Here’s The Full Coronation Schedule For The Ceremony On Saturday

Whether you're planning to watch the procession IRL or tune in from home, here's what you need to know

King Charles

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

King Charles III’s coronation day is finally here and everybody is trying to keep track of what's happening with the royals and when. There's a royal procession, the service in Westminster Abbey and much more besides that. So, in case you're attempting to stay ahead of the Coronation chaos and celebrations as they happen, here's everything you need to know about what's going to go down across the crowning weekend:

Why is the Coronation date controversial?

King Charles' Coronation takes place on May 6th, the same day as his grandson, Archie Mountbatten’s, birthday. Interesting timing, one might say. There is no particular royal rule that dictates a specific date of coronation, nor an exact duration between the death of one monarch and the crowning of another. So, of all the dates in May, choosing to hold the coronation on Archie’s birthday seemed peculiar.

What time will the Coronation service start?

The first guests will arrive from 9.30am, and the service will kick off at 11am at Westminster Abbey and will be followed by the King's Procession which will begin at 2pm. Once that 1.3 mile ride is completed, the family - whether or not that includes Prince Harry we don't know - will assemble on the balcony.

What time will King Charles be crowned?

The part of the ceremony where King Charles has the crown officially placed on his head is expected to take place at about midday. And the order of service inside the church currently appears to be on track for this timing.

Here is the full schedule for the Coronation

6am: The public viewing areas will be officially opened among the main procession route

7.15am: The first guest will start to arrive at Westminster Abbe for security checks.

7.30am: live coverage will start.

9.30am: VIP guests are expected to arrive, including members of the royal family, heads of state and former prime ministers?.

10.20am: The royal procession from Buckingham Palace will start, with Charles and Camilla travelling on the Diamond Jubilee coach to Westminster Abbey.

11am: The Coronation ceremony will begin

Midday: Around now is the part of the ceremony when Prince Charles is actually crowned king, just after the secret sacred anointing ceremony.

1pm The coronation will probably last around two hours and the second procession willl take place back to Buckingham palace.

1.45pm: The Royal Salute will take place.

2.15pm: Fifteen senior members of the royal family, including Prince William and Kate Middleton will take their positions on the Buckingham Palace balcony. This is when we’ll also see the flypast.

Why is the King’s coronation on Archie’s birthday?

Well, there’s been no official word on what kind of deliberations went into choosing that exact date. But, if we look over the course of history, coronation dates to tend to be held on days of special significance for the royal family. In fact, there was speculation that Charles would hold his coronation on June 2nd in order to coincide with the anniversary of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II’s, coronation date back in 1953. However, May 6th also holds special significance to the royal family.

The king's great-grandfather, George V, became king on May 6th, 1910, upon the death of King Edward VII (eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert). And in 1937, Charles's grandfather, King George VI, also held his coronation in May (albeit the 12th) in 1937, with Charles's mother, the then-Princess Elizabeth in attendance.

May 6th is not just Archie’s birthday, but also the anniversary of Charles's aunt, Princess Margaret's wedding to Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. So perhaps the date was chosen to combine many celebrations into one.

Why is Meghan not attending the coronation?

After it was announced that Prince Harry would be attending his father's coronation alone, everyone immediately started asking why Meghan won't be there.

According to royal sources, a variety of reasons can be attributed to the Duchess of Sussex's no-show including the fact that she's not keen to face her in-laws, but royal correspondent Omid Scobie has stated that staying behind with Archie for his birthday played a major role in her decision.

What date is King Charles coronation bank holiday?

They can certainly celebrate over the bank holiday instead, which isn’t actually on the same day as the coronation. May 6th is a Saturday this year, while the bank holiday in celebration of coronation weekend falls on the 8th of May.

Why is the bank holiday date different to the coronation date?

It’s become tradition for the British government to announce a bank holiday the first Monday after a royal coronation, in order to ensure the public, get the chance to truly celebrate the occasion. In 1957 for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, the coronation took place on June 2nd while the bank holiday was June 3rd.

That means this year, we get a grand total of three bank holidays in May – win, win!

Why is there so long of a gap between the Queen dying and the coronation?

Now, there was confusion as to why the coronation date was set so far in advance after the Queen died in September last year. However, it’s tradition for coronation dates to be set several months after a monarch dies, in order to allow appropriate time for mourning. Considering the crowning of a new monarch is meant to be a celebratory occasion, it would be considered too crass to hold a coronation weekend within mere weeks.

There’s no set duration to wait between a monarch dying and a coronation though, Queen Elizabeth for example chose to hold off on her coronation for 16 months after her father, George V died. His death was much more unexpected however, with the Queen just 25 years old when she began serving as head of state for the British royal family.

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