coronation chair.
For centuries, the stone of destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone was used to crown Scottish kings. That’s until it was seized by Edward I, known as “Scottorum malleus,” or “Hammer of the Scots.”
It stood for centuries in Westminster Abbey, until four Scottish students stole it on Christmas Day 1950, sparking a nation-wide manhunt. It mysteriously appeared three months later on the altar of Arbroath Abbey in western Scotland, before it was put back under the coronation chair in 1952.
In 1996, Prime Minister John Major moved it permanently from Westminster to Edinburgh Castle, where it still resides. It was transported to Westminster Abbey for the coronation.
The U.K. is the only European country that still uses regalia — symbols of royalty like the crown, orb and scepters — in coronations, according to the Royal Family website.
It is also the only country in Europe to hold a lavish coronation ceremony.
The individual objects symbolize different aspects of the service and responsibilities of the monarch.
During the coronation, Charles has been presented with several regalia in key moments of the coronation ceremony.
Gun salutes from military bases across the country and on His Majesty’s ships at sea have sounded as the king was crowned.
In all corners of the Union, including at firing stations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, gun salutes sounded at the moment of the king's coronation to celebrate the history moment.
King Charles III is crowned
King Charles III has been crowned.
As a boy, Charles watched his own mother, Elizabeth II, practicing wearing St. Edward’s Crown — a crown made in 1661 that weighs a hefty 5 pounds — before her coronation in 1953.
Now, 70 years later, the archbishop of Canterbury has placed St. Edward’s Crown on the head of the king.
A marriage to the nation
The Archbishop also placed the Sovereign’s ring on the fourth finger of Charle's hand in the investiture section of the ceremony.
The ring has a blue octagonal sapphire in a gold setting overlaid with five rubies forming a cross representing the cross of St. George seen in the English flag. It was made for the coronation of William IV in 1831.
Just like a wedding, the Sovereign's ring symbolizes the king’s marriage to the nation.
The king receives the Sovereign’s orb
Measuring almost 11 inches and weighing nearly 3 pounds, the orb represents the monarch’s power and symbolizes the Christian world. It was placed in Charles’ right hand as he was invested with the symbols of sovereignty.
The orb was made for Charles II’s coronation in 1661 by royal goldsmith Robert Vyner. The sphere is constructed from hollow gold and is adorned with emeralds, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, pearls, an amethyst and a glass stone. It is divided into three sections with bands of jewels, for each of the three continents known in the medieval period.
What is the Sword of Offering?
Made in 1820, the Sword of Offering has a steel blade, mounted in gold and set with jewels, which form a rose, a thistle, a shamrock, oak leaves, acorns and lions’ heads. The sword, which is contained in a gold-covered leather scabbard, continues the knightly theme of the ancient ceremony.
The sword was just one of the royal symbols given to the monarch during the investiture, when the sovereign is robed and presented with a number of symbolic ornaments. The archbishop blessed the sword and handed it to Charles with the injunction that it should be used for the protection of good and the punishment of evil.
For 700 years, monarchs have been crowned on the coronation chair
Since the 13th century, all English and British sovereigns have been crowned while sitting atop the coronation chair, also known as St. Edward’s Chair or King Edward’s Chair.
It was commissioned by Edward I to house the stone of destiny, and first featured in the coronation of Edward II in 1308 (although there is some deliberation over whether he was actually crowned on it).
The coronation chair has left Westminster Abbey only twice: once in 1657, when Oliver Cromwell was installed as lord protector at Westminster Hall during England’s brief period as a republic, and again during World War II, when it was taken to Gloucester Cathedral in western England.
Despite its significance in the crowning of monarchs for over 600 years, the coronation chair has been vandalized by schoolboys from nearby Westminster School and by tourists, one of whom wrote: “P. Abbott slept in this chair 5-6 July 1800.”
I'm just here for the party, German says
She's not a huge fan of the royal family. Instead Nicole Domnofski said she came for the party.
The German national, 55, said she traveled from the city of Dusseldorf and had hoped to watch the proceedings from The Mall, a grand processional route running from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square in central London.
