Glittering ceremonial celebrations for the King’s coronation have been unveiled, detailing the procession route, the carriages and the priceless Crown Jewels chosen to play a starring role.
Charles and the Queen Consort will travel in a shorter procession route than the late Elizabeth II and break with tradition by only using the elaborate 260-year-old Gold State Coach one way – on their return.
They will travel, accompanied by The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, down The Mall via Admiralty Arch, along the south side of Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall and Parliament Street, around the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary to arrive at the Abbey.
The late Queen rode both ways in the Gold State Coach for her 1953 coronation, famously describing the bumpy experience in the carriage, which is suspended on leather straps, as “horrible”.
Her outward procession was 1.6 miles long but her return procession was five miles, taking her down Piccadilly, along Oxford Street and Regent Street and Haymarket.
It took two hours to complete, featured 16,000 participants and was designed to allow her to be seen by as many people as possible.
The route is understood to have been chosen for practical reasons, being a familiar tried and tested journey for many royal occasions.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The carriages chosen reflect the smaller procession to the Abbey and the larger procession back to Buckingham Palace.
“They were the personal choice of Their Majesties.”
The Palace declined to comment on whether the decision to opt for the Diamond Jubilee State Coach at the start has anything to do with ongoing back pain the King has suffered for many decades. Camilla has also endured back problems over the years.
It features modern technology, with six hydraulic stabilisers to stop it from swaying, and traditional craftmanship with interior wooden panels made from objects donated by more than 100 historic sites including royal residences, the Mary Rose, 10 Downing Street and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Charles’ Coronation Procession in the Gold State Coach will feature a cast of hundreds of members of the Armed Forces from the UK, Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, as well as the Sovereign’s Bodyguard and Royal Watermen.
Sally Goodsir, curator of decorative arts at the Royal Collection Trust, said: “The Gold State Coach will be the centrepiece of the much larger procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace on coronation day.
“It weighs four tonnes and because of that it can only be used at walking pace which really adds to the majesty and stateliness of this great royal procession.”
It will include the Sovereign’s Orb, the Golden Spurs, bracelets known as Armills, two maces, five symbolic swords, the Sovereign’s Ring, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove.
Camilla will be crowned, as previously announced, with the modified Queen Mary’s Crown, but she will also hold the Queen Consort’s Rod with Dove – despite the controversial rod being made from ivory.
The piece is said to symbolise equity and mercy, and the dove, with its folded wings, represents the Holy Ghost.
As part of the proceedings, she will receive the Queen Consort’s Ring – a ruby in a gold setting made for the Coronation of King William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1831, and used by three further Queens Consort – Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and the Queen Mother.
As previously announced, Charles will be crowned with the 17th century St Edward’s Crown which has been resized to fit his head.
He will switch it for the lighter Imperial State Crown at the end of the ceremony as is the custom.
Other details announced by the Palace include a new Twitter emoji.
The King and Queen Consort will also receive a royal salute in the Buckingham Palace gardens from the military troops on parade.
They will take the salute from the West Terrace after the ceremony and the servicemen and women will give three cheers – a special coronation tribute from the Armed Forces to the couple.