It will be a Bank Holiday weekend like no other, with an opportunity for communities across the nation to come together to celebrate
It will be a Bank Holiday weekend like no other.
The public will experience the full pomp and ceremony of King Charles's Coronation, after the monarch rejected the idea of a cut-price investiture.
The public will also be invited to take part in a string of community celebrations across the country ranging from street parties to volunteering, in three days designed to reflect both the monarch’s role today and look towards the future.
The weekend will open with its most important and solemn centrepiece, the Coronation of King Charles and the Queen Consort inside Westminster Abbey.
In a ceremony blending centuries of royal tradition with what Buckingham Palace says will be the “spirit of our times”, the King will be anointed with consecrated oil.
The anointing will not be shown on television and will instead be hidden from the public, as it was for the late Queen’s coronation in 1953, The Telegraph understands.
The King will be asked if he will govern the United Kingdom and other nations of the Commonwealth with law and justice and if he will maintain Christianity in the nation.
Sources have indicated the ceremony will be representative of different faiths and community groups, in line with the King's wish to reflect the ethnic diversity of modern Britain.
The Coronation oath, in which he will pledge to be “Defender of the Faith”, will not change.
But palace aides and church officials are planning to add a form of words that will allow the King to recognise his commitment to the multiple faiths of a diverse Britain.
The King will be seated in the Coronation Chair, known as Edward's Chair, holding the sovereign's sceptre and rod, to represent his control of the nation, and the sovereign's orb, to represent the Christian world.
After being anointed, blessed and consecrated by the Archbishop, Charles will have the crown of St Edward placed on his head, officially crowning him as King Charles III.
He will also wear the Imperial State Crown after the investiture to leave the Abbey.
The Queen Consort will be crowned alongside her husband.
It has also been revealed that the King's Coronation procession after the ceremony will be a fraction of the length of his late mother's, raising fears that many royal well-wishers may miss out on the chance to see the new monarch.
The 1.3-mile route will take the King and Queen from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, but avoid large sections of the capital that were taken in during Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 five-mile Coronation procession.
In a further break from tradition, the King and Queen Consort will travel to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, the most recent addition to the Royal Mews.
They will only travel in the 1762 Gold State Coach during the grand procession back to Buckingham Palace following the ceremony.
In the largest military ceremonial operation for 70 years sailors, soldiers and aviators from across the UK and the breadth of the Commonwealth will take part in two magnificent processions accompanying Their Majesties to and from Westminster Abbey, where the Coronation Service takes place.
Later in the day, military personnel will conduct a breath-taking Coronation flypast of more than 60 aircraft from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force flying over The Mall in Central London.
In all corners of the Union, including at firing stations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, gun salutes will sound at the moment of The King’s Coronation to celebrate the historic moment.
The title Queen Camilla has been used for the first time by Buckingham Palace on the Coronation invitation, as it emerged that “Consort” will be officially dropped after next month’s ceremony.
Camilla has been referred to as Queen Consort by the Palace since the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September.
However, royal aides revealed that Queen Camilla was now considered an “appropriate title” to set against King Charles.
Meanwhile, Camilla has opted against being crowned using the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, set in the platinum and diamond crown made for the Queen Mother’s coronation in 1937.
She is to become the first consort since the 18th century to reuse a crown when she wears Queen Mary’s Crown.
The decision comes after India’s ruling party last year warned the use of the Koh-i-Noor diamond would bring back “painful memories” of the colonial past.
Separately, the Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation, but Meghan has opted to remain in California with the couple's children, Buckingham Palace announced.
Prince Harry, 38, had spent several weeks agonising over whether to travel to London for the historic ceremony because of the deep rift that has divided his family. It is not expected that he will play any official role in the ceremony.
Many factors influenced the Duchess’s decision not to attend the Coronation, but chief among them was the desire to celebrate Archie’s fourth birthday, which falls on the same day – May 6 – The Telegraph understands.
In a statement, the Palace said: “Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on May 6. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
Meanwhile, Prince George is set to become the youngest future king to play an official role at a coronation, having been named one of his grandfather’s four Pages of Honour.
The nine-year-old will be tasked with carrying the King’s robes alongside three other Pages of Honour – schoolboys Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, Nicholas Barclay, 13, and Ralph Tollemache, 12. All three are the sons of His Majesty’s friends.
The Queen has also chosen to include as her own Pages of Honour her three grandsons, twins Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Freddy Parker Bowles, 13, as well as her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, 10.
Music commissioned for the ceremony includes a piece by Professor Paul Mealor, from the University of Aberdeen, an anthem written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a Coronation march created by Patrick Doyle.
Prof Mealor admitted it is “rather daunting” to be one of 12 people selected to create new pieces of music for the ceremony.
The Ascension Choir, a group of eight “hand-picked” singers from the choir that performed at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, have also been chosen for the King’s ceremony on May 6.
Led by Abimbola Amoako-Gyampah, the Ascension Choir will sing ‘Alleluia (O Sing Praises)’ at the ceremony on May 6, becoming the first gospel group to perform in Westminster Abbey for a Coronation.
