Prince Charles, as we’ve long known him, immediately assumed the title of King upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. But the 73-year-old head of the British Monarchy has to go through a big, gold-plated ceremony that will let everyone know that he is now King Charles, just in case you were unaware.
The lead-up to the big event has been turbulent, with sources claiming that last-minute changes to the schedule, difficulty booking musical acts, and delays have made the entire process a “massive headache.” The Palace has reportedly built a scale replica of Westminster Abbey to rehearse and fine-tune the proceedings to ensure they go off without a hitch.
It is expected that this once-in-a-century event (although, it’s unlikely we’ll wait another 70 years for the next coronation) will turn heads and stop the world, as millions across the planet are expected to tune in, not least of all the 2.65 billion people who make up the British Commonwealth.
Australia, for its part, has sent a delegation of support, led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which includes comedian Adam Hills, musician Nick Cave, Matilda’s captain Sam Kerr, youth activist Yasmin Poole, and Wiradjuri artist Jasmine Coe, amongst others. Albanese has confirmed he will be saying the oath of allegiance that the public is invited to join during the ceremony.
In addition, Australia has also gifted King Charles some rare parrots. Not literally, as they’re close to extinction, but we will be donating $10,000 to the protection of the Western Ground Parrot as Charles is a known environmentalist.
With the coronation set to be a three-day affair, here are all the details you need to know about the King’s Coronation 2023.
What Date Is the King’s Coronation?
King Charles III’s coronation will happen on Saturday, 6 May, 2023, with the Coronation Concert taking place on 7 May. Monday, 8 May, has been designated ‘The Big Help Out’ in the UK, encouraging people to use their public holiday to engage in volunteer work in their communities.
The main event will take place at Westminster Abbey, the hallowed church in the centre of London, where Royal coronations have all taken place since William the Conqueror in 1066. Charles will become the 40th monarch to be crowned there this year.
It’s a tradition that has basically remained unchanged for 1,000 years but, according to Westminster Abbey, coronations technically don’t have to happen. Constitutionally, Britain always has a monarch following the death of the previous one. It’s primarily a religious ceremony, with the monarch making promises to God and the people they will ‘serve’. It’s a way of letting the public recognise and celebrate the new leader.
The ceremony itself will start at 11am local time (8pm AEST), where the King and Queen Consort will travel over 2km through London from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.
All the details on how to watch the Coronation can be found here.
King Charles’ Coronation Concert
One of the biggest questions in the lead up to the event has been ‘who is actually going to play the big gig?’ The Palace has planned a big ‘Coronation Concert’ at Windsor Castle as part of the celebrations which was thought up as a showcase of the best of British musical talent but it appears to have turned into something of a ‘best of the rest’.
Unfortunately for Charlie, the Royal family aren’t the most popular people on the planet. As such, more than a few big-name musicians have awkwardly sidestepped the invitation to play the King’s hat-getting ceremony, leaving Charles Windsor in a bit of a pickle.
Adele, Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams, Elton John, Harry Styles, the Spice Girls – who were rumoured to be reuniting for the gig – and even our very own Minogue Sisters all publically turned the monarch down.
While the lineup might not be quite as star-studded as first hoped there is some halfway decent talent which the BBC has now officially announced after weeks of speculation and rumour.
Tom Cruise, Bear Grylls, and Sir Tom Jones as well as Dame Joan Collins will appear at the concert in pre-recorded sketches revealing little-known facts about the monarch. Winnie the Pooh is also scheduled to make an appearance.
On the musical front, new announcements include Paloma Faith, Olly Murs, guitarist Steve Winwood, and Nicole Scherzinger from The Pussycat Dolls. Chinese pianist Lang Lang and Nigerian singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage have also been booked, as has British DJ Pete Tong who will be bringing a selection of Ibiza Classics. It’s as yet unconfirmed whether the Palace will be providing the glowsticks.
You’ll of course get the typical classical showing, with songs from British composers like William Byrd, George Handel, and Edward Elgar being performed. With the King personally involved in the music selection, 12 specially commissioned pieces have been written for the occasion, including one by Andrew Lloyd-Webber of Cats fame. There is also expected to be a gospel choir and Greek Orthodox music to pay tribute to Charles’ dad, the late Prince Phillip.
Previously confirmed acts include opera singers Andrea Bocelli and Sir Bryn Terfel who will be performing a duet at the concert. Take That — minus Robbie Williams — have also previously been locked in, as has US soul legend Lionel Richie, and American popstar Katy Perry.
