Heads of state and royal admirers are both traveling to London for the first coronation of a British monarch in 70 years.
King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort, are anticipated to be crowned in Westminster Abbey on Saturday, carrying on a more than a thousand-year-old tradition.
Since he ascended to the throne directly upon the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September, King Charles is technically already the head of state of the United Kingdom.
But the coronation of the new monarch is only one aspect of the ceremony. The festival, which runs through Monday, will feature royal traditions that haven’t been practiced publicly since Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.
The weekend’s activities, which are projected to cost British taxpayers more than $125 million, are listed here, along with information on how to watch them live.
A three-day celebration
As part of the King’s Procession on Saturday morning, King Charles and Camilla will ride a horse-drawn coach from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey along the long, tree-lined Mall.
The majority of the coronation celebration is a religious service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It has never been televised to do the anointing, which entails applying consecrated oil to the monarch’s hands, breast, and head, but there have been rumours that it might be this time.
King Charles and Camilla will return to Buckingham Palace in a grander ceremonial procession following the service. When the public festivities for the day come to a conclusion, they will join the royal family on the palace balcony for a military flyover and royal wave.
On Sunday at 8 p.m. local time or 3 p.m. Eastern Time, the BBC will host a special coronation concert that will be televised live. Musical legends from all over the world, including American pop singers Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, and Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, are anticipated to perform at the event, which will take place at Windsor Castle.
How to watch the live coronation?
On Saturday, the coronation service will start at 6 a.m. ET, or 11 a.m. local time. About three hours will pass during the event.
At one in the morning ET, NPR.org will begin to webcast exclusive coverage of the occasion.
A livestream of the ceremony is also being prepared for the royal family’s YouTube page. Starting at 7:30 a.m. local time, or 2:30 a.m. ET, BBC will start airing live coverage of the coronation on the BBC News channel or on BBC iPlayer, its video-on-demand platform.
Live streaming and broadcasting will also be done by other networks.
The event will serve as a test for the contemporary monarchy
Worldwide interest was generated by Elizabeth’s final British coronation. It’s uncertain whether King Charles and his wife’s ordination will inspire the same joy.
The treatment of Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, who will not be attending the service, as well as recent attention to British colonialism, have all drawn harsh criticism of the royal family over the years. This may be why the family decided not to display the contentious Kohinoor diamond at the coronation.
The event is in some ways a test of the monarch’s ability to adapt to modern society and interact with a younger, more diverse United Kingdom.