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Coronations of Charles III and Elizabeth II: the 7 differences game

King Charles III, here in Westminster in May 2022, is crowned 70 years after his mother Elizabeth II.
AFP King Charles III, here in Westminster in May 2022, is crowned 70 years after his mother Elizabeth II.

AFP

King Charles III, here in Westminster in May 2022, is crowned 70 years after his mother Elizabeth II.

CROWN – A priori, just follow the instructions. Oath, anointing, presentation to the people… All the instructions for organizing a coronation were recorded, in 1382, in the Liber RegalisOr royal bookan illustrated relic kept at Westminster Abbey in London.

This is where the coronation ceremonies of British monarchs are held, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the course of which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. But King Charles III could not ignore that 70 years separate his coronation, this Saturday, May 6, from that of his mother, June 2, 1953.

While Elizabeth II had largely relied on the coronation of her father King George VI in 1937, himself faithful to that of her own father George V in 1911, the new monarch has made it known that he wants a ceremony more modern and sober. With the aim of not appearing disconnected from the British, who are undergoing a severe crisis in the cost of living and who are wondering, for some of them, about the future of the monarchy since the death of the queen in September .

What will remain of the coronation of Elizabeth II for that of Charles III? The HuffPost play the game of 7 differences.

1- One guest list longer than the other

If Elizabeth II became queen in front of more than 8,000 guests, only 2,300 people (royal family, political leaders, crowned heads and members of civil society) were invited to the religious ceremony of Charles III. This choice has also created a stir in London, says the DailyMail : not all members of Parliament are on the list, and the husbands and wives of members of the government have not been invited – they and they had not already been to the funeral of Elizabeth II. Only Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his predecessors at 10 Downing Street will have the right to bring their +1.

King Charles III wished to make this event the reflection of his desire for a tightened and financially responsible monarchy. He also knows that the cost of the “Golden Orb” operation (“Golden Orb”, the code name given to the coronation), which falls to the British government and therefore to the taxpayer, will be particularly scrutinized in the midst of a social crisis. No official information has yet been released on this subject, but the coronation of his mother had cost the equivalent of more than 22 million euros.

2- A ceremony shorter than the other

In 1953, the ceremony for Elizabeth II lasted more than three hours. That of Charles III, it should last two hours. According to the Times, Buckingham notably decided to dispense with a tradition, that of giving the king gold bars before placing them on the altar. This choice should also avoid an awkward image in view of the crisis that is shaking the British.

The route of the procession that the King and Queen will take after the ceremony, between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, has also been shortened, as summarized in images the tweet below. It will be identical to the outward journey and will cover only 2 kilometers, which they will travel accompanied by nearly 4,000 soldiers. This should take about thirty minutes.

Elizabeth II, she had traveled nearly 8 kilometers (her procession itself was spread over three kilometers) after her coronation to be seen by as many people as possible. The procession, attended by 29,000 soldiers, lasted two hours.

3- The dress code is not the same

No extravagance, even in outfits: before May 6, members of the House of Lords were instructed to dress in a simpler way than in 1953, indicates the Telegram. They who normally wear a special ceremonial robe for coronations (in velvet and fur), as well as a crown which determines their rank in the peerage system, will have to be content with their traditional red robe with an ermine collar, worn for the sovereign’s speech in Parliament… an outfit that already has nothing “casual” for the average Brit. They can also come in classic costume.

The coronation of Elizabeth II, June 2, 1953.
Universal History Archive / Universal History Archive/Universe The coronation of Elizabeth II, June 2, 1953.

Universal History Archive / Universal History Archive/Universe

The coronation of Elizabeth II, June 2, 1953.

For his part, the king must wear the various ornaments provided for all coronations (and listed in the Liber Regalis). But his military uniform – he served in the Navy and Air Force – should be his primary attire, according to the Sunwhich will necessarily contrast with the silk panties and socks worn by its male predecessors.

4- This carriage doesn’t have the same place (and that’s good for Charles)

It will only be released at the last moment. The traditional “Gold State Coach”, the 260-year-old golden carriage that transports British sovereigns during major events will not be used by the royal couple until they return to Buckingham after the ceremony. For the outward journey, they preferred to opt for the “Diamond Jubilee State Coach”built in 2012, the most modern of the crown with air conditioning, electric windows and shock absorbers.