Bette Midler, it has been confirmed, will also be flying to the UK for a one-off show for the Coronation. The 77-year-old American singer is apparently a big fan of the Royals, having performed in the Royal Variety Performance in 2009 and 2014.
So, while Charles will get his diamond-encrusted hat regardless, on the music front, the Coronation Concert is not at risk of rivalling Glastonbury.
Why Is The Coronation So Long After the Queen’s Death?
The Queen died on September 8, 2022 and Charles will be crowned eight months later. This is pretty typical for a death-of-the-monarch/coronation gap.
A coronation is supposed to be a joyous, celebratory occasion, and it’s not considered respectful to be celebrating so soon after the death of the monarch who is, typically, a close family member after all.
The gap also gives the Coronation Committee time to plan the event and, you know, book the musicians to play.
Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, almost a year and a half after the death of her father, George VI in 1952, so large gaps are not unusual.
Will Camilla Just Be Known As the Queen?
Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, is currently known by the title ‘Queen Consort’ which she attained when Charles became King. It’s just the title given to someone who is married to a King of Royal ascendency. Basically, because she’s not in line for the throne, she gets this weird title that would make her a ‘Queen Dowager’ if Charles died. She can’t become ‘Queen Regent’, ie, the actual ruling Queen since she’s not in the line of succession.
The coronation of Charles is actually the coronation of both Camilla and Charles, with neither of their titles changing. Camilla’s title is something that Queen Elizabeth was keen for her to have, writing in a statement on her 70th year on the throne that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla “be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service”.
However, sources at the Palace have said that, unofficially, Camilla is probably going to be known as ‘The Queen’ since the title of Queen Consort is “cumbersome” and ‘The Queen’ is a “simpler title.”
“There’s a view in the palace that Queen Consort is cumbersome, and it might be simpler for Camilla to be known just as the Queen when the time is right,” a ‘source’ is quoted as having told the Daily Mail.
Already, Camilla’s charity, The Reading Room, has updated its name from ‘The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room’ to ‘The Queen’s Reading Room’, which this source says is a sign of things to come.
In Royal statements and official events, however, she will still use and keep her official title of Queen Consort.
Will Harry and Meghan Go to the Coronation?
Of course, one of the biggest questions around the Coronation is over whether or not Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will be at the ceremony.
There have been months of speculation over the couple’s attendance, following their ‘stepping back’ from the Royal family and Royal duties in 2020. The pair cited intense British tabloid scrutiny, a lack of privacy, and allegations of racism towards Meghan in their decision to start a new life in the US.
Last week, Buckingham Palace released a statement confirming that Harry will attend his father’s coronation, while Meghan will “remain in California with Price Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
The Coronation is the same day as Archie’s fourth birthday, which some have speculated was a factor in the decision.
Harry is expected to fly in just for the day of the coronation, 6 May, and then fly out again to be with his family.
The pair caused some concern after leaving their RSVP until a few weeks before the ceremony.
Is King Charles’ Coronation a Public Holiday In Australia?
The coronation is taking place on a Saturday in the UK, which means that the actual crowning of the King won’t take place until the early hours of Sunday morning, Australian time.
Given that it’s already a weekend, we won’t have a day off to stream the festivities.
The Government has not made an official decision over whether or not to give us a public holiday in lieu on Monday, May 8. A spokesperson told 9News back in October last year that it hasn’t been ruled out, but, given we’re so close to the date, it’s all but confirmed that Australia won’t get a public holiday.
Public holidays can also be granted at a state and territory level but, so far, both WA’s Premier, Mark McGowan, and VIC’s Premier, Dan Andrews, have explicitly ruled out granting a public holiday on the Monday.
The UK, it has been confirmed, will be getting an extra public holiday on the Monday after the coronation, but that’s no guarantee that we will.
NZ’s PM, Jacinda Ardern, has confirmed that she won’t be giving Kiwis the day off on that Monday, although they did get a day off to mourn the Queen after her passing in September.
Australia got a public holiday in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and Albo also gave us a day off to mourn the passing of the Queen as well. Here’s hoping he recognises our deepfelt and sincere wish to celebrate this historic event and our unrelated desire to watch TV all day.
If we don’t get one, the next Royal public holiday will be on June 12 for the King’s birthday for everyone except WA and QLD, who get a day off in September and October respectively. Who said the Royals don’t do anything for us?
For all the details on how to watch the coronation in Australia, head to this page.