But she said the crowds were too heavy, so she retreated to Partridges, a famous family run store in Chelsea, west London. There she watched the coronation on a big screen, draped in Union Jack flag.
As the camera panned to William and Kate she "oohed," along with the rest of the crowd. “They are the ones I am most excited to see,” Domnofski said.
Charles is first U.K. monarch to be anointed in oils made from olives, not 'whale vomit'
Charles is the first British monarch to be anointed in coronation oils made from olives, not from ambergris — a valuable and rare ingredient used in luxury perfumes and known as "whale vomit."
Last used at the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II, ambergris is a dullish gray slurry which forms in a sperm whale's small intestine and renowned for its sweet, musky, smell.
King Charles' coronation oil was made using olives harvested from groves at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension in Jerusalem's old city, before being consecrated at the Church of Holy Sepulchre in March, where Christians believe Jesus was crucified. It was perfumed using sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin, amber and orange blossom.
What is the anointing screen?
There is a tree embroidered on the anointing screen used for the anointing of Charles, the most sacred moment of the coronation: it is the Commonwealth tree.
On each leaf, the names of all 56 Commonwealth nations are embroidered.
The screen is veiling this significant moment by purpose: the only witnesses to the anointment are the king, the archbishop, and God. This sacred moment in the coronation will not be seen by the millions of spectators around the world.
Charles being anointed with sacred oil Elizabeth I once referred to as 'grease'
In another Anglican Christian ceremony and centuries-old tradition, Charles is being anointed, blessed and consecrated by Welby.
The process of anointing is a deeply religious moment, similar to a baptism. The Dean of Westminster is pouring holy oil from the Ampulla into the Coronation Spoon, and the Archbishop is anointing Charles on the hands, chest and head. It is inspired by the biblical anointing of King Solomon.
The new oil Charles is being anointed with was made with olives harvested from two groves around monasteries on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, one being the Monastery of Mary Magdalene the burial place of the King's paternal grandmother, Princess Andrew of Greece.
Elizabeth I once referred to the sacred oil as “grease” that “smelt ill,” according to George Gross, a theologian at King’s College London.
Legoland U.K. creates King Charles's coronation scenesApril 27, 202301:22
Katy Perry looking for her seat has become the first big meme of the coronation
Katy Perry Perry’s arrival at the coronation service has inspired several memes on social media, including a moment captured on camera where the singer struggled to find her seat for the ceremony that has since gone viral on Twitter. People are, in their own words, “obsessed” with the moment.
In the short clip, both Perry and Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, crane their necks as they wander around the church on a quest to find their seats for the coronation.
Perry has a large role to play during the remainder of the coronation weekend’s schedule. Alongside her fellow “American Idol” judge Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli, and the British pop group Take That, Perry will be headlining the king’s coronation concert at Windsor Castle on May 7.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was just reading from the Epistle to the Colossians.
The reading began with the lines: "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Ceremony features 12 new pieces of music
Responsibility for the music featured in the ceremony fell to the Master of the King’s “Musick,” Judith Weir, who became the first female master of the Queen’s music in 2014.
She worked alongside Westminster Abbey’s Master of Music Andrew Nethsingha.
During the ceremony 12 new commissions will be performed, including a Coronation Anthem by the English composer and Broadway icon Andrew Lloyd Webber and a Coronation March by the Oscar-nominated Scottish composer, Patrick Doyle.
The service will for the first time include languages from around the U.K., including a prayer in Welsh and a hymn sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.
A coronation offers a rare glimpse into the British royal family’s famous treasures, the crown jewels, which are normally locked away in the medieval Tower of London.
The crowning of King Charles III on Saturday will see the monarchy’s regalia and finery, seen in public only on important state occasions, on full display.
Read our guide for a tour of what will be on display and what it all means.
See Charles and Camilla's procession to Westminster AbbeyMay 6, 202337:43
Charles takes the coronation oath to maintain the Protestant faith
Charles is now taking the coronation oath, a legal requirement since a law passed in 1689 compelled King William and Queen Mary to promise to maintain the Protestant faith.
"I Charles do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law," he said.
The same year, Parliament passed a law that bans any Catholic from taking the throne — a rule still in effect.
