Pomp and Pageantry: A Grand Gold Coach Procession and New Emoji for King Charles’ Coronation

The Gold State Coach used for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953. Photo: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

King Charles and his wife Camilla will travel to and from their coronation next month in Britain’s oldest and newest royal carriages in a grand procession that will be shorter than that taken by his mother 70 years ago, Buckingham Palace said on Sunday.

Charles will be crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey on May 6 in a ceremony full of resplendent pomp and pageantry, with traditions dating back 1,000 years.

The palace has been slowly releasing details of the event which is set to have a few differences from that of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, most notably in its scale, partly reflecting the modern age and the current cost of living crisis.

The King and his wife will be taken from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, built to commemorate Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne and first used in 2014.


Queen Elizabeth II returns to Buckingham Palace in the new Diamond Jubilee state coach following the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images


The carriage’s interior includes samples of objects taken from historic buildings and palaces while on top sits a gilded crown, carved from oak from HMS Victory, one of the Royal Navy’s 18th century flagships.

After the service, the couple will return in the Coronation Procession, which while much larger in size than their journey to the Abbey, will be about a third of the 7.2 km (4.5 mile) route taken by Elizabeth when millions thronged the streets of London to watch.

For this, Charles and Camilla will travel in the 260-year-old Gold State Coach which has been used at every coronation since William IV’s in 1831 and was first used by George III to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762 when he was still king of Britain’s American colonies.


Details of The Gold State Coach built In 1762 By King George III. Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images


It is 7 metres (23ft) long, 3.6 metres tall and weighs four tonnes, and needs eight horses to pull it.

“Because of that it can only be used at a walking pace, which really adds to the majesty and stateliness of this great royal procession,” said Sally Goodsir, Curator of Decorative Arts at the Royal Collection Trust.

However, in a documentary aired in 2018, Elizabeth described her journey from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in the coach as “horrible”, saying it was not very comfortable.

In an example of the modern nature of the coronation, the palace also announced that a new emoji had been unveiled to coincide with the event, based on the historic St Edward’s Crown which will be placed on Charles’ head during the service.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Toby Chopra)