Thousands of people are expected to line the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of King Charles III as he travels between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey before and after his coronation on 6 May.
Soldiers and royal footmen, marching bands and ornate coaches, magnificent horses and an Irish wolfhound called Seamus will all be taking part in the UK military’s largest ceremonial operation for 70 years – and it will all end with a spectacular fly-past. Here is what to look out for.
King’s Procession to the Westminster Abbey
The day will begin at 10:20 BST with the relatively modest King’s Procession – the first of two processions on Saturday – in which the King and Queen Consort Camilla will travel from Buckingham Palace to the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey.
They will travel in the horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee State Coach, created in 2012 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne.
The coach, accompanied by the Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, will head down The Mall to Trafalgar Square, then along Whitehall and Parliament Street before turning into Parliament Square and Broad Sanctuary.
The 1.42-mile route will be flanked by 1,000 members of the military from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
Almost 4,000 armed forces veterans and NHS and social care workers have been invited to watch from specially built grandstands in front of Buckingham Palace.
The 200-strong procession is expected to arrive at the abbey at 11:00 for the service.
How to follow events live
The service and both processions will be broadcast online, on TV and radio but you can also follow events on big screens in London’s Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and sites around the country.
If you are planning to watch the processions up close along The Mall and Whitehall, viewing areas will be open from 06:00 on Saturday 6 May and are expected to get very busy. The big screen areas in Hyde Park open at 05:00.
Gun salutes mark crowning
About halfway through the two-hour coronation ceremony, gun salutes involving 400 personnel will mark the moment St Edward’s Crown is placed on the King’s head.
Twenty-one rounds will be fired at 11 locations around the UK – including Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – and on Royal Navy ships at sea.
And in London, a 62-round salute will fire at the Tower of London, along with a six-gun salvo on Horse Guards Parade.
Coronation Procession to Buckingham Palace
After the ceremony, in the second procession of the day, the King and Queen Consort will travel back to the palace in the ornate Gold State Coach as part of the Coronation Procession – a much larger ceremonial display than the morning’s procession.
At the head of the procession will be Brigade Major Lieutenant Colonel James Shaw riding Sovereign’s Shadow, about a mile in front of the coach.
The Gold State Coach, which is covered in gold leaf and carved decorations, was first used by King George III to travel to the State Opening of Parliament in 1762 and has been used at every coronation in the last 200 years.
The panels feature Roman gods, and sculptures of cherubs and tritons ride on the roof and over the wheels.
Queen Elizabeth II, who used the coach for her coronation as well as jubilee celebrations, said it might look luxurious but it was a horrible, uncomfortable ride because of the lack of suspension.
It weighs four tonnes and is pulled at walking pace by eight grey horses, with a mounted rider or postilion for each pair.
Alongside the coach, walk eight grooms, six footmen and four Yeomen of the Guard.
Also present will be members of the Royal Watermen, who traditionally rowed the Royal Barges up and down the River Thames between the royal palaces, but now have ceremonial duties.
Reports suggest the Prince of Wales’ three children, princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte, will be in a carriage with their parents behind the Gold State Coach.
And more than 4,000 members of the armed forces from the UK and across the Commonwealth, 19 bands and flag-bearers will join them.
Among those taking part will be members of the Blues and Royals and Life Guards of the Household Cavalry, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Irish Guards with their mascot Seamus, the Irish wolfhound.
The Ministry of Defence says Saturday’s event will be the largest military procession in London since more than 16,000 people took part in Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation procession in 1953.
Some soldiers involved have returned to represent their regiments from operational duties or training exercises abroad, in places like Cyprus, Iraq, Kenya and Estonia.
And the Royal British Legion is providing a 100-strong guard of honour to line the procession route in Parliament Square.
The standard-bearers will represent the legion and seven other associated armed forces charities: the Royal Naval Association; Royal Marines Association; Army Benevolent Fund; Air Forces Association; Royal Commonwealth and Ex Services League; Merchant Navy Association; and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.
The procession will leave the abbey and travel along Whitehall, past the statue of King Charles I at Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and up The Mall to the palace.
The coach is expected to make the 1.42 mile journey in about 30 minutes.
Once the procession has passed, members of the public will be allowed to move up The Mall to fill the area around the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace.
The marching bands will keep a beat of 108 paces a minute, which is slightly slower than a standard quick march of 116 paces a minute, because of the speed of the heavy Gold State Coach.
The personnel on parade will also have to negotiate a tricky drill manoeuvre after marching down The Mall 12 abreast to pass through the gates of Buckingham Palace six abreast, without dropping their pace.
Royal Salute and three cheers
In a coronation first, all those marching will form up in the palace gardens where they will give a Royal Salute and three cheers to the King and Queen Consort.
The King and other members of the Royal Family will then proceed to the front balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the public crowds assembled in The Mall.
They will then move to the palace balcony, with other family members for a fly-past at about 14:30 BST.
The six-minute fly-past will include more than 60 aircraft from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Among the aircraft on display will be helicopters, Spitfires, the new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, F-35B Lightning II jets, the new Envoy IV CC1 and transport aircraft.
They will be followed by the Red Arrows display team.
If you are not in London, you might catch a glimpse of some of the aircraft as they approach from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex – or after the fly-past as they disperse over Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
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