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King Charles III's Coronation: Everything to Know About the Ceremony and Celebration

King Charles III's Coronation: Everything to Know About the Ceremony and Celebration

The coronation of King Charles III is approaching.

Although King Charles, 74, became the U.K.'s new monarch immediately upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on Sept. 8, 2022, he will be officially crowned in a ceremony steeped in tradition.

"Charles became King Charles the moment his mother died, but the coronation is to do with the job and being the monarch in the eyes of all the people," royal historian Robert Lacey told PEOPLE.

His wife Camilla, 75, will also be crowned as Queen Consort during the ceremony.

Where and When Will King Charles III's Coronation Take Place?

Buckingham Palace announced in October 2022 that King Charles' coronation will take place on May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey. The date is earlier than widely speculated — many believed that King Charles would pick a June date as a tribute to the month when Queen Elizabeth had her coronation in 1953.

Following nearly a thousand years of tradition, the service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"The Coronation will reflect the monarch's role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry," Buckingham Palace said.

What Crowns Will King Charles and Queen Camilla Use?

King Charles will wear the St. Edward Crown at his coronation. In December, the crown left the Tower of London, where it is stored with the other Crown Jewels, to undergo work to get it ready for the historic service in May.

The St. Edward Crown was first created for Charles II in 1661 and was a replacement for the previous crown that had been melted down in 1649. The palace said the original was thought to date back to the 11th-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor, who was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.

Meanwhile, Queen Camilla will wear Queen Mary's Crown. The spectacular sparkler is set with 2,200 diamonds and was first worn by Charles' great-grandmother Mary when she was crowned as Queen Consort beside her husband, King George V, in 1911.

Coronation Crowns
Coronation Crowns

JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty, Handout/Royal Collection Trust via Getty

The move marks the first time in recent history that a Queen Consort will use an existing crown for a coronation ceremony instead of commissioning something new. Buckingham Palace said the decision was made "in the interests of sustainability and efficiency," causes close to King Charles' heart.

Updates are being made to Queen Mary's Crown before Queen Camilla wears it at the coronation. Work is underway to reset the headpiece with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds from Queen Elizabeth II's jewelry collection. Another change will see four of the crown's eight detachable arches removed to create "a different impression to when the Crown was worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 Coronation," the palace said.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022 in London, England. This is the first state visit hosted by the UK with King Charles III as monarch, and the first state visit here by a South African leader since 2010.
King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022 in London, England. This is the first state visit hosted by the UK with King Charles III as monarch, and the first state visit here by a South African leader since 2010.

Chris Jackson/Getty King Charles and Queen Camilla

It was previously speculated that Camilla might wear the controversial crown the Queen Mother wore to her husband King George's coronation in 1937. The headpiece features the divisive Koh-i-Nûr diamond, a massive gem imported to Britain by the East India Company. It became part of Queen Victoria's collection but has been subject to ownership claims in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Who Will Attend King Charles' Coronation?

The Prince of Wales, King Charles III, the Duke of Sussex, the Queen Consort, the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess Royal look on as the State Gun Carriage carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Wellington Arch during the Ceremonial Procession following her State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, London.
The Prince of Wales, King Charles III, the Duke of Sussex, the Queen Consort, the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess Royal look on as the State Gun Carriage carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Wellington Arch during the Ceremonial Procession following her State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, London.

Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Members of the royal family will attend King Charles and Queen Camilla's coronation, although it remains to be seen if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will return to the U.K. for the event. In a January interview with ITV surrounding the release of his memoir Spare, the Duke of Sussex did not have a definitive answer about attending his father's coronation amid tensions with the family.

"If you are invited to the coronation, will you come?" ITV News anchor Tom Bradby asked.

"There's a lot that can happen between now and then," Prince Harry said. "But, the door is always open. The ball is in their court. There's a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they're willing to sit down and talk about it."

In this week's PEOPLE cover story, a source close to the royal household says that King Charles wants his younger son to attend the crowning ceremony.

King Charles III, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Princess Anne, Princess Royal arrive at the Committal Service held at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022 in Windsor, England.
King Charles III, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Princess Anne, Princess Royal arrive at the Committal Service held at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022 in Windsor, England.

Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool/Getty

"It is such a momentous occasion for Charles, and he would want his son to be at the coronation to witness it. He would like to have Harry back in the family," the source says.

However, a source close to Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, tells PEOPLE an invitation has yet to be extended, and there has been no movement toward reconciliation.

Prince Albert of Monaco recently told PEOPLE that he and his wife, Princess Charlene, look forward to attending the celebration in the U.K.

Who Will Be Behind the Scenes?

Hugo Burnand, the official wedding photographer for the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses Prince William Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, holds a print of one of his photographs taken at Clarence House on April 30, 2011 in London, England. The royal couple were married yesterday at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England.

Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty

According to The Times, King Charles' team has tapped Hugo Burnand as the official coronation photographer. Charles and Camilla previously called on Burnand, 59, to photograph another high-profile milestone: their wedding in 2005. The London cameraman evidently aced the assignment, and he got behind the camera again to take the official portraits of Prince William and Kate Middleton on their 2011 wedding day.

Like much of the rest of Charles' coronation plans, The Times reports that the pictures are "expected to combine a modern and traditional style."

Does the Coronation Have a Theme?

Coronation emblem
Coronation emblem

The Coronation emblem, released by Buckingham Palace

Not exactly — but more information is being released as the countdown gets closer. In early February, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport debuted a new website dedicated to the crowning ceremony. The site features previously released details on the upcoming ceremony at Westminster Abbey and the festive events planned for the three-day bank holiday weekend.

In another fun update, courtiers debuted an official "Coronation Celebration Playlist" on Spotify. The eclectic two-hour mix mostly features British talent including The Beatles, Coldplay, David Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Harry Styles, Queen, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Sam Ryder, the Spice Girls, The Kinks, The Who and Tom Jones.

King Charles' team has also unveiled an official coronation logo, created by former Apple design guru Sir Jony Ive. The logo is red and blue like the Union Jack and shows the St. Edward's Crown filled with and surrounded by the national flowers of the four nations of the United Kingdom — the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and the shamrock of Northern Ireland. Buckingham Palace said the logo is meant to evoke the King's "love of the natural world" and unity through the U.K.

King Charles III attends the Epiphany service at the church of St Lawrence, Castle Rising near the Sandringham Estate on January 8, 2023 in King's Lynn, England.
King Charles III attends the Epiphany service at the church of St Lawrence, Castle Rising near the Sandringham Estate on January 8, 2023 in King's Lynn, England.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty King Charles

What Other Events Will Surround the Coronation?

On May 6, the King's Procession will start at Buckingham Palace and make its way to Westminster Abbey for the coronation. Following the service, King Charles and Queen Camilla will be joined by members of the royal family for the larger Coronation Procession back to Buckingham Palace, where they will all appear on the iconic balcony.

The following day, the Coronation Concert will be broadcast live from Windsor Castle. The event will feature "global music icons and contemporary stars," supported by a world-class orchestra and dancers. Free pairs of tickets will be made available to the public via national ballot, and the concert will also be attended by volunteers from some of the King and Queen Consort's charity affiliations.

Synchronized with the concert, "Lighting up the Nation" will see iconic locations across the U.K. illuminated with projections, lasers and drone displays.

Also on May 7, citizens across the U.K. will gather with neighbors for the Coronation Big Lunch. Originally conceived by the Eden Project, the event is intended to "boost community spirit, reduce loneliness and support charities and good causes."

Monday, May 8, was announced as a bank holiday by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in November. U.K. citizens are invited to participate in the Big Help Out, a volunteering initiative.