Coronation gun salute: what time and how many rounds will be fired? Differences explained

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Gun salutes will herald the moment King Charles III is crowned

The coronation of the King and Queen Consort will see the largest military ceremonial operation in 70 years, with more than 6,000 men and women of the UK’s armed forces taking part in the historic royal event.

Sailors, soldiers, and aviators from across the UK and the breadth of the Commonwealth will accompany Charles and Camilla to and from Westminster Abbey – where the coronation service will take place on May 6. Later in the day, military personnel will conduct a six-minute flypast of more than 60 aircraft from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force – flying over The Mall in central London.

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In all corners of the Union – including at firing stations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – gun salutes will take place to herald the moment the King is crowned.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he is “incredibly proud of our brilliant military personnel”, adding: “As they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Commonwealth friends and allies, I know the hard work of thousands of our servicemen and women during the past weeks and months will culminate in an incredible display that will amaze crowds at home and across the world.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace noted the operation will be “spectacular”, saying: “We can be enormously proud of the professionalism and precision of our armed forces as they honour His Majesty, their new commander-in-chief. From the procession on The Mall, to the flypast over London, with gun salutes at sea and across the country, it will be a spectacular and fitting tribute and a privilege to take part in for all those involved and watching from afar.”

How many gun salutes will be fired?

Gun salutes will herald the moment King Charles III is crowned. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesGun salutes will herald the moment King Charles III is crowned. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Gun salutes will herald the moment King Charles III is crowned. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Gun salutes will take place in all corners of the Union - including in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Featuring more than 400 personnel, across 13 locations and deployed Royal Navy ships, 21 rounds will fire to mark the coronation with the exception of the Tower of London and Horse Guards Parade, where a 62-round salute and a six-gun salvo will fire respectively.

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The Tower of London fires 62 rounds to mark royal occasions. The basic salute is 21 rounds, but in Hyde Park an extra 20 rounds are fired due to being a Royal Park.

When will the guns be fired?

The gun salutes will take place following the crowning of the king. The coronation will begin at 11am on Saturday, 6 May and it is expected Charles will be crowned at approximately 12pm (noon).

Troops from 35 Commonwealth nations will parade

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the Defence Staff, said: “The contribution of the armed forces to the coronation symbolises unyielding service to King and country. It reflects centuries of tradition, but is indicative of the integral role the armed forces play in modern Britain and the extraordinary ways we support the nation, whether deterring aggression and maintaining stability worldwide or strengthening our domestic resilience and prosperity.

“The soldiers, sailors and aviators participating in the coronation are privileged to be part of this historic ceremony and all it represents. Thousands more servicemen and women will be watching at home and overseas, and are justly proud to wear the King’s Uniform on this special day.”

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