What to Wear to a Coronation!

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The first televised coronation was that of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.

For all you royalists out there, Britain is abuzz with excitement surrounding the upcoming coronation of King Charles III and his Queen Consort Camilla, set to take place on Saturday, May 6th at Westminster Abbey. Known as Operation Golden Orb, it is the first coronation to be celebrated since Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.

What with all of the Royal Family’s high drama in recent memory, we are expecting this historical and heralded event to embody the spirit of The Crown’s place in the world. “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in long standing traditions and pageantry,” so states the palace.

St. Edward’s Crown to be worn by King Charles III. It was made for Charles II in 1661 as a replacement for the medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649.

On the morning of May 6th, The King’s Procession will depart Buckingham Palace and proceed down The Mall, pass through Admiralty Arch and proceed through Parliament Square to arrive at the Sanctuary of Westminster Abbey.

Their Majesties will be riding in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

On their return from Westminster Abbey, The King and Queen Consort will travel in the Gold State Coach, commissioned in 1760 and rolled out at every Coronation since William IV in 1831. It was last seen in June 2022 during the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. Weighing in at four tons, the eight Windsor Greys will be driven at a walking pace.

The Gold State Coach is the third oldest surviving coach in the UK. The coach was used at the State Openings of Parliament, by George III, George IV and William IV. Queen Victoria, however, was not fond of the coach.

King Charles is putting his own personal style on the ceremony with the decision to tone down the dress codes. He is recommending business attire for guests and peers rather than royal robes adorned with trains of ermine trimmed velvet and other fabulously flamboyant fabrics that have been worn in Coronations since King George’s ceremony in 1727.

Part of an engraving of George II’s coronation procession, artist unknown, reproduced in Parliament Past and Present by A. Wright and P. Smith (London, 1902). 9502.dd.2.

It is thought that he will forgo the breeches and silk stocking of the past to be crowned in his military uniform. This is all in line with his vision of an efficient pared down Monarchy.

So, who is Queen, anyway? A Queen or Queen Regnant is a reigning monarch, equal to a King. A Queen Consort is the wife of the King, a Queen Dowager is the widow of the King, and the Queen Mother is the mother of the King or Queen.  If a child inherits the throne his mum will be the Queen Regent until coming of age.

The official souvenir programme celebrating the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

For what to wear to a coronation, the cue came directly from the Queen Consort Camilla in the recent official photograph.  We went shopping at some of the best iconic London shops, including Harrods, Selfriges, and Harvey Nicols where the racks are stocked and ready to reign.

Emilia Wickstead Print Faille $1550 / DVF Floral Wrap $527 / Emilia Wickstead Print Faille $1850

“Royal Blue” seems just the shade to wear to this celebratory yet historic event.  Two takes on the same shade; one more demure, the other with its wrap style and platform pumps — just a tad more cheeky.  For the hats and fascinators, we went to Viviene Sheriff, a noted British Milliner who has designed for The Family.

The purses are none other than Launer, the late Queen’s go-to bag — the one with which she sent signals that it was time to go!  And the elegant jewelry is from Kiki McDonough, one of the HRH Duchess of Cambridge’s preferred brands.  The gloves are by Cornelia Jones, glove makers since 1946 and by Royal Appointment since 1978 and known for their timeless style.  The ensembles are simple, elegant and stylish.

Dresses:  Gauge81 Puno Silk And Satin  $495  /  Victoria Beckhaml Woven Midi  $1050 headwear: Vivien Sheriff Wave Roya Hatl  £995  / Vivien Sheriff Elderflower Hat £785 / Accessories:  Kiki McDonough Diamonds Earrings  £4900  /  Kiki McDonough Maya Earrings In Yellow  £1500  /  Cornelia Jones Isla Cotton  Gloves  $184  /  Cornelia Jones Cotton  Gloves  $184  /  Launder London Capri Blue Bag  $2705   /  Launder London Ebony  Bag  $1265   Shoes: Aquazzura  Platform Pumps  $755  /   Magda Butrym Lace Up Satin Pumps  $850

Camilla’s coronation dress will not be revealed until the celebrated day but there is speculation that it will also be less lavish and more modern than in the past.