This law goes back to Tudor England in the 1500's, when King Henry VIII broke his Catholic ties and founded the Church of England, so that he could end his first marriage to Spain's Catherine of Aragon. Henry, who infamously married six times, wanted to get a divorce so he could marry Anne Boleyn, one of his wife’s ladies-in-waiting, who was later beheaded under his orders.
A brief history of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey has been the place where British monarchs are crowned since 1066.
It is also the final resting place for more than 3,300 people. In total 17 monarchs have been buried there, including Queen Elizabeth I who was laid to rest in 1603.
Charles is the 40th monarch to be crowned in the abbey, and the 10th monarch to be crowned since the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776.
'God save King Charles' rings out in Westminster Abbey
Standing next to the 700-year-old coronation chair, Charles turned to face the four sides of the abbey to be proclaimed the “undoubted king” before the congregation.
The Archbishop made the first declaration. For the first time, the ensuing declarations are being made by the Lady of the Garter and the Lady of the Thistle — representing the oldest orders of chivalry in England and Scotland — and a George Cross holder from the U.K.'s armed forces.
The congregation are now jubilantly declaring, “God save King Charles!” followed by trumpets with each declaration.
Princess Charlotte of Wales wears a tiara on the way to the coronation service.
Why Joe Biden isn't at the coronation serviceMay 6, 202301:46
The Archbishop of Canterbury begins to deliver his liturgy
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has begun to deliver his liturgy, or sermon.
The theme of the Liturgy is “Called to Serve,” a reflection of the commitment that Charles will make to "serve God and the people, and the decades of public service of The King and The Queen," according to a statement released by Welby's website.
As is tradition, Welby has invited millions of Britons watching to “make their homage, in heart and voice, to their undoubted King, defender of all.”
Who are the Pages of Honor?
King Charles's eldest grandson Prince George is one of four Pages of Honor chosen to participate in today's ceremony.
Prince William's son is the youngest future king to have an official role in the coronation.
Together with Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Master Nicholas Barclay, and Master Ralph Tollemanche, he has been tasked with carrying the long train of Charles’ robes.
The entire coronation ceremony is rooted in longstanding tradition and Christian symbolism. But for the first time, members of other faith traditions — a reflection of Britain's many diverse communities — will also play an active role in the service.
As Charles entered Westminster Abbey, rows of choir singers began singing the traditional Anglican anthem, “I was Glad,” a piece based on Psalm 122 that has been used at this precise moment in coronations since at least 1626.
The coronation is presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, whose role in the ceremony has remained unchanged since 1066.
Coronation service of King Charles III begins
The coronation service of King Charles III has started at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET).
This is the first time the U.K. is holding a coronation service of a male monarch since the coronation of Charles' grandfather and Elizabeth's father, George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, who came to be known as the Queen Mother under her daughter's reign, on May 12, 1937.
The day Charles' grandfather George VI was crowned king had originally been chosen for the coronation of his brother, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to marry American socialite, Wallis Simpson.
Prince Harry arrives at King Charles III’s coronationMay 6, 202305:24
Kate’s jewelry nods towards Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge arrived at Westminster Abbey wearing jewelry that made subtle nods to the late Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II with her choice of jewelry for the ceremony.
She is wearing the George VI festoon necklace, a triple-row necklace of diamonds that was commissioned by Elizabeth’s father.
Elizabeth wore this on several notable occasions including her White House state dinner in 2007.
Kate is also wearing a pair of Princess Diana’s diamond-and-pearl earrings.
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew seated in third row
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew appear to be seated in the third row at Westminster Abbey.
Andrew arrived wearing the velvet robes and gold insignia that denotes him as a Knight of the Garter, a ceremonial role he has held since the late Queen bestowed it upon him in 2006.
In contrast, Prince Harry wore a simple morning suit as requested by Buckingham Palace, not the military uniform he has previously worn in royal ceremonies, including the Queen's funeral last year.
King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive at Westminster Abbey
The king and queen arrived at Westminster Abbey ahead of the coronation, entering through the Great West door of the ancient church.
