Bizarre traditions to watch out for during King Charles III's coronation - and what they mean

From anointing oil to the lifting of the king and the kissing of hands there will be a lot of strange traditions during the coronation

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The coronation of King Charles is an event steeped in tradition.

The ceremony will draw from centuries of English and British history. It will involved special oil, a legendary stone and a lot more.

Charles III will be coronated at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May. He will be enthroned during a ceremony during which Camilla, Queen Consort will also be crowned.

The church has been the site of coronation for English and British monarchs since 1066, when William the Conqueror was crowned. It has been used for this purpose 39 times in the 900 plus year's since.

If you are tuning into watch the coronation, you can expect to witness a number of key but strange traditions as part of the ceremony. Here are some of the most bizarre and noticable:

The King's champion

Buckingham Palace has officially confirmed a Lincolnshire farmer will perform the ancient duty of acting as the King’s champion during the coronation. Francis Dymoke will not have to throw his gauntlet down and see if anyone accepts his challenge but instead will carry the Royal Standard during the Westminster Abbey ceremony.

The role of King's champion dates back to the days of William the Conqueror, when it was the duty of the champion to ride fully clad in armour into Westminster Hall during the coronation banquet. The role was to defend the monarch's honour and duel any person who challenged the monarch's right to the throne.

Knights of the Bath

In the past it was customary for the monarch to spend two nights staying the Tower of London prior to the coronation. One of the ceremonies that would take place involved the Knights of the Bath.

It was a ceremony in which a chosen group of squires were ritually bathed, to symbolise spiritual purification. They would then spend the night in prayer and next day were knighted by the monarch before escorting the soverign to the coronation from the Tower.

The Stone of Destiny

Under the coronation chair, which Charles will be seated in for most of the ceremony, will be the Stone of Destiny. The historic object has returned to London for the first time since 1996, when it was returned to its ancestral home of Scotland.

Dating back centuries, the stone was part of the coronation of Scottish king's before it was taken down to England and used for the crowning of English/ British monarchs. According to legend it was the stone used by Jacob as a pillow in Bethel and made its way to Scotland via Egypt and Ireland.

An anthem might sound familiar

During the coronation plenty of music will be performed - including new work by Andrew Lloyd Webber - but one of the key pieces of music will be Zadok the Priest. It is one of Handel's coronation anthems, which were originally composed for the coronation of King George II in 1727.

However the work might be more familar to modern audiences as the basis for the Champions League anthem. It was rearranged by Tony Britten in 1992.

The anointing

The anointment of the monarch is one of the most sacred parts of the ceremony. King Charles will be behind a screen, hidden from public view during the anointing. It will signal that he has been chosen by God to be king.

Only the Archbishop and the soverign will see the ceremony. However in a break from tradition, the Queen Consort Camilla will be anointed in full view.

Anointing oil used to have a very different reciepe

The oil used for the ceremony will be different than for past monarchs. It will be done with olive oil harvested in Jerusalem it will feature perfumed sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin, amber oil and orange blossoms. It was blessed by Greek Orthodox and Anglican priests in the Holy Sepulcre.

His mother Elizabeth II and previous monarchs such as his grandfather George VI were anointed using an oil which feature whale puke - known as ambergris. It also used to feature civet oil which was taken from secretions from the rear end of a civet - a type of nocturnal mammal.

Lifting of the King

For the coronation, Charles will be sat in the historic coronation chair. It will be in this seat that he will swear the oath and be crowned.

Following the crowning, the King will make his way towards the throne but he will not sit down himself. Charles III will be lifted into the throne by a congregation including the archbishops.

The kissing of the hand

One of the last acts of the coronation involves the "kissing of the hand". It is an old tradition in which Archbishop, royal blood princes and peers will kiss the new monarch's hand.

It is part of a process of swearing allegence to the king.