Coronation: an introduction

The Coronation is a time of great historical significance and pageantry, but fundamentally is a solemn religious ceremony in which the Sovereign takes the Coronation oath

The Coronation of the new Sovereign takes place several months after accession, allowing a period of mourning for the deceased monarch and time for the enormous amount of preparation required to organise the occasion.

For the last 900 hundred years, the Coronation ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey in London.

The first Sovereign to be crowned there was William the Conquerer in 1066 and 37 Coronations have taken place in the Abbey since; the most recent is that of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953.

The service is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose task this had almost always been since the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Since the reign of Queen Victoria, Coronation day commences with the Sovereign travelling from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach, escorted by the Yeomen of the Guard, the Household Cavalry, the Royal Bargemaster and Royal Waterman.

Present at the Coronation are representatives of the Houses of Parliament, Church and State, in addition to Commonwealth Prime Ministers and members of foreign Royal Families and governments.

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