The people of the United Kingdom are witnessing something that hasn’t been seen in 86 years: the coronation of a new King. The date is set, and the plans are in motion to prepare for all the historic, extravagant, and strange traditions required of a royal coronation. Experts have taken a look at the symbolism behind everything we know about the special event — from the crown King Charles will wear to the very poignant and potentially controversial date chosen for the coronation.
Heavy Is the Head
There are a whole host of plans in place for Charles right now. Now, although a monarch of the United Kingdom doesn’t actually require a coronation to be considered the rightful ruler, eyebrows would definitely be raised if there weren’t one at all. Especially since said ceremony will be broadcast all around the world. But Charles might not actually want too much extravagance for his coronation. But why is that?
Britain is going through a tough time right now, and the new King is well aware of that. According to those in the know, he’s worried that having an overly ostentatious coronation might negatively impact his reputation.
A More “streamlined” Coronation
After all, no one wants to be the “let-them-eat-cake” royal! So, a few of the usual lavish traditions might be cut. This speculation has got royal fans wondering just what traditions those will be. And more importantly, what will the new King's coronation actually look like? Well, In October 2022, a month after Elizabeth II’s passing, royal editor Russell Myers shared his thoughts on the coronation possibilities on British television.
He told the ITV network, “King Charles apparently wants a very streamlined coronation, potentially to do with the cost-of-living crisis.” And there was one point in particular that Myers knew would be vital.
The Splendor of Britain
Given the pomp and pageantry that's come to be associated with the British royal family, Myers noted that King Charles had a long way to go to win over his new subjects. “He’s very aware of the fact that a man prancing around in a jeweled crown is probably not the best look when everybody is struggling to pay their bills at the moment.” A very valid point, given the bleak financial situation in the U.K.
Myers also said that although Charles’ coronation would be “streamlined,” some grand royal trademarks, such as the golden State Carriage, could still make an appearance. And so the issue becomes clear along with the question on everybody's lips — just how pared back will the occasion be?
First Televised Coronation
If you ask Myers, then it's not a simple question to answer at all. He told presenter Lorraine Kelly, “Some people are saying that we can show off the splendor of Britain in one of these big majestic occasions. But I don’t know — it's a big debate, I think.” So in comparison to his mother's crowning ceremony, Charles runs the risk of going too far in the other direction. Especially given how showing off “the splendor of Britain” was irefutably something Elizabeth’s coronation did back in 1953.
Hers lasted nearly three hours, and those who watched it on TV would have seen the monarch wear no fewer than three extraordinary crowns: the George IV State Diadem, the St. Edward's Crown, and the Imperial State Crown.
She was also handed a symbolic orb of gold, jewels, and pearls. But what about Charles? Well, Charles may not want to end up “prancing around in a jeweled crown,” but he doesn’t actually have a lot of choice when it comes to the coronation regalia. Like his mother, he’ll almost certainly have to wear the St. Edward’s Crown, a 5-lb beauty of a headpiece that features 444 gems.
In fact, It’s already been removed from the Tower of London to get it ready for the new monarch. As well as the 444-gemmed piece, there's an even more symbolic item of headwear that's a non-negotiable for Charles.
And that non-negotiable piece that Charles must wear is the Imperial State Crown. The diamond-encrusted crown is arguably the one most associated with the late Elizabeth. Not only did she wear it at her coronation, but it was also placed on her coffin for her State Funeral. It’s one of the “newer” royal crowns, since it was only made in 1937 — but it truly is an utterly remarkable creation.
The crown itself is made of a gold frame, encrusted with 2868 diamonds, and is steeped in history. From the sapphire that's rumored to to have been smuggled by James II, to the legend of The Black Prince's Ruby, the crown atop Charles' head come coronation day will be heavy in more ways than one.
Also like Elizabeth, Charles' wardrobe on the day will be made up of a grand total of six robes — one for each stage of the coronation. The names of these, in order of appearance, are as follows: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture, the enthronement, and the homage. A couple of these robes will be historic pieces, but most of them will have been made especially for Charles.
Other items, of varying weirdness, may have to be made for the new King too. One of the best examples? A traditional food enjoyed by the royals at special events is the less-than-appetizing lamprey pie.
The lamprey pie is a delicacy that most people would probably rather avoid. The pastry is filled with the meat from an eel-like fish called a lamprey. And if you've never seen one, then count yourself lucky! Not only are they a parasitic species, but their suction-cup mouths are ringed with circular rows of razor-sharp teeth. Despite their blood-curdling appearance, they were a royally-regarded speciality in the United Kingdom for centuries.
So, as tradition dictated, these pies were provided at both the Queen’s 2012 and 2017 jubilees… though her reaction to them has sadly not been recorded. Charles will have more things to worry about at the coronation beyond weird pies, though.
