Some more images from the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the weekend…
Coronation of King Charles III
The coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla…
LondonLife Special – (More) coronation preparations…
The Burlington Arcade rolls out the red carpet with the new King’s cipher. PICTURE: Matt Brown (licensed under CC BY 2.0)
This Week in London – It’s Coronation weekend!…
• It’s Coronation weekend in London, so first up it’s a look at the Coronation Procession. The 1.42 mile route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, which opens for viewers at 6am on Saturday, will see the procession – with King Charles III and Queen Camilla travelling in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach – leave Buckingham Palace at 10:20am. Known as The King’s Procession, the coach, which will be accompanied by The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, will travel down The Mall, through Admiralty Arch and past Trafalgar Square, before turning down Whitehall. The procession will then make its way down to the Houses of Parliament and around the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary and Westminster Abbey.
• The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11am and is expected to run for two hours. There is, of course, no access to the abbey for uninvited guests but the ceremony will be broadcast live by the BBC and big screens are being set up to watch in St James’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park as well as Holland Park, Valence Park in Dagenham and Walpole Park in Ealing.
• At 1pm, the King and Queen will return from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in The Coronation Procession. They will be riding in the 260-year-old Gold State Coach that has been used in every coronation since that of William IV and accompanied by almost 4,000 members of the armed forces in what’s been called the largest ceremonial military operation in recent decades. Representatives of Commonwealth nations and British Overseas Territories will also take part in the return procession. The route will be the reverse of the outgoing route and see the procession travel back through Parliament Square (lined with an honour guard of 100 members of the Royal British Legion) and up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, turning left to travel through Admiralty Arch and back down The Mall. Reaching Buckingham Palace, the King and Queen will receive a Royal Salute from the armed forces who have been escorting them followed by three cheers.
• The balcony appearance and flypast. The newly crowned King and Queen Consort are scheduled to appear on the famous balcony on Buckingham Palace at 2.30pm accompanied by members of the royal family. They will watch a six minute flypast of military planes, ending with a display by the Red Arrows.
• On Sunday, communities are invited to join in the Coronation Big Lunch (communities will also be holding street parties throughout the weekend). On Sunday night, the BBC will broadcast The Coronation Concert from Windsor Castle. The concert will feature the Coronation Choir as well as ‘Lighting Up The Nation’ in which locations across the UK will take part. For details on where events are being held, head to https://coronation.gov.uk/events/.
• On Monday, people are encouraged to join in The Big Help Out by volunteering time to help out in your local community. To find out where your local events are, head to https://thebighelpout.org.uk.
This Week in London – Three of London’s oldest charters on show and other coronation celebrations; Sir Christopher Wren’s life explored; and, a Pre-Raphaelite model and artist honoured…
• Three of the City of London’s oldest charters go on display at the City of London Heritage Gallery on Saturday as part of a series of events commemorating the coronation of King Charles III. On display will be the William Charter, which, drawn up in 1067 following the coronation of King William the Conqueror, was the earliest known royal document in Europe to guarantee the collective rights of all people in a town and not just a select few. Also to be seen is the Shrievalty Charter, which, issued by King John in 1199, confirms the rights of Londoners to elect their own sheriffs, and the Mayoralty Charter, which, also issued by King John – this time in 1215, confirmed that the Mayor of London could also chosen by Londoners with the proviso that they were publicly presented. Visitors can also see the beautifully illustrated Cartae Antiquae which records charters and statutes covering laws enacted from the reign of Edward III (1327 onwards) to the accession of Henry VII in 1485 and was used as an essential reference tool by City officials, as well as prints of the 19th century coronations of Queen Victoria, King William IV and King George IV. Admission is free but booking is recommended. Runs until 5th October. For more, see www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/events/heritage-gallery-exhibition.
• Other events marking the coronation kick off in the City of London in the coming week. Among the extensive list of activities is a pop-up well-being garden in Seething Lane where you can pose for pictures with a floral crown installation, a guided walking tour of the City entitled ‘1000 Years of Royalty – the Best, the Worst and the Very Horribilus’, and a “Cockney knees-up” with Pearly King and Pearly Prince at Leadenhall Market. For more details and the full list of events, head to www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/events/coronation.
• A new exhibition commemorating the expansive career of Sir Christopher Wren opens today in St Paul’s Cathedral – the extraordinary building designed by Wren to replace the medieval cathedral destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 Part of a series of events marking the 300th anniversary of the death of Sir Christopher in 1723, Sir Christopher Wren: The Quest for Knowledge explores not only his early life and career as an architect but also his lesser-known contributions to the fields of mathematics, astronomy and physiology. The display, located in the north aisle of the crypt, features drawings, photographs and objects from the cathedral’s collections. Entry to the exhibition is included in general admission. For more, see www.stpauls.co.uk/whats-on/exhibition-christopher-wren-quest-for-knowledge.
• The Pre-Raphaelite model and artist, Marie Spartali Stillman, has been honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at what was her family home in Battersea. It was while living at The Shrubbery – a 1770s Grade II-listed property now located on Lavender Gardens – that Stillman first modelled for Pre-Raphaelite artists. Tutored by Ford Madox Brown, she went on to become one of a small number of professional women artists in the late 19th century, creating more than 150 works over a period spanning 50 years. Stillman is the first female Pre-Raphaelite artist and one of only very few female artists to receive a Blue Plaque. For more, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/.
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LondonLife – Rehearsing the Coronation Procession…
Treasures of London – The Gold State Coach…
The Gold State Coach will feature in the Coronation Procession of King Charles III (though, interestingly, not for both journeys), it was announced earlier this week so we thought we’d take a more detailed look at it.
