Pomp and pageantry: language for the coronation of King Charles III

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Close-up photograph of silver, crown-shaped confetti on a red, white and blue Union Flag
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by Liz Walter

On Saturday, 6 May, the UK will see its first coronation (ceremony to make someone king or queen) since 1953, when Queen Elizabeth began her extraordinarily long reign (the time she was queen). This post looks at some of the vocabulary connected with that event.

The UK is a monarchy (a country with a king or queen). The king or queen is known as the monarch or the sovereign. The family of the monarch is known as the royal family.

The position of monarch is hereditary, which means that it is passed down through the family. Until recently, this would usually be the eldest son, but the law has now changed so that an eldest daughter would have the same rights. Currently, Prince William, the elder son of King Charles, is first in line to the throne (Prince William would become king if Charles died) and his son George is second in line to the throne.

King Charles’ coronation is a state occasion, which means that important members of the government and the royal family will attend, and that it will be paid for by the British government. Charles is also king of 14 other Commonwealth countries (countries still under British rule), so their leaders, as well as many other heads of state (leaders of countries) will also attend.

The ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey and will be conducted (performed) by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Although King Charles has asked for a smaller ceremony than Queen Elizabeth had, it will still be an extremely grand event with plenty of pomp and pageantry (impressive and colourful parts of a ceremony). For instance, he will travel back to Buckingham Palace in the amazingly spectacular gold royal horse-drawn carriage, pulled by eight horses.

Although Charles acceded to the throne (became king) at the moment of his mother’s death, the coronation is an important symbolic ceremony, and also marks his new role as head of the Church of England, famously founded by Henry VIII. Charles’ wife, Camilla, will also be crowned (have a crown put on her head) during the ceremony.

6 May will be a bank holiday in the United Kingdom, meaning that most people won’t have to go to work. This means that Charles’ subjects (the people he rules over) will be able to come to London to watch the processions (lines of people going to and from the Abbey) or watch at home as the ceremony is broadcast (shown on TV) all over the world. And of course those who wish to can also join in with his supporters as they shout ‘God save the King!’.

11 thoughts on “Pomp and pageantry: language for the coronation of King Charles III

  1. Amparo

    Very useful as usual!. Thanks a million! I will take C1 exam next week and I will use some of this words in writing part, sure.

      1. Сергій Черненко

        Yes. Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. But Nigeria is a federal presidential republic. So, King Charles III can’t be the head of this state.

  2. Anne Plazannet

    Thank you very much indeed. Hearing you read the text is a definite plus to improve the accent !

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