King and Queen
For starters, his spouse will be crowned alongside him, something Elizabeth never had to deal with. Prince Philip was a male consort, so the rules were different: rather than getting a crown, he simply had to pledge to be “liege man of life and limb” to his wife. But Camilla will be Queen Consort, so she gets a crown as well. But which crown will that be?
Well, predictions indicate that there could be some controversy ahead there. Some royal experts have suggested that she might wear the Queen Mother’s Koh-i-Noor crown, named after a diamond with a very unpleasant backstory.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world, and once upon a time, it belonged to Queen Victoria. But if we look back, the famed diamond hasn't always been in the clutches of the British Royal family. In fact, it has a darkly complicated and bloody past that paints a worryingly grim portrait. The first mentions of the Koh-i-Noor's purportedly true origins popped up back in 1628.
Nestled inside the heart of a peacock, the jewel was the prominent focal point of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's throne. Queen Victoria, however, was given the diamond during the time of British colonial rule in India. Snd for a long time now, India has demanded its return.
“A stone that might have looked acceptable on the Queen Mother’s head in the Britain of 1937 would look utterly indefensible on Camilla’s, next May,” The Guardian wrote in October 2022. It’s hard to argue with that, but if Charles and Camilla really did want the Koh-i-Noor crown for their coronation, they would surely get it regardless. And unfortunately, that’s not the only gemstone with a problematic backstory.
The Imperial State Crown and the royal scepter both hold pieces of a diamond called the Star of Africa. And as the name suggests, that, too, was also a product of colonial rule.
Star of Africa
Immediately after Elizabeth’s death in 2022, groups in South Africa demanded that the gem be returned to its country of origin and not used for future British coronations. So Charles has a big decision to make here, clearly. But it’s not the only call he’s had to make in the run-up to the coronation. There was a lot of discussion about the exact date when the event would be held.
At first, experts speculated that it would happen in June, because that was when Elizabeth had hers. But as it turned out, the date of the coronation was eventually set for May 6, 2023.
A Very Poignant Date
And as it happens, May 6 is a date that holds a lot of significance for the members of the royal family — and one member in particular. At a glance, you might be forgiven for thinking the date was specifically chosen because of Prince Harry, but the truth goes much deeper than that. In fact, May 6 holds a whole host of historic echoes that span through the centuries.
King Edward VII, the eldest son of Victoria and Charles’ great-great grandfather, died on that day in 1910. Fifty years later, Princess Margaret married her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones on the same date. And there’s also precedent for May coronations, as that’s the month King George VI chose.
The Harry and Megan Problem
Sounds good, except for one glaring issue. You see, May 6 also happens to be the birthday of Prince Harry’s son with Meghan Markle, Archie. And, as it to be expected, there are rumors about whether Harry will want to attend the coronation of his father — or be allowed to attend, for that matter. Was there a chance that date had been chosen to give him an excuse to stay away?
Still, “Will Harry be there or not?” was the question on everyone’s lips even before his bombshell memoir about the royals hit shelves worldwide. And given the revelations in the prince's tell-all book, it's a question that doesn't have a simple answer.
Will They Make the Invite List?
In December 2022 royal biographer Angela Levin told British tabloid The Sun, “It’s an important occasion, and it can’t just be all about [Harry and Meghan] — and if they do come it will be all about them. I think William will say ‘absolutely not, you cannot come.’” But let’s assume for the moment that Charles is too busy worrying about coronation planning to focus too much on his younger son’s escapades.
As noted, there will be a lot going on on the day, including some traditions that are downright weird. Will he be able to make his big day both “streamlined” and yet as memorable as his mother’s?
The coronation planning committee operates under the suitably grand name of “Operation Golden Orb” in case you were in any doubt about how seriously Britain takes these things. And as with all monumental royal events, experts have been poring over elaborate plans for the occasion for years now. But now the time has come for those ideas to materialize, and there's a lot riding on what shape they will take.
Everything involved in the coronation must be held to the highest possible standards, and some of the things that Charles will use on the day — not even just the jewels — are absolutely invaluable.
“A Lot Less Fuss”
In February 2022, before Elizabeth had passed and Charles had become King, an anonymous source told the Daily Mail newspaper, “Compared to the last coronation, there will be a lot less fuss. Last time, special green chairs were commissioned, and guests were able to have them delivered to their homes afterwards. You won’t see that sort of thing this time.” But, although they won't be green, there will still be special chairs involved.
In order to be crowned, Charles must sit on an ancient seat called King Edward’s Chair, and when we say ancient we really do mean ancient.
A Very Special Throne
King Edward I had it made sometime around 1300 to house Scotland’s Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny. The stone was returned to Scotland in 1996 but it revisits England for coronations, and the chair itself has been used for crownings since at least 1399. Just like the troublesome Star Of Africa and Koh-i-Noor diamonds, however, The Stone of Scone posed yet another snag for Charles' big day.
