Creating new traditions: What key changes will King Charles III’s Coronation ring in?

With King Charles III’s Coronation on Saturday the 6th of May, the UK will experience its first such ceremony in 70 years. As with any coronation, tradition will play a significant role, and the location for the event is no exception. Charles will be crowned at Westminster Abbey, the site of every coronation since 1066 and the historic venue where 38 monarchs have been crowned.

Although traditions can offer a sense of continuity and belonging, it’s equally essential to establish new ones that align with our changing times, evolving beliefs, and better reflect our whole community. Let’s take a quick look at the new traditions that the upcoming coronation will bring as it ushers the historic event into the 21st century.

1: The inclusion of Britain’s diverse faith communities.

For the first time in British history, representatives from the country’s diverse faith communities will play a role in the upcoming coronation ceremony. These representatives will include leaders and representatives from a variety of faiths, including Jewish, Sunni and Shia Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai, and Zoroastrian communities. [1]

While King Charles will still take the traditional oath to be the “defender of the faith”, which reflects his role as head of the Church of England, it is expected that he will add a few words to recognise and represent the religious diversity of the UK.

2: A more intimate, efficient approach.

Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was attended by 8,250 guests and lasted for four hours. King Charles is planning a more intimate and “slimmed down” affair. There will only be around 2,000 attendees and the ceremony will be wrapped up in one hour.[2]

3: The royal take on a ‘green’ screen.

A new screen will provide complete privacy during the most sacred moment of the ceremony. The three-sided screen will shield the monarch as he is anointed with holy oil, in keeping with the sanctity of this “moment between the sovereign and God”. This is a significant change from the previous canopy that only provided figurative privacy. The new screen has been created using sustainable materials and a “windblown tree” originally planted in 1765 on the king’s Windsor estate, in keeping with King Charles’s commitment to environmental conservation.[3]

4: A crown reimagined.

Rather than commissioning a new crown, the Queen Consort will wear Queen Mary’s Crown at the coronation. This is the first time a Consort’s crown has been re-used since the 18th century – and the piece will pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, featuring diamonds from her personal jewellery collection.[4]

5: Out with chicken, in with quiche.

Signature dishes have long been a staple of royal occasions, from coronation chicken to platinum pudding. The “coronation quiche” has been personally chosen by the King and Queen Consort in the hope it will be a centrepiece to many a coronation “Big Lunch” at street parties and community events. The dish was selected for its versatility and suitability for various dietary requirements and preferences. It is also not too complex or costly to prepare.[5]

6: The beginning of a new tradition: The Big Help Out

The power of volunteering is immeasurable when it comes to building and uniting communities. And what better way to pay tribute to King Charles’ lifelong commitment to public service than to inspire and mobilise people to join a nationwide effort that puts the spirit of giving back at the forefront? On Monday the 8th of May 2023, we will witness “The Big Help Out,” a new initiative spearheaded by The Together Coalition and supported by The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service, and faith groups from all corners of the UK. By participating in this event, you’ll be helping to start a new tradition – one that will create positive changes in the lives of your local community.[6]

As we approach the coronation weekend, it does feel as if we are entering a new era. While traditions play an essential role in this historic event, we must also recognise the importance of evolving with the times. By embracing new traditions that celebrate diversity, sustainability, and community, we are showing that change is not only necessary but also good. This coronation will be a powerful symbol of how we can create a future that is more inclusive, more sustainable, and more united.


Notes and references







Related reading

Sign up to our newsletter(s)

Get our latest news by email. Sign up to our newsletter for industry insight, news and views and the latest from the Obelisk Support team: