Camilla’s 5 major Coronation changes as new Queen shakes up tradition
Angela Levin brands Camilla’s son’s comments as ‘brilliant’
The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla will take place on Saturday, almost eight months after Charles ascended the throne.
They will be crowned at Westminster Abbey in a smaller and shorter ceremony than previous coronations, symbolising the King’s long-discussed desire to modernise the monarchy.
Although the historic and religious elements of the service will remain, changes have been made to reflect both the 21st-century couple and today’s contemporary society.
Up until last year, it was thought that Camilla would never be crowned as Queen Consort. On her and Charles’s wedding day, it was decided that she would be named Princess Consort upon her husband’s accession. But with the late Queen’s blessing, she took on the traditional title and, on May 6, she will be crowned Queen Camilla.
Her journey from the ‘Other Woman’ to Queen has spanned decades and, for the first time since their wedding, her and Charles’s modern romance will be on full display. Here, Express.co.uk looks at how Camilla’s crowning will compare to the Queen Consorts that came before her.
Camilla is set to have two Ladies in Attendance at Westminster Abbey on Saturday: Lady Lansdowne, a close friend and Queen’s Companion, and her sister Annabel Elliot. The rest of Camilla’s six companions will likely be in the congregation for the service.
Dissimilarly, the late Queen had six maids of honour at her coronation day in 1953, who donned glittering white gowns with gold tiaras and processed with the young monarch for her entry and exit at the Abbey. They later appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with the Royal Family to greet the cheering crowds gathered below.
Camilla ended the tradition of having ladies-in-waiting, instead opting to be aided by “Queen’s companions”.
The six women, some of whom are the Queen Consort’s longstanding friends, are less regularly in attendance than the previous role required, only helping the royal at public events rather than assisting with correspondence or administration.
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Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II had an unwavering support system made up of a tight-knit team of ladies-in-waiting, who were handpicked by Her Majesty and helped her with the day-to-day demands of being monarch.
The role of lady-in-waiting is one that is steeped with tradition and honour, typically given to women of noble and aristocratic backgrounds. Historically, they did not get paid, and given their wealthy backgrounds, they were able to take on the lifelong unpaid role. They were also unable to quit or retire from the position, therefore committing to serving the Queen for her lifetime.
Camilla’s doing away with the centuries-old tradition was understood to be an attempt to modernise the monarchy.
Royal historian Marlene Koenig previously suggested that the role is unnecessary in the 21st-century Royal Family. Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Is it needed anymore if you’re modernising the monarchy? Some of these historic roles have been around for 400-600 years, so is the purpose just symbolic?”
Camilla’s grandchildren are set to play a key role in the upcoming Coronation. Her grandsons Freddy Parker Bowles, 13, and twins Louis and Gus Lopes, also 13, will serve as Pages of Honour.
Both divorced, Charles and Camilla have embraced their roles as grandparents and step-grandparents. Between them, the King and Queen Consort have 10 grandchildren, several of whom are expected to attend the Coronation ceremony.
Charles is the first divorced man to be crowned as monarch, and his and Camilla’s blended family is set to be on full display this weekend.
The Queen’s grandchildren will join the King’s in having roles at the service. Prince George will lead the eight Pages of Honour who will carry the robes of the King and Queen.
“It sends a nice signal and is quite a bold move,” a royal source told The Sunday Times when the plan to incorporate them was revealed. “It is another example of the King and Queen Consort being unafraid to shake things up a bit to reflect the realities of modern life, of which a blended family is a central element.”
By contrast, however, royal commentator Kinsey Schofield argued Camilla “swaying too far” from royal traditions could cause “anger and disappointment”.
She told the Daily Star: “I can’t help but ask myself after reading Spare if much of the hype surrounding Harry and Meghan’s ‘will they/won’t they’ Coronation plans is a buffer to distract from stories like dropping the word consort or including Camilla’s grandchildren… but not all of the King’s.
“The Royal Family’s value is in their traditions. Traditions and ceremonies that the world envies. When they sway too far from those customs, you will anger and disappoint a significant amount of people that feel like those actions strip away at the mystique.”
It was previously reported that Camilla also requested her granddaughters Lola and Eliza, both 15, Freddy, Louis and Gus hold the canopy over her as she is anointed with holy oil. However, it is now understood that the Queen Consort will be anointed in full public view.
In a break of tradition, Camilla is set to be consecrated with holy oil without being hidden under a canopy, standing in contrast to the late Queen Mother’s Coronation, which marked the last time a Queen Consort was crowned.
Buckingham Palace described the change as “just one of a number of ways in which the service has been adapted, evolved, simplified without losing any of its magic and majesty”.
The King, as is custom, will be shielded during his sacred anointing.
Lambeth Palace, which is the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the uncovered anointing symbolises Camilla’s role as a consort rather than a reigning monarch.
“The only distinction this time is that there won’t be anything that will obscure the view,” the Lambeth Palace spokesman said: “The only distinction this time is that there won’t be anything that will obscure the view.”
Comparing Camilla’s anointing to that of the King, the Palace said: “This anointing will happen without a screen or canopy to demonstrate the different nature of anointing a consort compared to a reigning Sovereign, as this anointing is at the permission of the Sovereign.”
Questions over Coronation Regalia
Immediately after Charles’s accession to the throne, questions were raised about the Coronation jewels and regalia, some of which are shrouded in controversy.
In 1937, at the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Consort was presented with the Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross and the Queen Consort’s Ivory Rod with Dove.
On Saturday, Camilla will only touch the sceptre and rod, rather than holding them like the Queen Mother.
Formed from an ivory rod, the Rod with Dove has been deemed a controversial component of the Coronation Regalia. It was first used in 1685 when Mary of Modena, the second wife of King James II and VII, was crowned as Queen Consort.
As the first Queen Consort to be coronated since the Restoration of the monarchy, Mary required a new set of regalia. The commission included this Consort’s Rod with Dove, which has been used by every subsequent Queen Consort.
The ivory rod is topped by a gold monde, enamelled with the national emblems (the English rose, Scottish thistle, Irish harp and fleur-de-lis, a symbol of royalty and acknowledgement of England’s contested right to the French throne), with a cross above on which perches an enamelled, white dove with its wings folded.
Buckingham Palace has confirmed Camilla will acknowledge the historic items by touching them, a decision reportedly driven by both her husband and stepson’s passionate environmental advocacy.
Prince William has long campaigned to stop the illegal trafficking of animal parts, like rhino horn and elephant ivory, through his umbrella organisation United for Wildlife.
Camilla chose to use Queen Mary’s Crown for her Coronation, marking the first instance in modern times of an existing crown being used for a Queen Consort’s crowning ceremony. Camilla will be the first Consort to wear a reused crown since the 18th century.
Ahead of the Coronation, minor changes and additions to the crown were being undertaken, such as the inclusion of the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds which were part of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s personal jewellery collection for many years.
They will replace the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond, which took pride of place at the front of Queen Mary’s crown for her coronation in 1911, and the replica which was added in 1937 when the original was moved to the Queen Mother’s crown for her and King George VI’s Coronation.
According to the Palace, “minor changes and additions will be undertaken by the Crown Jeweller” in order to insert jewels that are “unique to the occasion and reflects the consort’s individual style”.
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