A special event. King Charles III‘s coronation is the first ceremony for a British monarch in the 21st century — but it continued to follow royal tradition.
The service, which took place in May 2023, was held at Westminster Abbey six months after Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral. Although the ceremony underwent some changes to include various faiths and communities, the basics remained the same.
The Archbishop of Canterbury was present to crown Charles in a practice that has taken place since 1066. His coronation is the 40th to occur at Westminster Abbey — and was broadcast for the public to experience.
Charles originally assumed his place as sovereign immediately after his mother’s passing at age 96 in September 2022.
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” he wrote in a statement. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
The U.K. native continued: “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Before her death, Elizabeth was the longest-reigning British monarch in history with 70 years on the throne. Charles, for his part, was the longest-serving heir apparent ever. He was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation as sovereign in June 1953.
The former Prince of Wales reflected on his mother’s legacy days after her passing during his Ascension Ceremony.
“My mother’s reign was unequaled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion,” he told the Ascension Council during the September 2022 ceremony. “Even as we grieve, we give thanks for this most faithful life. I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.”
Charles noted his plans to follow in Elizabeth’s footsteps following his own coronation. “In this purpose, I know that I shall be upheld by the affection and loyalty of the peoples whose sovereign I have been called upon to be, and in the discharge of these duties, I will be guided by the council of their elected parliaments,” he added.
During his ceremony, Charles’ wife, Queen Consort Camilla, was also crowned in a smaller service. Elizabeth previously discussed her hope for Camilla to inherit that title of queen consort upon Charles’ accession as king.
“When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me,” Elizabeth wrote in a February 2022 statement, while celebrating her Platinum Jubilee. “And it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
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