Ahead of them a long procession of uniformed officials and clergy paraded and a fanfare sounded.
King Charles wore the "Robe of State," a ceremonial fur cloak, and long red train carried by four pages, including grandson Prince George. Queen Camilla wore a floor-length white and gold brocade dress and Coronation Necklace, originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858. Queen Elizabeth III wore it for her coronation in 1953.
The family controversies hanging over the coronation
Scandals and tricky family relationships could tarnish King Charles's reign and the monarchy itself.
Past and ongoing issues with Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and even his wife, Camilla, could overshadow the new king’s rule if they are not carefully managed, royal experts say.
“The royal family is one of the most visible and tenuous aspects of the crown’s overall brand,” said Cele Otnes, co-author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture.” “It’s hard to manage people,” she added.
Princes Harry and Andrew arrive at Westminster Abbey
Prince Harry, Charles’ youngest son, and King Charles III’s brother, the disgraced Prince Andrew, have arrived in Westminster Abbey ahead of coronation.
Video of arrivals showed Harry entering the church as the king made his way from Buckingham Palace. While he will attend the coronation service, he and his uncle do not have official roles in the celebrations.
Harry's wife Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has remained in California, where she is celebrating their son Archie's 4th birthday.
Celebrations begin on London's famous King's Road
It’s called King’s Road for a reason. At one time only King Charles II could use it to travel between his royal residences, historian Daniel Pembrey told NBC News Saturday.
Eventually the aristocracy were allowed to use it and more recent years, the road in west London has been a stomping ground for some of the most popular figures in British music and fashion.
Mary Quant, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were all regulars in the 1960’s and the following decade Vivienne Westwood opened her store Sex on it. Notorious punk group the Sex Pistols would meet there regularly.
Pembrey, who has lived in the area for 12 years, said he hoped coronation day would give “people a chance to think about something bigger and more joyful,.”
The road will see a parade of the U.K.’s veteran community and some 100 King Charles Spaniel Dogs later in the day.
From queen consort to Queen Camilla
You'll notice that we've been referring to King Charles' wife Camilla as Queen Camilla — not "queen consort" as she was previously named.
With the cover of the order of service for today's coronation titled: “The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla" it appears that transition is over.
Charles and Camilla were married on April 9, 2005, after famously having a long-term extramarital affair while Charles was still married to Princess Diana. Their marriage was also a groundbreaking event since it entailed the heir to the throne marrying a divorcee — something previously taboo.
Crucially, Camilla appeared to have won the support of the late queen. In 2022, Elizabeth made clear that Camilla should instead be queen consort upon Charles’ ascension. And in recent weeks, it was confirmed she would simply be titled Queen Camilla.
Wellwishers were cheering so loudly that they appeared to spook some of the horses, which briefly broke out of formation.
Crowds cheer as Charles and Camilla pass by
Crowds cheered loudly as King Charles and Queen Camilla passed by in the Diamond Jubilee Coach as their carriage carried them from Buckingham Palace.
The king and queen will make their way to Westminster Abbey, as wellwishers watch on along the procession route.
The king's procession begins from Buckingham Palace
King Charles and Queen Camilla's procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey has begun.
The royal couple will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was first used by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.
The carriage's interior is inlaid with wood, metal and other materials from churches and royal places with specific connections to Britain and its history.
It also includes material from historic ships, including the Mary Rose, a warship from Henry VIII's reign. The gilded crown on the top of the carriage was carved from oak from HMS Victory, a British warships ordered in the 1750s.
Although it carries many remnants of the past, the carriage has a distinct modern feature: it is air-conditioned and has hydraulic suspension. Six Windsor Grey horses — used only by the sovereign, and occasionally for a visiting head of state — are pulling the carriage.
Police officers detain 'Just Stop Oil' protester
Police officers could be seen detaining a member of the Just Stop Oil protest group as people gather to watch the king's procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.The campaigning organization said that 20 of its supporters had been arrested for wearing T-shirts with the group's name "at the coronation." Just Stop Oil is demanding no new licenses or consents for any fossil fuel projects in the U.K.
London's Metropolitan Police did not confirm the arrests.
