10 Apr 2023

Gold coach procession and new emoji for King Charles' coronation

4:06 pm on 10 April 2023
Britain's King Charles III (R) and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort arrive for the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on April 9, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok / POOL / AFP)

King Charles and wife Camilla, pictured during Easter 2023. Photo: Yui Mok / Pool / AFP

King Charles and his wife Camilla will travel to and from their coronation next month in a grand procession that will be shorter than that taken by his mother 70 years ago, says Buckingham Palace.

Charles will be crowned at London's Westminster Abbey on 6 May in a ceremony full of resplendent pomp and pageantry, with traditions dating back 1000 years.

The palace has been slowly releasing details of the event which is set to have a few differences from that of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, most notably in its scale, partly reflecting the modern age and the current cost of living crisis.

The king and his wife will be taken from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, built to commemorate Elizabeth's 60th year on the throne and first used in 2014.

The carriage's interior includes samples of objects taken from historic buildings and palaces while on top sits a gilded crown, carved from oak from HMS Victory, one of the Royal Navy's 18th century flagships.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in Diamond Jubilee State Coach as she leaves Buckingham Palace in London on October 14, 2019 heading to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament. - The State Opening of Parliament is where Queen Elizabeth II performs her ceremonial duty of informing parliament about the government's agenda for the coming year in a Queen's Speech. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)

The late Queen Elizabeth II rides with King Charles and wife Camilla in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on 14 October, 2019 Photo: AFP / Isavel Infantes

After the service, the couple will return in the Coronation Procession, which while much larger in size than their journey to the Abbey, will be about a third of the 7.2-kilometre route taken by Elizabeth when millions thronged the streets of London to watch.

For this, Charles and Camilla will travel in the 260-year-old Gold State Coach which has been used at every coronation since William IV's in 1831 and was first used by George III to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762 when he was still king of Britain's American colonies.

It is 7 metres long, 3.6 metres tall and weighs four tonnes (4000kg), and needs eight horses to pull it.

"Because of that it can only be used at a walking pace, which really adds to the majesty and stateliness of this great royal procession," said Sally Goodsir, curator of decorative arts at the Royal Collection Trust.

However, in a documentary aired in 2018, Elizabeth described her journey from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in the coach as "horrible", saying it was not very comfortable.

In an example of the modern nature of the coronation, the palace also announced that a new emoji had been unveiled to coincide with the event, based on the historic St Edward's Crown which will be placed on Charles' head during the service.

- Reuters

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