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

At the May 6 ceremony, Camilla will be the first Queen Consort crowned in Westminster Abbey in nearly a century

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 and Queen Camilla. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty

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. The crown left the Tower of London, where it is stored with the other Crown Jewels, in early December 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.

The crown that Queen Camilla will wear is still widely speculated. It has been suggested that Camilla may wear a crown made for Charles' grandmother Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother to avoid confusion when her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, became monarch) for King George VI's 1937 coronation. However, it contains one of the most famous — and most controversial — diamonds in the Crown Jewels.

The Koh-i-Nûr diamond is the centerpiece of the Queen Mother's famous crown, but it is also at the center of an international row as demands grow in India for it to be returned. It was initially acquired by the then-East India Company and brought to Britain, where it ended up as part of Queen Victoria's collection. It is also subject to ownership claims in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As the gem is completely removable (as is the velvet cap usually worn for the coronation service), it is an option that King Charles and Queen Camilla might choose to remove the controversial gem — or opt for a different crown completely.

King Charles III and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort leave after visiting Bolton Town Hall
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Who Will Attend King Charles' Coronation?

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," Harry, 38, 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."

Prince Albert of Monaco recently told PEOPLE that he and his wife, Princess Charlene, look forward to attending the celebration in 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. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

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.

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