Coronation of King Charles III: Augusta University professor talks about what to expect

Coronation of King Charles III: Augusta University professor talks about what to expect

May 1, 20232 min read

Eyes from around the world will be on Westminster Abbey in London this weekend as King Charles III is crowned king following the passing his mother Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022.

As you might expect, there will be plenty of pageantry involved with the ceremony.

Ruth McClelland-Nugent, PhD, is chair of History, Anthropology and Philosophy at Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Augusta University and an expert on the royal family.

McClelland-Nugent said this is a major day for those in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent, some parts of the Commonwealth "where the British monarch is still monarch, such as Charles will become king of Canada as well as the U.K."

The coronation is a religious service of the Church of England, so there will be a number of traditions upheld, such as anointing of the king with blessed oil, and by the end of the ceremony, Charles will have officially received his crown and his scepter, as well as the traditional robes and stole that mark him as king. The crown and the orb that will be used during the coronation date back to 1661 for King Charles II. New crowns were needed after the Puritans melted the old ones down during the English Civil Wars. 

“These are very traditional things, and reinforce the ancient idea that the monarch is selected by God to have authority over people,” said McClelland-Nugent. "However, for the first time, there will be participation from clergy of other faiths as well, since the king has invited clergy from the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist faiths to participate, reflecting the great religious diversity in the U.K.”

She also said those watching the coronation, in-person or virtually, will be invited to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch, giving the entire country a role in the ceremony for the first time.

“It will probably feel very formal and ancient to any Americans who watch it, and it is, but it will be the most informal and diverse coronation in recent British history,” McClelland-Nugent said.

Others in the royal family will also play roles in the ceremony. Queen Camilla will be crowned alongside Charles. Princess Anne, Charles' sister, will lead a procession of armed forces and other personnel behind the new king and queen when they leave Westminster Abbey.

“Look for her to be on horseback. This is a highly prestigious role and not one carried out by a woman previously.”

McClelland-Nugent said Prince William, Prince of Wales, who is now heir to the crown, will make an oath of loyalty directly to the newly crowned king.

Some of the king’s grandchildren and queen’s grandchildren will also serve roles during the coronation.

If you're a reporter covering the coronation and all the events leading up to it this week, then let our experts help with your stories. Ruth McClelland-Nugent is available for interviews; simply click on her icon now to arrange a time to talk today.

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  • Ruth McClelland-Nugent, PhD
    Ruth McClelland-Nugent, PhD Chair History, Anthropology & Philosophy

    Dr. Ruth McClelland-Nugent focuses on gender and politics in popular culture. Fields in US, Canadian, and British history.

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