The coach – which was last seen publicly during Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in June, 2022 – was built for King George III to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762.
Designed by Sir William Chambers, it was built in the London workshops of coach maker Samuel Butler and cost more than £7,500 at the time.
The coach weighs some four tonnes and is 28 foot long and 12 feet high. The coach is made of giltwood – a thin layer of gold leaf over wood – and features sculptures by Sir Joseph Wilton including three cherubs on the roof (representing England, Ireland and Scotland) and four tritons (a display of imperial power) above the wheels. The coach is also decorated with painted panels depicting Roman gods and goddesses by artist Giovanni Battista Ciprian.
Inside the coach is lined with velvet and satin.
The coach is pulled by a team of eight horses wearing a Red Morocco leather harness. At the coronation it will be pulled by Windsor Greys and due to its age and weight, will only move at walking pace.
The coach has been used in every coronation since that of King William IV and was also used for the State Opening of Parliament by Kings George III, George IV and William IV as well as Queen Victoria (up until Prince Albert’s death).
The coach is, however, not said to be the most comfortable ride – Queen Elizabeth II is known to have said so while King William IV described travelling in the coach as like being on a ship “in a rough sea”. So it will only be used for the return, post-Coronation, journey from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.
For the outward journey – from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey – the King and Queen Consort Camilla will travel in the more comfortable – and Australian-made – Diamond Jubilee State Coach (unlike the Gold State Coach, it comes with air-conditioning, modern suspension and electric windows).
Both coaches are usually housed in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.
On Coronation Day, the Gold State Coach will transport the newly crowned King and Queen Consort on a shorter route than that of Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day – just 1.3 miles compared to the late Queen’s five mile route back to the palace. Leaving Westminster Abbey, it will travel down Whitehall and pass under Admiralty Arch before travelling down The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
WHERE: The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace (nearest Tube stations are Victoria, Green Park, St James’s Park and Hyde Park Corner); WHEN: 10am to 5pm (check website for closure dates around the coronation); COST: £15 adults/£10 young person (aged 18-24)/£9 child (aged five to 17); WEBSITE: www.rct.uk/visit/the-royal-mews-buckingham-palace
Four sites related to royal coronations in London – 1. The Jewel House…
In the lead-up to the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla on 6th May, we’re taking a look at sites in London which have played an important role in coronations past (and, mostly, in this coronation as well).
First up, it’s the Tower of London’s Jewel House which is linked to the coronation through the role it plays in housing the Crown Jewels and, more specifically, the Coronation Regalia.
The centrepiece of the Crown Jewels is St Edward’s Crown, with which King Charles will be crowned in Westminster Abbey.
The crown, which has already been removed from the Tower of London so it could be resized for the occasion, is made from 22 carat gold and adorned with some 444 precious and semi-precious gems. Named for St Edward the Confessor, it dates from 1661 when it was made for the coronation of King Charles II and replaces an earlier version melted down after Parliament abolished the monarchy in 1649.
The crown was subsequently used in 1689 in the coronation of joint monarchs King William III and Queen Mary II and then not used again until 1911 when as used to crown King George V. It was also used to crown King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
St Edward’s Crown is not the only crown that will be used in the coronation ceremony – the King will also wear the Imperial State Crown at the end of the service.
Made by Garrard and Company for the coronation of King George VI in 1937 (replacing a crown made for Queen Victoria in 1838), it features the Black Prince’s Ruby in the front – said to have been a gift to Edward, the Black Prince, in 1357 from the King of Castile.
Further gems in the crown include the Stuart Sapphire, the Cullinan II Diamond and St Edward’s Sapphire, said to have been worn in a ring by St Edward the Confessor and found in his tomb in 1163.
Among other items which will be used in the coronation are the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, the Sovereign’s Orb, and the Coronation Spoon.
The sceptre was made for King Charles II and now features the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, which was added to it in 1911. The orb was also made for King Charles II’s coronation and is topped with a cross.
The spoon, meanwhile, is one of the oldest items in the Crown Jewels, dating from the 12th century. It is used for anointing the new sovereign with holy oil – which comes from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem – during the ceremony. It survived the abolition of the monarchy after it was purchased by a member of King Charles I’s wardrobe and later returned to King Charles II after the monarchy. The oil is held in a golden vessel known as an ampulla which is shaped like an eagle.
Other items to be used in the coronation are a series of swords – among them the Sword of State, the Sword of Temporal Justice, the Sword of Spiritual Justice, and the Sword of Mercy (this has its tip blunted to represent the Sovereign’s mercy).
The regalia was housed at Westminster Abbey until 1649. They have been kept at the Tower of London since the Restoration (even surviving a theft attempt by Colonel Thomas Blood and accomplices in 1671).
The Crown Jewels, which are now held under armed guard, have been housed in several different locations during their time at the Tower of London including in the Martin Tower and the Wakefield Tower. They were moved into a subterranean vault in the western end of the Waterloo Block (formerly the Waterloo Barracks), now known as the Jewel House (and not to be confused with The Jewel Tower in Westminster), in 1967.
A new Jewel House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on the ground floor of the former barracks in 1994. The exhibit was revamped in 2012 and following King Charles III’s coronation, the display is again being transformed with a new exhibition exploring the origins of some of the objects for the first time.
WHERE: The Jewel House, Tower of London (nearest Tube station Tower Hill); WHEN: 9am to 4.30pm (last admission), Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm (last admission) Sunday to Monday; COST: £29.90 adults; £14.90 children 5 to 15; £24 concessions (family tickets available; discounts for online purchases/memberships); WEBSITE: https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on/the-crown-jewels/.