Buckingham Palace has released new details on the ceremonial, celebratory and community events that will take place over the Coronation Weekend between Saturday, 06 May and Monday, 08 May 2023.
Coronation weekend plans summary
The Coronation Service
The Coronation Service will take place on the morning of Saturday, 06 May 2023, at Westminster Abbey and is expected to be a solemn religious service and an occasion for celebration and pageantry.
There were more than 8,000 guests for the 1953 coronation, which lasted three hours. The ceremony in May is expected to be smaller and considerably shorter, with Westminster Abbey usually having a capacity of about 2,200.
A more inclusive, multi-faith dimension is anticipated for the service, reflecting a broader range of religions and beliefs in the country, and there will be scrutiny of whether the coronation oath is updated to reflect this.
The King’s Procession
Their Majesties, The King and The Queen Consort, will arrive at Westminster Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as ‘The King’s Procession’.
The Coronation Procession
After the Service, Their Majesties will return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as ‘The Coronation Procession’. Their Majesties will be joined in this procession by other members of the royal family.
The coronation procession is expected to be more modest. In 1953, there were 16,000 participants in a procession that took 45 minutes to pass any stationary point on the 7km (4.3 miles) route.
At Buckingham Palace, The King and The Queen Consort, accompanied by Members of the Royal Family, will appear on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events. It is not yet confirmed who will appear with them on the balcony.
On Sunday, 07 May, world-famous entertainers will perform at Windsor Castle as part of a weekend of celebrations. It will come the day after the coronation at Westminster Abbey.
The concert, featuring “global music icons and contemporary stars”, will be broadcast on the BBC, and several thousand pairs of tickets will be made available via a public ballot.
The concert will see a world-class orchestra play interpretations of musical favourites fronted by some of the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance and a selection of spoken word sequences delivered by stars of stage and screen.
Alongside the stars, there will be an exclusive appearance from The Coronation Choir – a diverse group to be created from the nation’s keenest community choirs and amateur singers, such as Refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs.
There are no plans for beacons to be lit around the country, but a ‘Lighting up the Nation’ event will see the country join together in celebration as iconic locations across the country are lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations.
Further details about the Windsor concert will be released in due course, including the line-up and the national ticket ballot.
The Coronation Big Lunch
Street parties and local get-togethers will also be held on Sunday, 07 May, under the banner of the Coronation Big Lunch, with neighbours and communities across the UK invited to share food and fun in a nationwide act of celebration and friendship.
The Big Lunch is an idea from the Eden Project, made possible by The National Lottery, that brings millions of people together annually to boost community spirit, reduce loneliness and support charities and good causes.
Thousands of events are expected in every corner of the United Kingdom as people take to their streets, gardens, parks and community spaces to join the celebrations and mark this historic occasion.
Free downloadable resources will also be made available online by the Big Lunch team at CoronationBigLunch.com to help people and communities start their planning.
The Big Help Out
Supporting the local community will be encouraged on the bank holiday of Monday, 08 May, with The Big Help Out, where people will be urged to get involved in local volunteering projects.
It is being organised by The Together Coalition and a wide range of partners such as The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and faith groups from across the United Kingdom.
The aim of The Big Help Out is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation Weekend.
Meanwhile, the anti-monarchy campaign group, Republic, is working to ensure the coronation weekend plans will include #NotMyKing protests as the eyes of the world will be on the coronation.
Speaking for the organisation, Graham Smith said: “The coronation is a celebration of hereditary power and privilege; it has no place in a modern society.”
“We have already been in touch with the Metropolitan police, and we expect them to facilitate peaceful and meaningful protest. We intend to make our presence felt in parliament square as the royal procession passes through to the Abbey.“