On Saturday, Charles will be crowned monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, also becoming the largely ceremonial head of the Commonwealth. Thousands are expected to gather at Westminster Abbey and the surrounding streets of central London to take in a glorious display of British pageantry.
About 2300 guests were formally invited to the 40th coronation, a tradition dating back to the 10th. century. As part of the ceremony, Charles will be anointed, blessed, and consecrated as he sits in the coronation chair, a relic first used in the coronation of King Edward II in 1308. The process of anointing is inspired by the biblical anointing of King Solomon it is a deeply religious moment, similar to a baptism. The oil was made with olives harvested from two groves from monasteries on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where the bible says Jesus prayed the day before his crucifixion.
Charles’ wife, Camilla, previously known as the Queen consort, will officially become the queen during the coronation but unlike Charles, she is not required to make an oath to the people. The ceremony is expected to last a couple of hours. Charles will be the 10th monarch to be crowned since America declared independence in 1776.
No US president has ever attended a British coronation, a tradition that continues. After the service, the procession will begin, taking the new king and queen back to Buckingham Palace for a reception. They are then expected to appear on the famous palace balcony alongside other senior royals it is unclear who will appear, but they are likely to at least include William and his oldest son, Prince George, who is second in the line of succession.