The King will be crowned today, but celebrations will take place all weekend – including processions, a concert and nationwide lunches.
Confused about what’s happening where and who’s curtseying to whom? Read on for Sky News’ ultimate guide to the coronation weekend.
What time is the King’s coronation today?
The coronation ceremony of the King – and his wife, soon to be known as Queen Camilla – will take place at Westminster Abbey from 11am after the royals arrive in procession from Buckingham Palace.
After the service, more members of the Royal Family will join for the procession back to the palace.
The King and Queen Consort are then expected to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to conclude the day’s ceremonial events – but more on that further down – including why we don’t yet know who will join them.
Here’s the overall order of the day.
The procession route
Unlike the Queen at her coronation, the King and Queen Consort will take the same 1.3-mile route to and from the ceremony.
They will travel down The Mall via Admiralty Arch, take the south side of Trafalgar Square, then go along Whitehall and Parliament Street, take the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary, before arriving at the abbey.
The Queen took a much longer route after her coronation, travelling five miles through Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, and finally down the Mall to end at Buckingham Palace.
The new King and Queen will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on their way to the ceremony and use the 260-year-old Gold State Coach for the return journey.
More details of the coronation procession route here.
Best spots to watch the procession in person
Viewing spots along the procession route will be in high demand – particularly as the royals will be taking a shorter journey than in 1953.
Outside Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace as well as along The Mall, the Horse Guards Parade and Parliament Square are all prime spots, with royal fans advised to pitch up early for the best chance at getting a good view.
There will be an accessible viewing space along the north side of The Mall and at all screen sites in London.
The closest tube stations are Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Charing Cross and St James’s Park, but street and station closures could impact travel.
Will there be a flypast?
More than 60 aircraft are expected to soar over London – but bad weather may mean it won’t go ahead.
If it does go ahead, you can expect to see it over Buckingham Palace at 2.30pm.
If you’re not planning on being in the capital for the coronation, there are still places you can catch the display.
Here’s everything you need to know about where to see the flypast – if it happens.
And the balcony moment?
Well, the mystery remains over which members of the Royal Family will appear on the balcony.
The King and Queen would usually be expected on the famous balustrade, accompanied by other family members, to end the day.
Speculation has been rife as to why the Palace has not yet announced who will be up there.
Some claim it could be a ploy to eschew newspaper headlines indicating Prince Harry has been “banned” from the balcony.
While an official announcement has not been made, it has been confirmed that neither Prince Harry nor Prince Andrew will have any formal role in the ceremony in the Abbey, which can only offer a significant hint.
But royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Sky News that there is often “no rush” for the palace to make such announcements, and believes they still will.
“Announcements are fed to keep a sense of drama… and it succeeds.
“This is a solemn day but also theatre; 200 countries are represented, and the world will be tuning in.”
You can read more about that here.
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How to watch all the coronation events on TV
In a milestone for TV broadcasting, Sky customers can watch the King and Queen crowned in the clarity of Ultra HD, for free on Sky News channel 501 and on Sky Showcase channel 106 (7am-3pm).
The Ultra HD broadcast will be available to those watching on Sky Glass or Sky Q via the red button. Non-Sky customers can watch UHD coverage on the Sky News YouTube channel with a compatible TV.
Coverage will also be available to watch for free on Freeview channel 233, Virgin channel 603, BT channel 313, Saorview channel 23.
Ad breaks will be removed between 9am-3pm on Sky News to ensure uninterrupted coverage of the main event on 6 May.
You can also watch multiple live streams on the Sky News website, app and on our YouTube channel.
Joanna Lumley will join Sky News presenters for coverage.
The Absolutely Fabulous actress, who provided commentary for Sky News for the Queen’s Jubilee last year, will attend the service at Westminster Abbey in May as a guest of Charles and Camilla.
Dame Joanna, 76, will then be joining the broadcaster’s coronation line-up, which includes royal events commentator Alastair Bruce and presenters Kay Burley and Anna Botting.
Every aspect of the big day will be televised, from royal fans gathering in the streets to the ceremony and processions.
Where can I watch it on a big screen?
The government has provided funding for big screens at more than 60 locations across the UK.
Parks, town squares and libraries will all be transformed into coronation viewing venues.
You can find every big screen showing the coronation in this list.
When is the bank holiday?
The Monday after the coronation – 8 May 2023 – will be a bank holiday for all of the UK.
The day has been set aside for volunteering and is being billed as “The Big Help Out”, with people encouraged to pitch in with projects in their local communities.
Will the pubs be open later?
Pubs will be allowed to stay open until 1am for the weekend.
People will be able to enjoy an “extra pint or two” between Friday 5 May and Sunday 7 May, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said.
Extending closing time for two hours beyond the normal 11pm was backed by 77% of the public who took part in a month-long consultation.
Who will be at the coronation – and will Harry and Meghan be there?
Prince Harry has confirmed he will be at the coronation, while Meghan will stay in California with their children.
