A Guide to Coronations: What Are They and When do They Happen?

A Guide to Coronations: What Are They and When do They Happen? - Heads and Tails Coin Jewellery

A Guide to Coronations: What Are They and When do They Happen?

With King Charles’ Coronation taking place in May 2023, we’ve put together a guide to explain what happens during a coronation, the significance of the coronation ceremony and how you can celebrate this spectacular event with keepsakes of your own.

What is a coronation?

A coronation is a royal ceremonial occasion during which the new monarch is crowned. It’s a celebratory event of great magnitude that takes place in Westminster Abbey, London, to appoint a new King or Queen.

Throughout history, coronations have been symbolic events where the new Sovereign is crowned and presented with royal ceremonial objects to mark their reign as King or Queen.

Coronations can be traced back over thousands of years, and as a Christian ceremony in the UK, much of the service is steeped in religion and Christian worship. Held in Westminster Abbey since 1066, Kings and Queens have been crowned in coronation ceremonies by the Archbishop of Canterbury throughout history, with this location continuing to serve as the traditional place to anoint the new monarch.

The word ‘coronation’ derives from the Latin word meaning crown, ‘corona,’ and is used to describe the royal inauguration.

What happens at a coronation?

Throughout history, coronation ceremonies have largely stayed the same, featuring lots of hymns, prayers, and music. The service itself typically consists of six parts, starting with the procession into Westminster Abbey. This is where the new monarch travels from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, with Armed Forces from across the Commonwealth and British Overseas Territories included in the procession.

  1. The Recognition: The start of the ceremony is called the Recognition and here, the Monarch will be presented to the congregation by the Archbishop of Canterbury whilst standing next to the coronation chair. The people will shout ‘God Save the King/Queen’ to recognise the new King/Queen, after which, trumpets will sound.
  2. The Oath: The second part of the ceremony is when the new Sovereign swears on oath to uphold the law and the Church of England. This is the only element of the ceremony that is legally required.
  1. The Anointing: The Anointing is the central act of the coronation ceremony and the ceremonial robes are removed from the monarch before they sit in the Coronation Chair. The Archbishop anoints them with holy oil, using the Coronation Spoon, the oldest item in the coronation regalia, to carry out this part of the ceremony.
  1. The Investiture: The new monarch is dressed in a robe made of gold silk called the Supertunica and presented with a variety of spectacular items from the coronation regalia. These include the Crown Jewels, the Orb and the Sceptre which adorn the monarch sat upon the Coronation Chair. Lastly, the crown is given to the Archbishop by the Dean of Westminster and is placed on the monarch’s head, finally crowning them as King or Queen.
  1. The Enthronement: To end the coronation ceremony, the new monarch moves to the throne in the main area of the Abbey to ‘take possession of the kingdom.’
  1. The Homage: The new King/Queen receives homage of the people, performed by Lords Spiritual (the bishops) and then the Lords Temporal. They do this by placing their hands between the new monarch’s hands, swearing allegiance, and touching the crown.

After the service, another procession takes place to allow as many people as possible to see the newly crowned King or Queen. From Westminster Abbey, the new monarch travels through the streets of London and back to Buckingham Palace.

How long does a coronation ceremony last?

Typically, coronation ceremonies vary in length with a full programme taking place throughout the service. There is no set duration, however Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation ceremony lasted three hours.

Celebrations surrounding the event will begin in the days and weeks leading up to the service, and for quite some time afterwards. It’s common for street parties, picnics, and celebrations to take place around the UK and across the globe to commemorate the crowning of a new King or Queen.

Why do we have coronations?

Coronations have taken place to see the crowning of a new King or Queen following the death of the previous monarch. They are an important religious and symbolic ceremony that marks a key moment in history, representing the beginning of a new reign.

When is King Charles’ coronation?

The coronation of King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023 and will see his majesty enthroned following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.

During the coronation, King Charles will be crowned followed by Camilla, the Queen Consort. The Queen Consort will have a shorter coronation than the King, however much of the services will be the same.

The significance of coronation coins

Over time, coins have been a way to celebrate coronation ceremonies and as they mark key moments in history, they are incredibly popular keepsakes and collectables. They are symbolic of a new reign, a new era, and a new Monarch in British history.

The coins feature an effigy of the new monarch and are typically struck in a variety of sizes in both silver and gold.

Will there be a King Charles coronation coin?

To celebrate the new King, a new coronation crown coin has been created in several denominations, including 50p and £5. The collection features the first official crowned coinage portrait of King Charles III and have been made to commemorate the new King. The King Charles coronation coin collection features one of three designs on the reverse, with the portrait of the King on the obverse.

Our collection of limited edition King Charles III coins are keepsakes that you can use and wear every day or to celebrate the coronation. We have created bespoke and handmade King Charles III portrait keyrings and King Charles III 50p necklaces that have been lovingly handcrafted to make the perfect coronation keepsake for yourself or a gift for a loved one, commemorating what will be for some, a once in a lifetime event.