King Charles will be adorned in regal robes, golden priest-like vestments worn by his ancestors and simple white garments for his moment of crowning this weekend.
He will undergo an assortment of wardrobe changes during the coronation ceremony on Saturday (6 May), arriving first in the crimson Robe of State, which was made for his grandfather George VI’s coronation in 1937.
For the investiture, during which the crowning takes place, Charles will be given a long shimmering gold-sleeved coat to wear called the Supertunica, created for his great-grandfather George V in 1911, and worn at successive coronations including by Elizabeth II. The Supertunica, also known as the Close Pall of Cloth of Gold, weighs around 2kg and is embroidered with stylised arabesques and floral motifs.
The floor-length cloak known as the Imperial Mantle - or Robe Royal - will be placed on top of this, which was originally made for the King’s extravagant ancestor George IV in 1821. Heir to the throne the Prince of Wales will play a role in the service by entering the coronation theatre to assist with placing the robe on his father, which weighs around 3-4kg.
Charles will be crowned with the historic St Edward’s Crown – the same one his mother, Queen Elizabeth, was crowned with, which will add an extra 2.23kg to the King’s load after his crowning.
The vestments and the Crown Jewels have are usually kept in the Tower of London and form part of the coronation regalia. Charles will be crowned with the historic St Edward’s Crown – the same one his mother, Queen Elizabeth, was crowned with.
Here’s what you need to know about the crown and what will happen to it under King Charles’ reign.
What crown will King Charles wear?
The throne immediately passed to the Queen’s eldest son Charles after her death and he will formally be crowned king at a coronation ceremony on Saturday 6 May. During the coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury will place the St Edward’s crown on the head of King Charles.
The St Edward’s Crown is used at the moment of coronation and weighs 2.23kg (nearly 5lb), making it the heaviest crown in the Crown Jewels. It is the same crown that was formerly worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953. Named after Saint Edward the Confessor, versions of the crown have traditionally been used to crown British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century.
The crown has a solid gold frame and stands at 30 centimetres tall. It is set with tourmalines, white and yellow topazes, rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, peridot, zircons, spinel and aquamarines, step-cut and rose-cut and mounted in enamelled gold collets, and has a purple velvet cap with an ermine band.
It was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 and was a replacement for the medieval crown, which was melted down on the orders of Oliver Cromwell in 1649 after the execution of Charles I. The original was thought to date back to the 11th-century royal saint, Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
Although it is not an exact replica of the medieval design, it follows the original in having four crosses pattee, four fleurs-de-lis and two arches. It is also the crown that appears in the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, the Royal Mail logo and in badges of the armed forces.
After 1689 it was not used to crown a monarch for more than 200 years, but the tradition was revived in 1911 by George V, and all subsequent monarchs - except Edward VIII - have been crowned using St Edward’s Crown.
When it is not in use, St Edward’s Crown resides in the Crown Jewels collection which is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
Charles will also be presented with the coronation ring, nicknamed the wedding ring of England, which is placed on the fourth finger of the monarch’s right hand, plus a sceptre dating to 1661.
The ring, which has been used since 1831, is a symbolic sapphire ring with baguette-cut rubies in the form of a cross over the face, representing the cross of St George and the Scottish flag.
Will the crown be resized for King Charles?
Under a top secret operation, the crown was briefly removed from the Tower of London to be resized to fit the King’s head. In 2018, the Queen revealed that she had the St Edward’s Crown resized for her own coronation.
Replica crowns have been used for dry runs of the coronation ceremony which will be “jaw-dropping”, the Dean of Westminster has said.
The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle said rehearsals for the big day have gone well and Charles was not at all anxious about the momentous occasion, instead remaining “relaxed and very gracious” despite the “huge burden” ahead of him,.
The dean, speaking at Westminster Abbey ahead of the 6 May ceremony, told Sky News: “The King was relaxed and very gracious. He took time to thank all the people around him who are making this happen. So whilst he has a huge burden on him, there’s a lot for him to do, he doesn’t give the sense of being a man who’s really anxious about this, not at all.”