The ritual of crowning a new king or queen is more than 1,000 years old. And each of the objects used has its own importance and symbolism in sealing a bond among the monarch, the people, the church and God.
Read our guide to what the main items used in King Charles III’s coronation on Saturday mean.
King Charles and Queen Camilla get onto royal carriage
King Charles and his wife Queen Camilla have been seen in Buckingham Palace boarding the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, first used by his mother Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.
They will travel to Westminster Abbey for the coronation and then back to the palace later on Saturday.
An emotional day for many
The coronation is an emotional day for many, the royal family connecting them to their own loved ones.
Vicky Turnbull, an elementary school worker who travelled to the Mall in central London from the East Midlands city of Leicester with six friends, was waving a flag that her mother — who died 18 months ago — waved at the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
“My mum came to the queen’s coronation. She talked about it all the time. I know she would have been so proud if she was here,” she said. Turnbull also kept a promise to the children of Hallbrook School that she would display a banner bearing the school’s name.
Procession viewing areas are full
All procession viewing areas along the route are full and no entry will be granted to new arrivals, Britain's Department for Culture, Media and Sport said.
The viewing areas hit their maximum capacity at around 8:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET).
The king will begin his procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in just under 15 minutes, starting at 10:20 a.m. local time (5:20 a.m. ET).
Prince Andrew booed as he leaves Buckingham Palace
Prince Andrew was booed by some members of the crowd as he left Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey.
The Duke of York, has been tainted by allegations of sexual abuse related to his long association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his confidant, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of child sex trafficking in 2021.
Allegations by Virginia Giuffre that she had been trafficked to Andrew and forced to have sex with him dogged Prince Andrew for years and, in November 2019, a high-profile BBC interview with the royal that clearly intended to push back on the claims backfired spectacularly. Soon after, he stepped back from his public duties.
Head of U.K. anti-monarchy group arrested amid 'major police operation'
The head of the U.K.’s main anti-monarchy group Republic was arrested hours ahead of King Charles III's coronation amid what the officials called a "major police operation."
Five Republic activists, along with the group's leader Graham Smith, were arrested on Saturday morning with hundreds of placards seized, the organization said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police said on Twitter:“ A significant police operation is underway in central London,”
“We have made a number of arrests in the area of Carlton House Terrace,” they added, which is just 10 minutes from Buckingham Palace. They added that the protestors were arrested on “suspicion of breaching the peace.”
'Dancing king' dolls are popular souvenirs for the coronationMay 2, 202301:14
Other four-legged friends have also joined the festivities, with this pup looking less pleased about the weather conditions:
Don't 'startle the horses'
The thousands of royal supporters gathered on the Mall have been warned: Don’t spook the horses.
A message played on the loudspeakers just before 8 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) said that hundreds of police and military horses are going to take part in the procession and that fans should not wave flags or throw anything onto the road that could “startle the horses” while they are passing.
“Your cooperation is greatly appreciated, especially by the horses,” the message said.
First lady Jill Biden arrives at Westminster Abbey
First lady Jill Biden has arrived at Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony.
She was wearing a periwinkle suit with matching fascinator and gloves as she entered the historic building.
President Joe Biden is not in attendance, because no U.S. president has ever attended a British coronation, a tradition that continues today.
Royal wellwishers are braving the rain and trying their best to find a vantage point on the Mall to watch the king and queen make their way to Westminster Abbey for Britain’s first coronation in 70 years.
'Final preparations' underway, royal family says
Photo: Champagne popping in London's Hyde Park
It might still be morning, but some members of the public are already getting in the party mood in London’s Hyde Park ahead of the coronation.
High fashion and finery as celebrities steal some of the spotlight
Singer Katy Perry, who will perform at the coronation concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday, is among a host of celebrities attending the coronation ceremony.
Other stars in attendance include actors Emma Thompson, Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley.
Singers Lionel Richie and Nick Cave were also in attendance, along with a plethora of other British TV stars and athletes.
Guests arriving at Westminster Abbey
Guests have already started to fill Westminster Abbey ahead of the coronation. Over 2,000 people are expected to form the congregation.
