King Charles III Coronation Order of Service
On 6 May 2023 King Charles III will be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a majestic service, whose traditions date back centuries. Here is the Order of Service
Will you be watching the Coronation of King Charles? The beautiful and moving service will contain a host of different elements, ranging from centuries-old coronation traditions to brand spanking new music from some of Britain's finest living composers.
Here is your step-by-step guide to this momentous event, which is scheduled to start at 11am at Westminster Abbey.
King Charles III order of service
The coronation service will begin with a procession, which includes faith leaders and representatives, Ecumenical Leaders, and the Westminster Abbey Choir.
The king will then be greeted by a Chapel Royal chorister before standing at his Chair of Estate, head bowed, in a moment of silent prayer.
There will then follow a greeting by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Kyrie eleison by Paul Mealor
Bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and the Choir of Westminster Abbey will perform Kyrie eleison, set to music by Welsh composer Paul Mealor. Kyrie eleison is the first part of the traditional Mass (or Mass Ordinary).
This is the first of the King’s 12 coronation commissions. It is also the first Welsh-language performance at a coronation.
The Recognition and presentation of the Bible
The Recognition, which dates back to Medieval times, is the first element of the traditional English Coronation Rite. It affirms and acknowledges that The King is the one whom the congregation ‘recognise’ as Head of State.
The King is then presented with the Bible, the church's first gift to the monarch.
The King’s Prayer
The King says this prayer, which has been specially composed for His Majesty to pray alone in response to the promises he has made. The prayer reflects themes of loving service. It is inspired by biblical language (Galatians 5) and by the much-loved hymn ‘I vow to thee my country’.
The Church of England says: 'This is possibly the first time in our history that such a personal prayer has been voiced so publicly by the Sovereign.'
Gloria in excelsis
Byrd's Mass for Four Voices, 'Gloria in excelsis', will then be performed.
Next, the Archbishop of Canterbury will lead a special prayer, inspired by the hymn 'Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendour'.
The Prime Minister, The Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak, MP, will read from Colossians 1: 9-17.
The second of the 12 special Coronation commissions, is a setting of Psalm 47:1-2, by composer Debbie Wiseman (who has scored films and TV programmes including Wilde, Tom's Midnight Garden, Wolf Hall, Judge John Deed, and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries).
Chaoter 4, verses 16 to 21 from the Gospel of St Luke will be read by The Rt Revd & Rt Hon. Dame Sarah Mullally, DBE, Dean of HM Chapels Royal.
We continue with the second part of Debbie Wiseman's commission: a setting of Psalm 47, verses 6-7.
This will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Veni Creator Plainsong, mode VIII
The hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus ‘(Come Creator Spirit) will be performed in the traditional languages of the four nations (English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and (Irish Gaelic) that make up the United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving for the Holy Oil
The Archbishop of Canterbury is presented with the coronation oil, by The Most Reverend Dr Hosam Naoum, The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem.
Traditionally, that oil also contained substances such as musk from deer and civets, plus ambergris from sperm whales. But in line with modern concerns about animal cruelty, the oil used to anoint Charles III at his coronation on May 6 is free of animal products, meaning the new recipe doesn’t contain ambergris.
The Presentation of Regalia
The king is presented with the symbols of royalty beginning with The Spurs, followed by the sword.
Then - in honour of his late father Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was born a Prince of Greece - a Greek Orthodox choir will perform Psalm 72 (Psalm 71 in the Greek Septuagint Psalter) during the Exchange of Swords.
The King will then be presented with the Armills, the Robe and Stole Royal, the Orb, the Ring, the Glove, and the Sceptre and Rod.
This hugely symbolic moment will be accompanied by Richard Strauss's Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare. During this, the Westminster Abbey bells will ring for two minutes.
This is followed by a Gun Salute.
The Blessing will be carried out by the Archbishop of York, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Thyateira & Great Britain, the Moderator of The Free Churches, the Secretary General of Churches Together in England, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The King is set on the throne
The Church of England, HRH The Prince of Wales, and the congregation give homage to the King.
The Coronation of the Queen
At this point, the Queen is crowned and enthroned. At the same time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's new anthem 'Make a Joyful Noise' - which was inspired by the words of Psalm 98 - will be performed.
Prayer over the Gifts
The Archbishop of Canterbury recites a prayer over the bread and wine.
The Eucharistic Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer
Prayer after Communion
The Final Blessing
Following the Final Blessing, we will hear the Sung Amen by the 16th/17th-century English composer Orlando Gibbons.
The congregation will sing the hymn 'Praise, my soul, the King of heaven'.
The next item on the Order of Service is William Boyce's coronation anthem 'The King Shall Rejoice in thy Strength'. Inspired by the words from Psalm 21, it was originally composed for the Coronation of George III in 1761.
Te Deum, an ancient hymn that dates back to the fourth century, has always been part of the Coronation Rite, and this version was composed by Sir William Walton for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.