The group will sing during the main service as part of a two-part composition that was commissioned from award-winning TV and film composer Debbie Wiseman.
Another first at the King’s Coronation ceremony will be the Welsh language performance in Paul Mealor’s ‘Coronation Kyrie’.
The song will be sung by bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and the Choir of Westminster Abbey in the main part of the service.
The Palace said that six of the new songs have been composed for orchestra and will be performed before the service begins, prior to the King and Queen Consort’s arrival at the Abbey.
Following the service, the King and Queen Consort, accompanied by senior members of the Royal family, will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events.
It has already been indicated that during King Charles's reign there is likely to be less of a focus on the extended Royal family, with only the King's sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren taking up public roles.
In keeping with King Charles’s concern for strengthening local communities, hundreds of events will be held across the country as part of the Coronation Big Lunch.
Community groups, neighbours and residents are being invited to share food and fun together in a nationwide act of celebration and friendship.
The event will be led by the Eden Project, whose Big Lunch every year brings millions of people together to boost community spirit, reduce loneliness and support charities and good causes.
Her Majesty The Queen Consort has been Patron of the Big Lunch since 2013.
The palace predicts that thousands of events will take place in every corner of the United Kingdom as people take to their streets, gardens, parks and community spaces to join the coronation celebrations.
Peter Stewart LVO, chief purpose officer at the Eden Project, said: “Sharing friendship, food and fun together gives people more than just a good time – people feel less lonely, make friends and go on to get more involved with their community, all as a result of sharing a sarnie and a chat in their neighbourhood.”
Last year's Big Jubilee Lunch event saw 17 million people take part. More than £22 million was raised for good causes with 75 per cent of the money staying local.
A survey found that 11.7 million people reported they had made new friends at the event and reported feeling less lonely after attending.
After the pageantry of the Coronation ceremony, a special concert will take place in celebration of the new reign.
Held in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the event's musicians will perform in front of a crowd of 20,000 people as well as invited guests.
The show will be broadcast across BBC television and radio stations, with millions of people expected to tune in.
Take That and Lionel Richie are among the stars who will perform on the East Lawn.
The line-up will also include American pop star Katy Perry, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, singer-songwriter Freya Ridings and classical-soul composer Alexis Ffrench, the BBC announced.
Take That’s performance will feature three of the band’s original members, the BBC said: Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen.
The trio said they “can’t wait” for their first live show since the Odyssey Tour in 2019.
“What a stage to come back on!” Barlow, Donald and Owen said, adding: “A huge live band and orchestra, a choir, military drummers, the backdrop of Windsor Castle and the celebration of a new King. We can’t wait.”
The British group have performed at many Royal Variety Performances over the years, with Barlow also curating the concert outside Buckingham Palace for the late Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
The BBC said that the concert would herald a new chapter in the nation’s history through themes of love, respect and optimism.
They added that the event will celebrate the four nations, their communities and the Commonwealth.
The show will also include an exclusive performance by the Coronation Choir. This will be comprised of the nation's “keenest” community choirs and amateur singers, including refugees, NHS workers, members of the LGBTQ+ community. Deaf signing choirs will also feature.
A documentary exploring the formation of the Coronation Choir will tell the stories of the people representing the many faces and voices of the country.
The Coronation Choir will appear alongside The Virtual Choir, made up of singers from across the Commonwealth, for a special performance.
It comes after a difficult period for the ties between the Royal family and the Commonwealth, with Jamaica, Barbados and a number of other Caribbean countries planning to remove the monarch as head of state.
The centrepiece of the Coronation Concert, ‘Lighting up the Nation’, will see locations across the UK lit up with light and sound effects.
Screens in St James’s Park will also show the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday 7 May.
As the nation wakes up to an extra Bank Holiday, they will be encouraged to spend time volunteering and joining projects in their area as part of the Big Help Out.
Bringing another of King Charles’s concerns to the fore, the day is designed to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities across the nation.
Buckingham Palace said: “The aim of The Big Help Out is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the coronation weekend.”
The Big Help Out will be organised by The Together Coalition along with The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and faith groups from across the United Kingdom.
Jon Knight, chief executive of the Together Coalition, said: “The Big Help Out is going to be a day when people up and down the country will roll up their sleeves and do their bit.”
As part of the celebrations, the Queen Consort will also honour the “herculean efforts” of 500 volunteers by naming them Coronation Champions.
More than six million people are expected to take part in the volunteering scheme, it has been revealed.
A new survey of more than 2,000 adults across the country, between April 7 and 11, also showed that younger respondents were more likely to plan to participate in The Big Help Out.
On average, 24 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds and 19 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds plan to get involved.
Brendan Cox, co-founder of the Together Coalition, which is organising The Big Help Out, told The Telegraph: “It shows the level of enthusiasm for people rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty as part of the Coronation.
“People are obviously looking forward to the service itself and the celebration around it … but it also shows a real appetite to make the Coronation something that has a longer term legacy in communities up and down the country.”
It will be a Bank Holiday weekend like no other, with an opportunity for communities across the nation to come together to celebrate