In addition to the expected VIPs, including first lady Jill Biden, who is representing the United States, Buckingham Palace has also invited community volunteers and key workers, including some British Empire Medal recipients.
Americans travel to London to celebrate King Charles’ coronationMay 5, 202301:19
Anti-monarchy activist detained ahead of coronation
Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic said that six of their protestors were arrested ahead of the coronation.
Footage posted on Twitter appeared to show demonstrators in yellow “Not My King” t-shirts being arrested by police.
London’s Metropolitan Police said that they had made a “number of arrests” at Carlton House Terrace, just a 10 minute walk for Buckingham Palace.
“A significant police operation is under way in central London,” the force said in a separate Twitter statement, adding that “the individuals have been held on suspicion of breaching the peace.”
Charles and Camilla arrive at Buckingham Palace
King Charles and Queen Camilla arrived at Buckingham Palace ahead of the coronation on Saturday.
The couple, who were seen arriving in a black car with the Royal Standards, will be readying to start what's known as the king's procession from the palace to Westminster Abbey, where the king is to be crowned.
The procession starts at 10:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. ET).
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew will have no formal role in the coronation
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew will not have any formal role in the coronation today.
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously said Harry, who stepped down from his royal duties along with his wife, Meghan Markle, would be in attendance at the service. Andrew is also expected to attend.
Meghan was expected to remain in California with the couple's two children. Son Archie is turning 4 on Saturday as his grandfather is crowned 5,500 miles away.
Anti-monarchy protestors detained ahead of coronation
Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic said some of their activists had been detained by the police ahead of the coronation.
Footage posted on Twitter by the group appeared to show demonstrators in yellow “Not My King” T-shirts being arrested by police.
“They are under arrest, end of,” the police said in the footage in response to questioning by protestors.
NBC News has contacted the Metropolitan Police and Republic for comment.
A military band passes the Cenotaph war memorial in central London ahead of the coronation.
King Charles is set to be crowned, but is he a monarch for modern Britain?
Among the latest touch-ups to the king’s long-awaited coronation, the public have been invited to declare in unison “God save King Charles” in “a chorus of millions of voices.”
For many, the invitation jars awkwardly with reality: There are more questions hanging over the new monarch and indeed the Windsor family itself than at any point in living memory.
Charles is far less popular than his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II. And now that she’s not around, polls suggest the prevailing mood ahead of Charles’ coronation has been one of apathy, especially among young people.
The official Royal Family released their coronation guide, including timings for events.
The family also released timings for their appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony and the flypast, which is set to start at 2:30 p.m (10.30 a.m. ET)
Police issue a warning to protestors
In the lead-up to the coronation, London's Metropolitan Police said officers would be cracking down on protests or "disruption."
"Our tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low," the tweet said. "We will deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration."
'A moment of extraordinary national pride,' British PM says
For one American, this is the second coronation of a lifetime
A coronation is a once in a lifetime event for most — but not for one American woman who travelled to London early Saturday to attend her second.
Graham Burns, 83, from the small town of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, was just 13 when she came to London with her sister for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Now she’s back with her family to see the rare spectacle of a monarch’s procession all over again.
“It was the biggest thrill to see her in the golden coach,” she said, referring to the same Golden State Coach in which Charles and Queen Camilla will slowly make their way to Westminster Abbey on Saturday.
“Winston Churchill went by, we saw the queen — she was such a popular person.”
South Asians grapple with impact of colonialism on coronation day
With golden carriages, crowns, capes and jewels all set to be trotted out, people in the diaspora are preparing themselves for a celebration of an institution that they say oppressed their parents, grandparents and ancestors.
Born only a year after India won independence from what was then his grandfather’s empire, King Charles’ legacy is impossible to divorce from the pains of colonialism that still ripple through the subcontinent and diaspora today, experts said. The coronation, no matter how scaled back, is a relic of that colonial legacy, they said.
“I think the pageantry and pomp is kind of the last hurrah of an empire in deep decline,” said Priyamvada Gopal, 54, a professor of postcolonial studies at the University of Cambridge. “This is almost like a parody of empire and imperial pageantry, while there is very real everyday suffering.”
