As we all get prepped for King Charles III's big coronation day, there are a tonne of royal traditions to try and get our heads around – including The King's Procession (and The Coronation Procession that follows after).
Yep, the 1.4 mile journey that King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, will make from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey (and back) was hardly going to be them just grabbing an Uber, was it? But what is The King's Procession? What route will Their Majesties be taking? And who will be accompanying them on the journey?
We've done the research so you don't have to...
What is The King's Procession?
King Charles III's big coronation day will kick off bright and early on the 6 May 2023, seeing The King and Queen Consort depart from Buckingham Palace, along with The Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry (think: red-jacketed soldiers on horseback), at 10:20am.
Together, the group (collectively referred to as The King's Procession), will make the 1.4 mile journey from the Palace to Westminster Abbey, where 2,000 guests will be waiting patiently to see Charles and Camilla be crowned and anointed with special oil.
The King and Queen Consort will make the trip in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was made especially to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne back in 2012, and which is to be pulled by six Windsor Grey horses. According to the Palace, "The coach has only ever conveyed the Sovereign, occasionally accompanied by the consort or a visiting Head of State."
What is The King's Procession route?
As per information shared by the Royal Family directly, Charles and Camilla will be exiting Buckingham Palace via the Centre Gate, around 10:20am, before proceeding down The Mall, passing through Admiralty Arch and south of King Charles I Island, down Whitehall and along Parliament Street.
In total, The King's Procession will travel for around 30 minutes. Following Parliament Street, the group will pass the east and south sides of Parliament Square, heading on to Broad Sanctuary, and are set to arrive at the Sanctuary of Westminster Abbey at 10:53am – allowing them around seven minutes to enter the Abbey ahead of the Coronation Service.
Compared to the route taken by Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation day, King Charles' is significantly reduced: on her way out to the Abbey, the Queen journeyed a similar 1.5 miles, however on her return, she made a 5-mile trip instead, so that more of the gathered crowds might have a chance of catching a glimpse of their new monarch. Queen Elizabeth II's return journey following her coronation took a whole two hours to complete.
What is The Coronation Procession?
Sounding very similar to The King's Procession, The Coronation Procession sees the newly anointed monarch and his wife make their way back to Buckingham Palace, via the same route (albeit in reverse). However, on the way back to the Palace, the King and Queen Consort will be joined by other members of the Royal Family, members of the Armed Forces from around the Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, along with all Services of the Armed Forces from the UK. The Sovereign's Bodyguard and Royal Watermen will also be in attendance.
Another change for The Coronation Procession is that the Diamond Jubilee State Coach will be swapped out for the Gold State Coach, last seen in public for Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022. The Palace advises that the coach will be drawn by eight Windsor Greys and will move at a glacial, walking pace due to the sheer weight of the vehicle.
After arriving back at Buckingham Palace, Their Majesties will be given a Royal Salute from the servicemen and women who are on parade, followed by three cheers. Next, the royal couple du jour, along with some key family members, will make their way up the famous Buckingham Palace balcony to greet crowds below and watch the flypast (scheduled for 2:15pm).
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