What happens when Charles is crowned King? What is Operation Golden Orb and ‘slim down’ coronation explained

Operation Golden Orb is underway as London prepares to hold the coronation of King Charles III

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King Charles is preparing to be sworn in as monarch in a grand ceremony in London this Saturday.

The soon-to-be official head of state's coronation will take place on 6 May, with a huge operation in the capital to support the event.

Here’s everything we know so far about the ceremony.

Operation Golden Orb refers to the plan to organise King Charles III’s coronation. (Credit: Getty Images)Operation Golden Orb refers to the plan to organise King Charles III’s coronation. (Credit: Getty Images)
Operation Golden Orb refers to the plan to organise King Charles III’s coronation. (Credit: Getty Images)

What will happen at Charles III’s coronation?

The coronation ceremony is set to take place on Saturday 6 May 2023. It will mark the first time a coronation has been held at the weekend.

In every coronation ceremony, there are six stages; the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture including the Crowning, the enthronement and the homage. Although the process can be lengthy, reports suggest that there are plans to cut the length of the ceremony from over three hour to around one hour for King Charles III.

The palace has said that more plans will be announced in the next few months. However what he do know is that Charles will be anointed with holy oil, and will also receive the orb, coronation ring and sceptre, be crowned with the St Edward’s Crown and blessed.

Buckingham Palace also said that the ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey and will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. An Anglican ceremony will take place, but the traditional coronation ceremony will be updated to reflect the multi-faiths of the United Kingdom.

What is Operation Golden Orb?

Operation Golden Orb refer to the plans in place for King Charles III’s coronation. The name follows a line of other ‘operations’ in reference to the Royal Family.

For example, the death of the Queen was referred to for years by ‘Operation London Bridge’. Come her death however, ‘Operation Unicorn’ was followed as she died at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

‘Unicorn’ was chosen to represent the plans if she died in Scotland as it referenced the country’s national animal. Likewise, ‘Golden Orb’ refers to the orb King Charles III will hold during the coronation ceremony.

The Met Police has called Golden Orb a "major operation", with Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan adding: “We want Londoners and visitors coming to the city to enjoy this historic and momentous occasion safely and securely.

“On Coronation Day we will have the largest one day mobilisation of officers seen in decades with just over 11,500 officers on duty. The weekend promises to be a spectacular celebration and the Met Police is honoured to be policing such an internationally important event across the capital.

“We have been planning for this occasion for some time; the Met has a long history of policing such events and we will draw upon our diverse expertise from across our organisation, using officers and specialist units to keep people safe and tackle any arising issues."

There has been heightened security around the prospect of protesters at the event. It comes after high profile stunts by environmental groups such as Just Stop Oil has halted major events, and royals were targeted during the mourning tour following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Mr Adelekan said: “Our priority is around safety and security for everyone that’s going to come to this event, and we want to make sure that everyone enjoys it. We have an extremely low threshold for anybody or anything that will disrupt this event and what you will see is very swift action from us.”

Will Charles III’s coronation be ‘slimmed down’?

As previously mentioned the normal coronation ceremony can last around three hours. The Royal Family hopes to modernise the process by shortening the ceremony to a little over an hour.

Additionally, reports previously suggested that Charles III’s coronation could be “slimmed down” in light of the current cost of living crisis. His mother’s coronation in 1952 saw 8,000 people gather in the congregation to watch, while Charles is likely to have only 2,000. The guest list has not yet been confirmed.

Rumours suggest that the dress attire may also be relaxed. For example, peers from the House of Lords are said to be likely to be allowed to wear lounge suits, instead of their traditional garb. Previous ceremonies have seen those in this position forced to wear their traditional robes.

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