Coronation weekend: Your day-by-day guide to the planned celebrations

King Charles and the Queen Consort - Richard Pohle/Getty
King Charles and the Queen Consort - Richard Pohle/Getty
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It will be a Bank Holiday weekend like no other. The public will experience the full pomp and ceremony of the coronation of King Charles III after the monarch rejected the idea of a cut-price coronation.

At the same time, people will 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.

Saturday, May 6

Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey

The weekend will open with its most important and solemn centrepiece, the coronation of King Charles and Her Majesty The Queen Consort inside Westminster Abbey.

In a ceremony blending centuries of royal tradition with what Buckingham Palace say will be the “spirit of our times”, the King will be anointed with consecrated oil and enthroned as the nation looks on.

The King and Queen Consort are not expected to travel from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in the 1762 Gold State Coach, which was refurbished for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

In a break from tradition, The Telegraph revealed the couple will only use the coach on their return journey.

Over 8,000 guests from 129 nations travelled to Westminster Abbey for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, but the King's coronation will be limited to 2,000 to accommodate modern health and safety restrictions.

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.

Buckingham Palace is pleading with Westminster Abbey to secure more spaces, with a source telling The Telegraph that the King hopes to get as many people in as possible.

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.

The coronation oath, in which he will pledge to be “Defender of the Faith”, will not change.

However, 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 during the ceremony.

The Duchess of Cornwall will be crowned beside her husband, taking the title of Queen Consort, as per Her Majesty's wishes on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022.

After the coronation, Buckingham Palace is expected to move to officially describe Camilla as Queen rather than Queen Consort.

Camilla has also 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.

The jewel has been worn by consorts including Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary. It was worn most recently by the Queen Mother in 1937.

The 105.6 carat diamond is the subject of international dispute, with India, Afghanistan and Iran among the countries laying claim to it.

The Duke of Sussex's role in the coronation is in question in the wake of revelations made in his memoir, Spare.

The Telegraph revealed that the Duke is in a “predicament” over whether to attend the event, which he is aware is “pretty much the most important day” of his father’s life.

While the Duke and Duchess have received a save-the-date email from Buckingham Palace, the couple are believed to be undecided about whether to attend.

A Sussex spokesperson said: “I can confirm The Duke has recently received email correspondence from His Majesty's office regarding the coronation.

“An immediate decision on whether The Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.”

It has also been reported that the Duke will not take part in the coronation ceremony, where tradition dictates that he would kneel before the new monarch alongside William and “pay homage”, before touching the crown and kissing Charles on the right cheek.

However, 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.

Meanwhile, the Queen has chosen to include as her own Pages of Honour her three grandsons, twins Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Freddy Parker Bowles, 12, as well as her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, 11.

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.

Following the service, Their Majesties will be joined by other members of the Royal family to return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as “The Coronation Procession”.

At Buckingham Palace, The King and The 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.

Sunday, May 7

Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle

After the pageantry of the Coronation ceremony, a special concert will take place at Windsor Castle the following day in celebration of the new reign.

The show on Windsor Castle’s East Lawn will feature musical stars from around the world, who will perform “musical favourites” and a selection of spoken word sequences.

The BBC is currently contacting top musicians, stars of stage and screen, and dancers for the event, which will go on late into the night.

The format of the concert will echo the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which saw a concert staged outside Buckingham Palace, with performances by Queen, Diana Ross, Craig David and Duran Duran.

A source involved in drawing up a short list of performers said: “We are in the very early stages of planning the concert. We have begun contacting record labels. But, rather than the rock and pop show that marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last year, this will be very much more orchestra based. It is likely stars of the acting world will also give readings.”

Windsor - Steve Parsons/PA
Windsor - Steve Parsons/PA

Through a national ballot held by the BBC, several thousand members of the public will be selected to receive a pair of free tickets for the concert.

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.

Sunday, May 7

Coronation Big Lunch

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.

Monday, May 8

The Big Help Out

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.