The Meaning Behind King Charles III's Coronation Outfit

The Meaning Behind King Charles III's Coronation Outfit

It's no surprise that King Charles III kept sustainability in mind when choosing what to wear on the day of his coronation. Considering the monarch's lifelong passion for protecting the environment, it's natural that he would choose to make some eco-friendly sartorial choices.

Eco-friendly or not, the king's coronation day look was far from plain.

Upon arrival and departure, Charles wore two different grand robes, per royal tradition. Then, during the ceremony, Charles reused golden vestments which have been worn for nearly every coronation since 1821, including the Colobium Sindonis, the Supertunica, the Imperial Mantle, the Coronation Sword Belt and the Coronation Glove. Buckingham Palace notes that "it is customary for the Supertunica and the Imperial Mantle to be reused," but the reuse of the other objects were made "in the interests of sustainability and efficiency."

Ahead, we break down the different parts of the king's coronation look.

the coronation of king charles iii and queen camilla in westminster abbey photograph by richard pohle
RICHARD POHLE - Getty Images

The Robe of State

topshot britain royals coronation

This magnificent crimson velvet robe was originally worn during King George VI's 1937 coronation, and has since been conserved by the Royal School of Needlework and Ede and Ravenscroft.

The Colobium Sindonis

This piece appears as a white linen tunic with a collar fastened with a single button, fashioned after a priest's alb. This particular piece of clothing has a sentimental meaning to Charles, as it was previously worn by his grandfather, George VI, during his 1937 coronation.

The Supertunica

coronation vestments unveiled by buckingham palace
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This sleeved gold coat was originally made in 1911 for George Vi's coronation. George VI and Queen Elizabeth II subsequently wore it at their own crowning ceremonies.

Though it is a relatively modern piece compared to other coronation regalia, it is designed in the same style as coats from medieval coronations, which is in turn influenced by priestly and religious vestments.

This Supertunica features goldwork techniques and embroidery, which was originally completed in 1911 by the Ladies Work Society.

The Imperial Mantle

london, england may 01 the coronation vestments, comprising of the imperial mantle left and the supertunica right, displayed in the throne room at buckingham palace on may 1, 2023 in london, england the vestments will be worn by king charles iii during his coronation at westminster abbey on may 6 photo by victoria jones poolgetty images

Worn over the Supertunica, the Imperial Mantle appears like a robe. It's composed of cloth of gold, gold, silver and silk thread, silk, gold bullion fringe, and a gold clasp. Additionally, symbolic shapes cover the surface of the Imperial Mantle, including roses, thistles, shamrocks, crowns, eagles, and fleurs-de-lis.

This piece was originally created for George IV's 1821 coronation. It is the oldest amongst the coronation vestments.

The Coronation Sword Belt

britain royals coronation king preparations

Also known as the Girdle, the Coronation Sword Belt wraps around the Supertunica, with the Jewelled Sword of Offering then fastened at the monarch's waist. Traditionally, this piece is made anew for each coronation, but Charles has instead chosen to reuse the same Sword Belt that his grandfather, George VI, wore during his 1937 ceremony. This one features cloth of gold, red silk, and a gold buckle and clip.

The Coronation Glove

coronation vestments unveiled by buckingham palace
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The Coronation Glove, also known as the gauntlet, is worn on the monarch's right hand to hold the Sovereign's Sceptre during the moment he is crowned. Like the Coronation Sword Belt, Charles chose to reuse the hand piece that his grandfather, George VI, wore during his own coronation in 1937, rather than have one made entirely new.

This piece is made up of white leather, and further features gilt metal thread embroidery depicting the national emblems of the Tudor Rose, thistle, shamrock, oak leaves, and acorns. On the back of the glove's hand, there is an embroidered ducal coronet in red velvet above the coat of arms of the family of the Dukes of Newcastle.

The Robe of Estate

To leave Westminster Abbey, Charles put on this purple silk velvet robe that was, again, once worn by George VI. It includes elegant gold embroidery.

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