Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
OK, so Shakespeare wasn’t referring to a modern-day king when he wrote that line for his play Henry IV, but there’s no denying that — a mere seven months into his reign — King Charles’ short tenure as the British monarch has already been marred by family drama and a distinct lack of celebrity support (he’s no doubt still feeling the sting from multiple reports stating that a handful of A-listers have already turned down the opportunity to perform at his coronation).
Despite this, the coronation weekend itself will still be a moment for the history books. As more details slowly start to trickle out from behind palace walls, royal watchers are keeping their eyes peeled for how Charles will choose to mark his accession — will he stick with tradition or try to leave his own mark?
We break down the who’s, where’s and what’s of the upcoming royal event.
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When and where will King Charles’ coronation take place?
The televised ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday, May 6. The ancient religious site has seen a plethora of historic moments in British history, including the September 2022 funeral for Charles’ predecessor (and Mum), Queen Elizabeth II.
Beyond the coronation itself, a special concert will be broadcast live the following day on May 7 at Windsor Castle. (More on that in a minute.) However, an exact start time hasn’t been given yet for either event, so stay tuned!
“Some matters have been dribbled out, but we still await news about the processions to and from the abbey, the nature of the procession within the abbey and — above all — the order of service, for what’s in and what’s out,” Bob Morris, a member of the honorary staff of the constitution unit at University College London, informed the CBC via email.
Who will be performing at King Charles’ coronation concert?
Maybe no one? This is where things get a little awkward. As you’ve probably already heard from various news outlets, a handful of A-listers have turned down the opportunity to perform at the Coronation Concert. This includes Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Adele, the Spice Girls, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue.
All or most of these artists have cited “scheduling conflicts” as the reason; however, many royal watchers are speculating as to whether or not that’s actually true. With regards to John, it should come as no surprise: after all, the multi-Grammy winner was BFFs with Charles’ ex-wife, Princess Diana (he even performed “Candle in the Wind” at her 1997 funeral).
As Simon Jones, a publicist for Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Little Mix, told Rolling Stone, “The royal family has faced a number of PR disasters in recent times, and anyone performing at the show would have to consider whether there would be a backlash from appearing amongst their fans.”
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Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle be at King Charles’ coronation?
More than anything else, this seems to be the big question on everyone’s lips. The short answer, as revealed on April 12 is: yes. That being said, it’s reported that Harry will be attending without Meghan.
The official statement read: “Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on May 6th. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
The coronation date falls on Harry and Meghan’s son Archie’s fourth birthday, which could have been part of Meghan’s decision to stay behind. But what if — hear me out — Charles chose May 6 on purpose, thus forcing Meghan to decline the invitation so she could spend the day with her son? It seems strange that Charles would choose the date of his coronation to be on the same day as his grandson’s birthday — unless the monarchs game all along was to get Meghan to politely bow out of attending his crowning ceremony. Interesting, yeah?
Back in January, the Harry had told ITV interviewer Tom Bradby that he was still unsure he’d be there in person for his father’s big day. “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then. But, you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court.”
What role will the royal grandchildren play in the coronation?
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three kids will play a prominent role in their grandfather’s coronation weekend. According to reports, Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, five, are set to follow behind the royal procession led by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla following the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
In April it was announced that George, the second in line to the throne, would also play a larger role in the historic ceremony: that of a page. (Charles and Camilla will be attended by four Pages of Honour during the coronation.) The position dates back to medieval times when a young boy would act as an attendant to a person of high rank.
“His parents are very excited and delighted that he is a page,” a spokesperson for William and Kate told PEOPLE. “It’s something that his parents have thought long and hard about and are very much looking forward to — and I’m sure George is, too.”
What role will Canada play in King Charles’ coronation?
According to the prime minister’s website, Canada will hold a special ceremony in Ottawa the same weekend as the king’s coronation. More details, including who will be in attendance and what events will take place, will come out in the coming days and weeks. “His Majesty has a long history and a special relationship with Canada, and we look forward to celebrating his Coronation in May,” Trudeau wrote.
In March, a poll conducted by research firm Leger said that Canadians are largely uninterested in Charles and his ascension to the throne. Sixty-seven per cent of those polled said they were indifferent to the news, while only 12 per cent said they found the news that Charles was now king to be good news. Another 14 per cent said it was bad news.