In 1953, Elizabeth II had made the round trip in the ” Gold State Coach »an experience she described as” horrible “ during an interview in 2018, due to the lack of comfort in the old carriage. And it turns out that Charles and Camilla both suffer from back problems, the British press recalls, even if Buckingham only indicates that it is a “personal choice”.

DOMINIC LIPINSKY / AFP The “Gold State Coach”, pictured here in May 2022 at Buckingham Palace in London.

DOMINIC LIPINSKY / AFP

The “Gold State Coach”, pictured here in May 2022 at Buckingham Palace in London.

“When you’re behind, you hear it creak, it’s like an old galleon moving forward”describes Martin Oates, restorer of royal carriages, interviewed by the Guardian. This May 6, he will therefore be responsible for walking behind the coach, a T-bar in hand, to ensure that the racing car is properly immobilized during stops. A modern coronation, you say?

5- The heir to the crown does not have the same role

When she is crowned, Elizabeth II is 27 years old. Her first child Charles, the heir to the throne, was only 4 years old and only attended part of the ceremony. Her little sister Anne, who is not yet 3 years old, does not even take part.

The young Prince Charles surrounded by the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at the coronation of Elizabeth II in Westminster, June 2, 1953.
– /AFP The young Prince Charles surrounded by the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at the coronation of Elizabeth II in Westminster, June 2, 1953.

– /AFP

The young Prince Charles surrounded by the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at the coronation of Elizabeth II in Westminster, June 2, 1953.

A major difference with the coronation of Charles III, who is to celebrate his 75th birthday at the end of the year. His eldest Prince William, 40, will necessarily be at the center of attention for this event even if, as noted by a specialist interviewed by the Daily Expressthere is no rule on the role that the heir must play during a coronation – some sovereigns did not even have children at the time of their coronation.

This time, the traditional “homage of peers”, during which a long list of representatives of the nobility kneel before the king and swear allegiance to him, is removed. According to Times, only William will make this oath in front of his father. Then, the whole population will be encouraged to swear allegiance to the sovereign, “by heart and voice”in a “People’s Tribute”. Prince Harry, who belatedly confirmed his presence (without Meghan Markle or their children), should not have any particular role, since he has withdrawn from his royal obligations.

Prince George, 9, 2nd in the line of succession to the throne, will become the youngest future king to have an official role in a coronation: he will be one of the four pages of honor of Charles III, notably in charge of supporting his grandfather’s train.

6- A ceremony that hides two coronations

This May 6 also marks the coronation of Queen Consort Camilla, who will wear the crown of Queen Mary, the grandmother of Elizabeth II. This was not the case of prince Philip, husband of the late queen, who had not been crowned in 1953.

The rules are simply different if the sovereign is a man or a woman, because it is considered that a consort could threaten the authority of a queen if he took the title of king: “Unless otherwise decided, a queen consort is crowned with the king, with a similar but simpler ceremonial. If the new sovereign is a queen, her consort is neither crowned nor anointed at the coronation”, says Buckingham on its website. This is why Philip was never “king consort”.

7- One of these coronations is spread over 3 days

Three days of celebration are planned from May 6th. Beyond the ceremony on Saturday, the British are invited to share a quiche with spinach and beans on Sunday for picnics between neighbors. The royal family also called for taking advantage of Monday, May 8, a public holiday, to do volunteer work.

On Saturday evening, a concert will take place at Windsor Castle, west London, a first. 20,000 people, including 10,000 randomly selected Britons, will be able to attend. Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Andrea Bocelli will be the headliners… but no megastars made in England. According to the press, several British celebrities like Elton John, Adele, Ed Sheeran, or Harry Styles refused the invitation, officially because of already overloaded schedules.

According to a YouGov poll in mid-April, 64% of Britons and 75% of young people are not interested in the coronation, but 46% still think they will watch the event – giant screens are going to be laid out a bit across the country – or will participate in certain celebrations.

In 1953, 27 million people watched the event live in the UK, and 11 million tuned in on the radio. At the request of the Queen herself, her coronation was the first to be broadcast in full and live on television.

See also on The HuffPost :

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