Queen Mary’s Crown to be worn by Queen Consort Camilla.

The Palace announced that the Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex will be attending the ceremony, while Meghan, Duchess of Sussex will be home celebrating Archie’s 4th birthday. Her photo, however, will be published in the Coronation’s royal programme.

By the way, for all of our Princess Brides out there, Kiki McDonough has designed a modern day tiara just for you.

Hilary picks a bountiful bouquet.

“I love everything to do with the British Monarchy. I woke up in the wee hours to watch the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles and was glued to the television during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. The coronation is no exception. I am actually joining close friends and avid royal watchers in what we are calling a Coronation Vacation, and will watch from Jamaica. Floral dresses seem appropriate for the occasion. I think of the beautiful English Rose and chose pieces that evoked that idea. Paired with a smart head piece and neutral pumps you will be ready for this momentous day.”

Dresses:   Ted Baker Marquis Paisley Print Midi  $240   /  Me And Em Floral Print Cotton Mini  $310   /  Erdem Victoria Silk Midi  $1560  /  Emilia Wickstead Tokyo Belted Cutout Floral  $2915   Accessories:  Eirene Feather Fascinator  $104  /  Cornelia James Suade Cotton Leather Trim Gloves  $286  Shoes:  Valentino Garavani Tiptoe Pumps  $785  /  Valentino Garavani Rockstud  $730

King Charles III is also simplifying the ancient ceremony to achieve a manageable time frame at just over an hour. The Coronation takes place in six steps, all steeped in history dating back centuries.

The Recognition is when the Monarch is presented to the people.

The Orb is a representation of the sovereign’s power. During the coronation service, the Orb is placed in the right hand of the monarch as they are invested with the symbols of sovereignty.

The Oath, with King Charles III pledging to reign and maintain the Church of England.

During The Anointing, the most sacred part of the ceremony, The King, under a silk canopy, will receive the Holy Oil in the sign of the cross on his head, hands and chest.

The Investiture includes the crowning and King Charles will be presenting with Regalia, including the Sovereign’s Orbs, Golden Spurs, Sovereign’s Scepters, Sovereign’s Ring and various ancient, symbolic swords and a highly decorated pair of armils.

The Enthronement begins with a blessing and then The King ascends to his throne.

In the last part of the ceremony, The Homage, royals and senior peers show their respect by kneeling before His Royal Highness.

The Coronation rings.

The official emblem was created by internationally renowned designer Sir Jony Ive KBE and his creative collective, LoveFrom (Ive was formerly the Chief Design Officer at Apple).

According to Ive, “It is such an honour to be able to contribute to this remarkable national occasion, and our team is so very proud of this work. The design was inspired by King Charles’ love of the planet, nature, and his deep concern for the natural world.”

The colors of the design are taken from the union flag and contains symbols of the four nations of the United Kingdom — England, the rose; Scotland, the thistle; the daffodils of Wales; and the shamrock of Ireland. Together they create the shape of St Edward’s Crown which His Majesty will wear at the coronation.

The celebration continues on Sunday as communities throughout the Kingdom gather with friends at The Big Coronation Lunch. We found these easy breezy frocks just the thing to wear now and right through summer.

Dresses: Hayley Menzies Boucle Midi $365  /   Tresse Paris Halter $521  /  DVF Floral Wrap $614  /  Polo Ralph Lauren Red Floral $348Borgo de Nor Floral Sundress $620  / Rixo Red Midi Dress $260  / Shoes: Nodelto Sandals $635  /  Stuart Weitzman Espadrilles $410Hat: Maison Michel Fedora $619  / Shades: Rayban $165

The King has declared Monday a National Holiday and encourages citizens to participate in The Big Help Out. It is a volunteer initiative throughout the United Kingdom to engage in community service.  It seems a fitting end to the celebration of King Charles III who has dedicated his life to the service of his country.

God Save the King!

Photos provided by Shutterstock and the Official Royal Website, where you can find more in depth information on the Coronation.

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