Westminster Abbey’s 2,200 seats will be filled with members of the Royal Family, the prime minister, representatives from the Houses of Parliament, heads of state, other royals from around the world and people with links to the royal couple or the charities they support.
Ant and Dec, Lionel Richie, Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones, Vogue’s UK editor Edward Enninful and the magician Dynamo are among the famous faces who will be at Westminster Abbey.
They are on the guest list because of their connection with the Prince’s Trust.
More than 850 community and charity representatives have been invited, including the “boy in the tent”, who raised more than £750,000 for North Devon Hospice by camping in his garden for three years.
Invitees received an invitation that was handwritten by calligraphers from London Scribes Calligraphers, using traditional italic dip pens and bespoke mixed inks.
Veterans and NHS workers will be front row in 3,800 seats in a specially built grandstand in front of Buckingham Palace.
Will Queen Camilla’s ex-husband be there?
Yes. Andrew Parker Bowles will be there to watch the crowning of the new King and Queen.
He was also present at their wedding in 2005.
Andrew and Camilla’s children, Tom and Laura, are also expected to be there, and so are their grandchildren.
Where is the ceremony and who’s leading it?
Like every coronation in the last 900 years, the ceremony for the King will take place at Westminster Abbey, where the Queen’s funeral was held in September and where the Prince and Princess of Wales married in 2011.
The service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, a position currently held by Justin Welby. The Archbishop of Canterbury has presided over almost every coronation since the Norman Conquest in 1066.
The Earl Marshal – the Duke of Norfolk – is in overall charge of the coronation.
He is Oxford-educated father-of-five Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 67, and was responsible for organising Elizabeth II’s funeral, as well as the Accession and State Openings of Parliament.
He was banned from driving for six months in September for using his mobile phone behind the wheel despite claiming he needed his licence to arrange the upcoming coronation.
To follow along with the hymns and prayers, you can find the order of service here.
Why will Camilla also be crowned?
According to the Royal Family’s website: “A Queen Consort is crowned with the King, in a similar, but simpler ceremony.”
The last Queen Consort to be crowned was the Queen Mother alongside King George VI in 1937.
Find out more about why Camilla will also be crowned here.
What happens during a coronation?
There are six basic phases to the coronation: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture (which includes the crowning), the enthronement and the homage.
During the ceremony, the King will swear to uphold the law and the Church of England, be anointed with holy oil, receive the Royal Orb and sceptres and be crowned with the solid gold St Edward’s Crown. Read more about the crowning ceremony here.
Buckingham Palace has announced the dukes, bishops, peers and retired generals who are set to take on ceremonial duties during the coronation.
More than 50 people, including representatives from orders of chivalry, the military and wider public life, have been chosen to take part in the historic event, and were selected because of their “significant service”, the Palace said.
Among them are TV presenter Floella Benjamin, former MI5 chief Baroness Elizabeth Manningham-Buller and Lincolnshire farmer Francis Dymoke.
Mr Dymoke, as he is the owner of the Scrivelsby country estate, will be the King’s champion and carry the Royal Standard.
The order of procession into Westminster Abbey has also been revealed, with faith leaders and representatives going first followed by governors-general, prime ministers and flag bearers from each of the 15 realms where the King is head of state.
Ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty, the UK’s flag bearer will be Cadet Warrant Officer Elliott Tyson-Lee.
The King and Queen Consort’s procession will follow, led by the Marquess of Anglesey, the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Caledon and the Earl of Dundee, who will carry the Standards of the Quarterings of the Royal Arms and the Standard of the Principality of Wales.
What else will happen over the coronation weekend?
Sunday 7 May
- Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle
- Lighting up the Nation – locations across the UK will be lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations.
- Coronation Big Lunches – people will be invited to get together with their neighbourhood or community for a shared lunch, cup of tea or street party.
Monday 8 May
- The Big Help Out – will encourage people to try volunteering in their local area.
Tell me more about the concert
The coronation concert will see music stars descend on Windsor Castle, with Take That, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie on the line-up.
It will also feature “the coronation choir”, a diverse group of community choirs and amateur singers from across the UK, including refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs.
The audience will be made up of 10,000 people drawn from a ticket ballot, along with volunteers from charities affiliated to the King and Queen.
More information about the concert here.
How can I host a coronation street party?
There’s no better excuse to close off the street and string out the bunting than a major royal celebration, and the coronation is no exception.
If they’re small and just for residents, street parties don’t need a licence.
Coronation celebrations can be found and added to the official interactive map.
How will it be different to the Queen’s coronation in 1953?
While the 1953 coronation was three hours long and had 8,000 guests in attendance, the ceremony for the King is expected to be shorter and smaller in scope.
The Queen’s coronation was the first to be televised and was credited with bringing TV into the mainstream.
More than 20 million people watched the service on television, many crowded around neighbours’ screens, outnumbering the radio audience for the first time.