King will reign ‘in his own way’, peer in charge of coronation says

The King will reign “in his own way” with the support of the Queen Consort and his family, the man in charge of the coronation has said.

The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, who is overseeing the historic occasion, described Charles’s crowning as a “proud moment in our national history”.

He said Charles was providing continuity by following in the late Queen’s footsteps and serving as monarch, but would “do it in his own way”.

King Charles III coronation
The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk (PA)

With just days to go until the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the duke said the event was a chance to bring the UK, the King’s overseas realms and the Commonwealth closer together by “plugging into the power of the past”.

He described the coronation as “blending the best of tradition and history while reflecting the nation we are today”.

More than 2,300 guests, including for the first time at a British coronation 100 heads of state, will gather on Saturday to see Charles and Camilla anointed and crowned in the UK’s first coronation for 70 years.

The duke, whose family has had the responsibility of organising state occasions since 1483, said: “This is a proud moment in our national history.

“During the coronation, the King will swear before God and the nation to serve our country as head of state, upholding our laws and maintaining justice for all.

King Charles III coronation
The King and the Queen Consort with Lords Speaker Lord McFall of Alcluith (left) and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle during their visit to Westminster Hall (Arthur Edwards/PA)

“But this is also a time to remind ourselves of the pride we have in our great country and our unwritten constitution, which has served us so well for over 1,000 years during our long history.

“The late Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned for 70 years and who dedicated her life to service, earned the admiration and respect of the world.

“Now we have the continuity of a new King who will follow in her footsteps, but do it in his own way with his wife and family carrying out their loyal service alongside His Majesty.

“It is a system which has constantly evolved over time, helping to secure the freedom we enjoy today.

“The coronation is an opportunity to bring our great nation, the realms and Commonwealth closer together, plugging into the power of the past, promoting our shared values to the wider world with all that we have to offer.”

King Charles III coronation
Union flags on the Mall (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

The duke is responsible for the main coronation organising group, made up of more than 100 representatives from the Government, Buckingham Palace, the heralds, the church, the military, the police, the BBC and other representatives.

“However, the baton of responsibility rests with me,” he said.

He said the King’s coronation would be different to Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953.

“This coronation has at its heart a Christian service, but it is also about service,” the duke said.

“The service the King is proud to perform as sovereign and the service so many selfless individuals devote to their communities for the public good around the nation, realms and Commonwealth.

“To that end, the main coronation service in Westminster Abbey will be different to 1953.”

King Charles III coronation
The view from the media platform on the Queen Victoria Memorial ahead of the coronation (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

At the Queen’s coronation there were more than 8,000 guests and the abbey closed for five months in preparation, rather than for a week and half.

In the abbey this time, the congregation will reflect a “broad cross-section of national and international guests” including local heroes, British Empire medallists and others who have contributed to British society, the duke said.

He also highlighted the representatives from other faiths taking part and reflecting the diversity of modern Britain, although the ceremony remains a sacred Anglican one.

The duke said the coronation procession back from the abbey to Buckingham Palace featuring 7,000 troops on ceremonial duties would be a “glorious display of pageantry”.

And he described the Big Help Out volunteering drive being staged on the bank holiday Monday as “a wonderful legacy” for the weekend of celebration.