Preparations for the coronation of King Charles III is in full swing, with people across the country planning street parties, bank holiday shenanigans and opting to volunteer with charities to mark the historic event. The last coronation took place 70 years ago on 2 June, 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II, so there’s definitely excitement in the air, especially for those who have never lived to witness one before.
But, of course, we’re not alone in preparing for the long weekend to come, as the Royal Family are also in full-on organisational mode. With Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, set to be officially crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 May (which FYI is less than 50 days away), the rest of the family are gearing up for their special jobs too – both in the ceremony and as part of the procession afterwards.
Although nothing has been confirmed by the Palace yet, with previous roles and royal traditions in mind, here’s what we can (likely) expect to see from each family member…
Alongside her husband, King Charles, Camilla will also be crowned during the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. She will receive Queen Mary’s Crown, after Buckingham Palace confirmed that the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond will not feature at the Coronation. Instead, the Queen Consort will wear the crown of Queen Mary. It’s the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used during the ceremony of a Queen Consort instead of a new one being made.
Camilla’s five grandchildren
With Camilla having such a prominent role, royal traditions have been changed to accommodate the couple’s special moment – and a role that is typically performed by duchesses, will now be carried out by Camilla’s five grandchildren during the Westminster Abbey service. All five children will hold the canopy over the Queen Consort as she is anointed with holy oil – possibly one of the most sacred roles of the entire ceremony. Her son Tom Parker Bowles has two children Lola, 15, and Freddy, 13, and her daughter Laura Lopes has Eliza, 15, and twins Louis and Gus, 13.
This break in tradition is really exciting to see from the couple – not only does it make sense (why wouldn’t they want Camilla’s grandchildren involved?) but it highlights their blended family, something relatable for many others across the UK. Both the King and Queen Consort are divorced, with step-children and step-grandchildren in the mix, and choosing to involve loved ones who aren’t official royals sends a strong message of inclusion.
Prince William is heir to the throne, so it’s no surprise that he is expected to play a major role (or a few!) across the big weekend. According to the Sunday Times, William will kneel and pledge allegiance to Charles, along with touching the St Edward’s Crown and kissing his father’s right cheek.
After the ceremony, William will then take part in the ‘The Coronation Procession’ back to Buckingham Palace before making an appearance on the balcony.
It seems the Princess of Wales is working on securing her eldest son’s role before her own, as recent reports show Kate is happy for Prince George to take part in the coronation, but on one condition: that he is not subjected to “overwhelming scrutiny”.
However, The Times has revealed that Kate will be among the working royals taking part in the carriage procession and balcony appearance with her husband, who is next in line to the throne.
Dr Tessa Dunlop, historian and presenter, previously told The Mirror: “History suggests working royals will stand out. In 1953 the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret had her own coronation gown designed by Norman Hartnell, embroidered with roses and daisies and offset with a stunning Cartier tiara.
“She travelled to the Abbey with the Queen Mother and they sat in a box overlooking proceedings with a four-year-old Prince Charles squashed between them. A similar scenario for the Princess of Wales and her three children is likely.”
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
All three of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ children will take part in the King’s coronation procession at Westminster Abbey, according to The Times. The little trio will be the youngest to take part in the coronation plans, as George, and potentially Charlotte and Louis are all set to join their grandfather and step-grandmother as they leave Westminster Abbey at the end of the ceremony.
It is believed that George (who is second in line to the throne) will join his parents in the procession from the Abbey in a carriage behind the King and Queen, who will be in the gold state coach. It has also been reported that he might receive a low-key role during the ceremony itself too. Kate and William are planning to meet with King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla to discuss the role that George could play on the big day.
Despite their age, George and Charlotte are no strangers to taking part in processions as the siblings took part in one after Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last year. At the time, Louis was considered too young to join his siblings.
Along with their older brother George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are expected to be there, either as spectators or taking part in the procession as the royals leave the Abbey and head back to Buckingham Palace. They are also expected to make an appearance on the balcony.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
It is still unconfirmed whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend the coronation. However, earlier this month the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed they received a ‘save the date’ email about the coronation, but the pair are yet to publicly share their response.
As for the couple’s children – Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet – it’s unknown as to whether or not they will have a role in the ceremony. They are Charles’ youngest grandchildren, with Archie turning four on the coronation day itself, and Lilibet being almost two. If you didn’t already know, Archie and Lilibet have technically held a prince and princess title since the King acceded to the throne, but Harry and Meghan have only recently started using these, which has been updated on the royal family’s website
Plans for Andrew are still up in the air after he was forced to step back from royal duties in May 2020. But because of this, reports have said he will not play a role at the ceremony, nor will he wear ceremonial robes. He is essentially still a Knight of the Garter, and traditionally, Garter Knights have performed significant roles during Coronation ceremonies. We’ll be watching this space for updates.