10 sights you'll see at King Charles' coronation — and 2 you won't
LONDON — Pomp and pageantry? Check. Flag-waving tourists? Check. A modern monarchy able to revamp a medieval ritual into something accessible to a younger, more diverse United Kingdom? Maybe.
King Charles III's coronation Saturday will have a shorter parade route, a role for all Britons rather than only aristocrats — and a nod to the country's myriad faiths.
It's also likely to have protesters upset about the more than $125 million price tag for U.K. taxpayers during a painful cost-of-living crisis.
King Charles will be crowned with St. Edward's Crown, named for the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Edward the Confessor. He lived in the 11th century, but the crown was made some 600 years later in 1661, for King Charles II.
It's solid gold, a foot tall, capped with velvet, lined with ermine and encrusted with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, topazes, tourmalines and a garnet. It's heavy — nearly 5 pounds. "It weighs a ton!" recalled the late Queen Elizabeth II, who wore the St. Edward's Crown for her 1953 coronation.
It's worn only a short time by British monarchs at their coronations. It'll be in use for about an hour on Saturday and then be put back into storage at the Tower of London.
But it may be the most recognizable of the royals' many crowns: Its silhouette is part of the coat of arms on British passports, police badges and mailboxes.
Charles has a "working crown" to wear on his way out of Westminster Abbey: the Imperial State Crown, made in 1937. The monarch wears this crown to the opening of Parliament too. It's one of as many as seven crowns that may grace the king's head.
The Coronation Regalia is a selection of sacred and secular items that hold symbolic meaning for the monarchy. It includes orbs, scepters, swords and rings, which are all part of Britain's famous Crown Jewels.
While the United Kingdom isn't the only European country to have a royal family, its royals are the only ones who use regalia in coronations. Other monarchies, such as Norway and the Netherlands, have regalia on display but don't use it in ceremonies.
Then the monarch puts his hand on a Bible and takes an oath to uphold the law and be a "faithful Protestant." (In addition to being Britain's head of state, he's also the head of the Church of England.)