The Coronation of King Charles III is due to take place on 6 May 2023, with Camilla crowned Queen Consort. The big day is sure to be a spectacular affair, commanding a new bank holiday on the 8 May and widespread celebration. But what about past coronations? Here are four interesting examples to think about when watching Charles’!
William the Conqueror was crowned on Christmas Day 1066 in Westminster Abbey. This has been the site of the Coronation for every British monarch since, apart from Edward V and Edward VIII. Such loud cheering erupted from Norman supporters inside when the crown was placed on William’s head that rioting broke out outside. The native Anglo-Saxons thought a rebellion had begun!
Richard I, or Lionheart, as he was known, was crowned 3 September 1189. A highly detailed account of the ceremony survives in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It describes an evil omen unfolding while the crown was lifted, a bat flew up and circled around The Abbey. Be sure to look out for any wildlife on the broadcast this week!
Henry V was crowned on 9 April 1413. Heavy snowfall on the day was taken to be an omen of hard times ahead. After many battles and famous victories for Henry, the Treaty of Troyes was signed. This meant Henry V would be crowned King of France upon the death of Charles VI. However, this never happened as Charles VI survived Henry by two months! The 170-carat red spinel jewel at the centre of Charles III crown was in Henry V crown at Agincourt and reportedly saved his life as a sword glanced off it! See if you can spot any scratches…
Charles II was restored to the throne on 23 April 1661. After the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, the restoration of the monarchy brought Britain back from a republic to a monarchy. A whole new set of regalia had to be created for the ceremony as it had been melted down in the hope of stopping the royalists… whoops!
Whether you are celebrating the big occasion, or you just want to learn a little bit more about the event, visit Milestones to discover more about coronations of the past! Over the whole Bank Holiday weekend there will be some crafts, a trail and prizes and lots going on. Pay once, visit all year!
With special thanks to Alex Moore, Visitor Experience Manager at Milestones Museum for this article.