King Charles III Coronation: What's Happening In London Over The Bank Holiday Weekend?

King Charles III Coronation: What's Happening In London Over The Bank Holiday Weekend?
King Charles in a suit
The coronation takes place at Westminster Abbey on 6 May 2023. Image: Dan Marsh in creative commons

2022 was a landmark year for regal events in London — with a platinum jubilee and a state funeral for Elizabeth II. 2023 is another biggie, with the coronation of her son, Charles III this summer.

We've put together a guide to the coronation happenings in London, so you can plan ahead. We'll update this article as more details are given in the run-up to the big weekend.

When is Charles III's coronation?

Saturday 6 May 2023. As for timings, the coronation will take place in the morning, following a 'King's Procession' from Buckingham Palace.

The towers of Westminster Abbey
Charles's coronation will be the 40th at Westminster Abbey. Image: M@/Londonist

Where is the coronation taking place?

Westminster Abbey. Charles will be the 40th monarch to be crowned at the Abbey, in a tradition that spans back to William the Conqueror, and is only bucked by Charles's rebellious great uncle, Edward VIII, who was never crowned. The last coronation to take place here was, of course, that of Elizabeth II in June 1953.

So is Charles not King until he's crowned?

He became King the moment his mum died. The coronation is the formalisation of Charles's ascendency to the throne, and apparently he can't go swanking about wearing the Crown Jewels until he's gone through with it.

Camilla accepting some flowers
So she doesn't feel left out, Camilla gets a crown too. Image: Ibagli in creative commons

Is Camilla going to be crowned too?

Yup, as Queen Consort, alongside Charles in the same ceremony.

Who's invited to the coronation?

Big Suze's face
Is it even a royal event if Big Suze isn't there? Image: Channel 4/fair use

Not Londonist apparently, which is a bit of nerve. Of course, it's too early to say who's going to be on the invite list, although top brass from around the world — including current and former world leaders — will inevitably feature (and hilariously, almost certainly not Donald Trump). If we're to indulge tabloid speculation for a moment, Harry and Meghan are said to be invited, although whether or not they'll show up is for the birds. The big question on everyone's lips, of course, is will Big Suze, aka Sophie Winkleman aka Claudia Winkleman's sister, be in attendance? The answer, seeing as her husband is Lord Frederick Windsor, is probably yes. It brings great joy to us that every major royal occasion is like watching some bizarro episode of Peep Show. Well, after all, as Mark once said: "God, she's so posh, that I, Mark Corrigan, who was privately educated until dad's British Aerospace shares went kaput, could be her bit of rough."

Can members of the public attend the coronation?

Inside the Abbey? Absolutely not. But you'll be able to get into central London, and presumably along the Mall to see the processions. Inevitably, there will be people prepared to arrive ludicrously early to get a good view. Inevitably, they will come bearing Union Flags.

What else is happening on coronation day?

The royal family - including the Queen out on the balcony
Image: Number 10 in creative commons

Once the royal bonces have been crowned, a grand Coronation Procession will make its way up the Mall back to Buckingham Palace, with other royals tagging along. (Andrew? Who knows.)

Later on, the updated Royal Family will appear on Buckingham Palace's famous balcony, and wave to well wishers. A familiar scenario, with a slightly changed cast — it'll be odd not to have the Queen out there in one of her luminous numbers.

Is there a bank holiday for the coronation?

Yes! After initial rumblings that there wasn't going to be one, it's confirmed that Monday 8 May will be a national bank holiday. So you can expect London to be in full-on party mode on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monarchists and non-monarchists alike can get on board with that.

Is public transport running in London on coronation day?

A Westminster roundel seen through a tube train window
It's likely some central tube stations will close/have limited opening over coronation weekend. Image: TfL

There's no official line from TfL at time of writing, but yes, we'd expect public transport to be running — with the caveat that stations/bus stops close to Westminster Abbey will likely be affected. For the jubilee celebrations last year, there were closures/limited opening times across the weekend at Charing Cross, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, St James's Park and Westminster stations — and we'd expect something similar this time. TfL will almost certainly be advising people to travel by foot where possible.

By the way, here are some great photos of London Transport making preparations for the last coronation, in 1953.

What else is happening on coronation weekend?

A Big Help Out logo

Sunday 7 May sees a big Coronation Concert, although it's at Windsor Castle. A ballot for free tickets will be announced in due course. As part of the concert, there'll be a 'Lighting up the Nation' moment, which London landmarks will take part in.

Monday 8 May sees The Big Help Out, where people across the UK are invited to roll up their sleeves and do a shift for a local group or national charity.

A Coronation Big Lunch is taking place over the bank holiday weekend (and right through into June in fact), with communities across the country encouraged to hone their coronation chicken recipe, and eat sandwiches with their neighbours.

Doubtless, there will be THOUSANDS of coronation themed events — not to mention non-coronation-themed events — taking place over the bank holiday in London. We'll do a roundup closer to the time.

Will there be big screens in London for the coronation?

The coronation will, of course be televised, and if you're heading into London itself — though nothing's confirmed — we'd take an educated punt that yes, there will be big screen TVs; for the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations in 2022, huge screens were set up along the Mall, and in St James's Park.

Are there any hotels left for coronation weekend?

At time of writing (Feb 23), the absolute dirt cheapest lodging we could find on Booking for two people from 5-8 May was an apartment in Shepherd's Bush... for £422. Many other places on those nights cost well north of £1,000. But maybe that's normal for London? Tbh we don't spend much time in London hotels.

Got any hot goss on the King?

A younger Prince Charles appears to be standing on a tube platform looking at carriages
Train pic by M@; Charles pic public domain.

Did you know that as a young prince, Charles enjoyed going tubespotting on the Bakerloo line. He's ruined, RUINED I tell you!

Last Updated 10 February 2023

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