The U.K. is the only country in Europe to still hold a lavish coronation ceremony like today's.
Other countries, such as France and Germany, have abolished the monarchy, opted for a more simple affair, like Norway, or have never had coronations, such as the Netherlands.
Still, the coronation has drawn nationals from across Europe. Ingrid Davies, 58, a personal assistant from Stuttgart, Germany, got to meet and shake hands with the king as he met fans in an unscheduled walkabout on the Mall Friday.
“We wished him all the best,” she said, delighted to have met monarch amid the scrum to just catch a glimpse of him. “It’s British history. All our friends and family will watching at home.”
Largest movement of armed forces on U.K. railways since Winston Churchill’s funeral
More than 5,000 armed forces personnel traveled by train to London's Waterloo Station before they marched off to take part in the coronation ceremony.
Network Rail which owns, operates and develops Britain’s railway infrastructure, said it was the biggest movement of military personnel on Britain’s railways since Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965.
Richard Dixon, 38, from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, braves the cold alongside mother, Joyce, 64. The pair arrived Thursday ahead of Saturday’s coronation, and they are clearly ready for the rain.
Coronation order of service released
Officials released the order of service for the coronation, which includes prayers, hymns and descriptions of the event set to start at 11 a.m. (6 a.m. ET).
The document, published on Westminster Abbey's website, runs to over 50 pages and starts with a history of the event:
"When William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold at Hastings in 1066, he was determined that he should be seen as the legitimate king of England. He set his sights on being crowned in the new Abbey Church that Edward the Confessor had built beside his Palace at Westminster. For almost a thousand years, Westminster Abbey, with the Shrine of St Edward, King and Confessor, at its heart, has remained the place of coronation for our Monarchs."
Operation 'Golden Orb' is underway
Some 11,500 police officers from across the U.K. are taking part in a vast security operation on Saturday.
Code named "Golden Orb," the operation is one of the biggest in the long history of the Metropolitan Police, the force covering greater London.
Public information screens at train stations are reminding the public to be vigilant.
Everything you need to know about today's ceremony
As the king prepares to start his procession to Westminster Abbey later this morning, here's our handy guide on everything you need to know about today's events:
The sun shines on the crowd for now, but the forecast predicts rain for much of the day today, including during the king's procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, which is expected to commence at 10:20 a.m. local time (5:20 a.m. ET).
The crowds are already so big this morning that at around 7 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) security staff told people that the south side of The Mall — a plumb spot for seeing the king’s procession to Westminster Abbey — was entirely full, and told them to return to Green Park where the parade and ceremony will be shown on a big screen.
A loudspeaker relayed across The Mall asked people to pack up their tents to make room for more onlookers.
Not everyone heard this plea, however, as they were fast asleep in their camping chairs. Meanwhile, those who are awake are giving police officers, security guards and royal parks employees who walk past a hearty cheer.
'It's the king. I've liked him for many years'
King Charles’ coronation is finally here, but some royal supporters have been camping out in central London for days.
Thomas Moore, 80, from Salt Lake City, set up his temporary home on The Mall, a few hundred yards from Buckingham Palace, last Friday, braving the cold and rain in a blue tarpaulin and camping chair.
“It’s the king. I’ve liked him for many years. I believe in the things he believes in. He’s a musician, he’s an artist, he’s a poet, he saves buildings — he’s a Renaissance man,” he said Friday.
Julie Miller traveled Friday from Belfast, Northern Ireland, with two friends, dressed in red white and blue and masks bearing the faces of the royal family. “We can’t believe we’re here. We planned this from the moment it was announced,” she said. “I think he will be a great king. This is what he’s been born for, trained for, and what better idol to etch than the queen.”
British military personnel were ready bright and early outside London's Waterloo Station for today's events.
They are moving across the city to help marshal the thousands of onlookers who will be watching the king's procession to Westminster Abbey.
Good morning and welcome to our live blog on the coronation of King Charles III.
London is already abuzz as crowds start to gather in public viewing areas along today's procession route.
Follow along for the latest updates as Charles becomes the 40th British sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey today.