Your complete guide to the order of service for King Charles’s Coronation
Express.co.uk has put together a complete guide to King Charles’s Coronation ceremony, the first the UK has seen in 70 years.
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The Coronation of King Charles promises to be memorable with new music and languages being heard at the historic ceremony for the very first time.
Today’s ceremony, the liturgy for which was commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be watched by millions around the world.
The ceremony promises to be a celebration of both the old and new, with new compositions by the revered Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as anthems by Handel and Byrd.
Several pieces of music have been commissioned especially by the King with there being representation from different religions and languages spoken across the UK included too.
Here, Express.co.uk takes a look at what the historic ceremony involves.
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Before we begin
Six of the King’s commissions composed especially for the Coronation will fill Westminster Abbey prior to the service. Master of the King’s Music Judith Weir’s Brighter Visions Shine Afar will be followed by a new arrangement of Sir Karl Jenkins’s Welsh folk song Tros Y Garreg, performed by the Coronation Orchestra and the Royal harpist, Alis Huws.
Sarah Class’s Sacred Fire, which will evoke biblical imagery in its lyrics, will be sung by South African soprano Pretty Yende. Nigel Hess, Roderick Williams and Shirley J Thompson’s ‘Be Thou my Vision’ follows and is based on the Monarch’s favourite hymns.
Then Iain Farrington’s Voices of the World is heard which combines the traditional melodies of the Commonwealth. Last, before the ceremony begins is King Charles III Coronation March by Patrick Doyle, famed for composing some of the Harry Potter film music.
Greeting and Introduction
The Coronation will begin with the opening procession and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby greeting the Congregation followed by a moment of silent prayer.
Kyrie eleison, derived from the Greek Biblical phrase which translates to “have mercy on me Lord”, is heard. The first movement of the traditional Mass is sung in Welsh, following Paul Mealor’s music.
This is not the first time Westminster Abbey has been filled with the Welsh composer’s piece. The Professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen wrote the song Ubi Caritas which was sung at the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate.
Alis Huws will perform with the orchestra Sir Karl Jenkins’s work before the ceremony begins
King Charles is presented to the congregation at the beginning of the service first by the Archbishop of Canterbury and three other dignitaries.
They are Lady Elish Angiolini, the first female Solicitor General, Christopher Finney GC, Chair of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, and Baroness Valerie Amos, who was appointed Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter by the Queen last year. They have all been chosen to say thank you for their service to the nation and the work they have done.
Following the presentation of the Bible — a specially commissioned King James Bible — by the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, the Monarch takes the Oath, said by the Archbishop.
While the ceremony is full of new additions, it has also included the old, too. A short anthem, Prevent Us, O Lord by Rennaissance composer William Byrd is sung. This has been performed many times over the centuries. After the King’s Prayer, the second piece by Byrd, Mass for Four Voices, is heard. These pieces are from the organist and composer’s “Great Service”.
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Rishi Sunak, a practising Hindu, will then take to the stage and read Colossians 1:9-17 from the bible, which emphasises the importance of service to others and the love of Christ. Lambeth Palace clarified ahead of the ceremony that his faith is not an issue during the Anglican service as he is fulfilling his role as Prime Minister, participating in state occasions as a representative of the host nation’s government.
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The Alleluia (O Clap your Hands), a new work composed by film and TV composer Debbie Wiseman OBE, was commissioned by the Monarch, especially for the Coronation.
Following the Gospel reading by the Bishop of London, Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Elisabeth Mullally, the second of the commissioned work by Ms Wiseman, Alleluia (O Sing Praises), is sung.
This is the first time the Classic FM’s Composer in Residence’s Sung Alleluia songs have been performed by the Ascension Choir, making it the first time a gospel choir has performed at a Coronation.
During the sermon, the diversity of the UK will be celebrated as each verse with be in a minority language, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, and Irish Gaelic. The Monarch, who was formerly the Prince of Wales, values the importance of languages, having studied Welsh in Aberystwyth while he was at university.
The Archbishop said ahead of the ceremony: “The service contains new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society. I am delighted that the service will recognise and celebrate tradition, speaking to the great history of our nation, our customs, and those who came before us.”
Following the Anointing, where the Archbishop pours holy oil on the King’s hands, chest, and head, the Coronation regalia is presented.
A tribute to Prince Philip
During the Exchange of the Swords, the Greek choir will sing Psalm 71. The Byzantine Chant Ensemble will perform Greek Orthodox music at the King’s request.
This was commissioned to pay tribute to Prince Philip who died at the age of 99 two years ago. The Duke of Edinburgh, who was often referred to as Phil the Greek, was exiled from Greece shortly after he was born.
A piece commissioned by Charles will pay tribute to his late father
Following the presentation of the Coronation Regalia, which symbolises the service and responsibilities of the monarch, the pinnacle moment will take place: the King is finally crowned.
The Crown of St Edward to The Archbishop will be placed upon Carles’s head as he sits on the Stone of Destiny, which has been used for centuries in the Coronations of monarchs of Scotland.
The crown is the very same one worn by Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation in 1953. Once it is on the Monarch’s head, there will be exclamations of “God Save the King!” and fanfare.
The Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare by Richard Strauss for brass instruments was commissioned especially for the coronation. This will then be followed by a Gun Salture fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery stationed at the Horse Guards Parade and another at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company as well as all saluting stations in the UK, Gibraltar, Bermuda and Ships at Sea.
The Blessing marks another first as it is being shared by Christian leaders, including the Archbishop of York, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Thyateira and 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.
Prince William pays homage
Following an anthem by composer and organist Thomas Weelkes, the King is enthroned and the Archbishop leads the words of the fealty on behalf of the church.
He is then followed by the heir to the throne, Prince William, who will pay homage by kneeling before his father, touching the crown, and kissing the Monarch’s cheek.
The Homage of the People
The Archbishop then calls upon those in the Abbey and beyond to pledge allegiance to the King and say:
“I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty and to your heirs and successors according to law. So, help me God.”
This is the first time the public has been given an active role in the Coronation, but it has been a highly controversial part of the ceremony.
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Queen Camilla’s Coronation
After hearing Sir Henry Walford Davies’s Confortare, which has been featured at Coronations over the past four centuries, Queen Camilla will be taken through the same steps as Charles with the Coronation Regalia although she will be crowned with Queen Mary’s crown, marking the first time a Queen Consort has used an existing crown for a Coronation.
Andrew Lloyd Webber Coronation Anthem
Enthroning the Queen will then be followed by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s new anthem, based on verses from Psalm 98, called ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ as the King and Queen are united in their joint vocation.
This piece was commissioned for the service by the world’s most successful living composer especially but, in an interview with the Telegraph, Lord Lloyd-Webber said that the King hopes that the piece would stand the test of time and be sung at celebrations in the future.
After the more traditional Offertory Hymn and prayers said by the Archbishop, Westminster Abbey will be filled by British-Polish composer Roxanna Panufnik’s Sanctus. This will be performed by 60 choristers with an organ accompaniment. She is one of the 12 composers commissioned to write a work for Charles’s Coronation, joining the likes of Handel, Byrd, Elgar, and Purcell who were all asked to write pieces for ceremonies in the past.