The ancient symbol of monarchy was a matter of great contention between Scotland and England for a while. And Even though both countries are part of the United Kingdom, there’s some bloody history between them.
Just as is the case with the countries who originally owned some of the gems which festoon the Crown Jewels, Scotland made it clear that they wanted their stone back. In fact, some university students even went as far as to steal the stone back in 1950. And now a man who calls himself a “psychic medium” has been speaking to the British newspapers about Charles’ use of the Stone of Scone.
A 68-year-old called Craig Hamilton-Parker told the Metro newspaper at the beginning of 2023 that he believed there would be misfortune for the new King if the stone came back to England.
Hamilton-Parker informed the paper, “The Stone of Scone was used during the old coronation of the Scottish kings… [it] was stolen by Edward and brought back to Westminster and only in recent years was it given back to the Scots. I have weird feelings about Scotland, some kind of protest or someone trying to steal the stone.” But security on the day will certainly be on the lookout for any stone-stealers — and worse.
Extensive security plans are in place, with review after review happening to ensure the new King and Queen Consort's safety. But with security plans being finalized, the question of whether Harry and Meghan should attend has re-reared its not-so-pretty head.
Sitting Down and Talking
According to some commentators, the comments the estranged royal made in his memoir were so inflammatory it’d be safer for everyone if he didn’t come. Obviously there will be armed guards present, but will that be enough? Whether Harry and Meghan will attend the coronation is still up in the air. And the thorny situation is something that, unlike the rest of the royals, Harry has spoken openly about.
He told Tom Bradby in a January 2023 interview that he hoped the royals would "sit down and talk" about him attending… but there's another looming prediction that says Harry hasn't completed his royal duties, not by a long shot. This curve ball comes from a modern-day Nostradamus scholar, who has some significant evidence to back up his claim.
The Nostradamus scholar in question is Mario Reading, who published the book Nostradamus: Complete Prophecies for the Future in 2005. In the intro to the book, he claimed that the famed future-seer had even predicted 9/11 centuries before it happened, something that “give[s] even further credence to his prognostications for both our future, and that of our planet.” But despite its pertinent foretellings, Reading’s book about Nostradamus wasn’t all that popular at first.
It was published in 2005, and by 2022 it was only selling a few copies a week. But after September 2022, suddenly, people were clamoring to get hold of it and buying thousands of copies.
What had changed? Well, that was the month Elizabeth passed away. As it turned out, the way Reading had interpreted one of Nostradamus’ prophecies had correctly predicted the date of the late monarch’s passing. He wrote in the book, taking note of the “wide implications” of it all, “Queen Elizabeth II will die, circa 2022, at the age of around 96.” And that’s exactly what happened, which makes the next part rather damning for Charles.
The book states, “Because they disapproved of his divorce/A man who later they considered unworthy/The people will force out the King of the islands/A man will replace him who never expected to be King.”
An Unworthy Candidate
And we all know about Charles’ divorce and how much disapproval it met. When he split from Diana in favor of Camilla Parker-Bowles, the tabloids were merciless and so were his future subjects. Not long after the future monarch had confessed to infidelity, British newspaper The Sun ran a telephone poll about the heir to the throne. The results were clear —about two-thirds of participants thought he was unfit to rule.
Luckily, a YouGov poll taken just after Charles ascended to the throne showed a sharp rise in his popularity since the scandal of the early '90s. The results reported that 63 percent of people thought he’d do a good job as a ruler. But what did Reading's so-far-so-accurate predictions suggest?
King of the Islands
However, this part of the prediction, and Reading’s take on it, is more tricky. Charles is actually still the monarch of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, although it’s true that many nations either have or plan to become republics. Barbados cut ties with the monarchy in 2021; and, in time, other countries, including Jamaica, Belize, and the Bahamas may well follow suit. A likelihood that Nostradamus' prophecies seem to corroborate.
Reading wrote in the book that after Elizabeth’s passing, “Charles will be crowned in her stead, and become ‘King of the Islands’, the implication here being that he is no longer king of the other regions in the world over which his mother reigned — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc — which will have, in the interim, become republics.”
Interpreting Nostradamus’ prophesy, Reading predicted in the book, “Charles will be 74 years old in 2022 when he takes over the throne, but the resentments held against him by a certain proportion of the British population, following his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales, still persist.” And it’s doubtless true that some people have never forgiven his infamous affair. For example, Netflix hit The Crown recently brought the details of Charles’ infidelity to a whole new audience.
Season five dramatized the “tampongate” conversation he once had with Camilla, an embarrassing incident that the monarch probably wishes could be left in the past.
Even as King, he can’t stop people from talking about his affair and his messy divorce. And his deeply personal phone conversation with Camilla while he was still married to Diana is probably up there as one of the utmost areas of embarrassment for the new King. And unfortunately for Charles, Reading's prediction suggests that after he receives his crown, things will take a turn for the worse.
He writes, “The pressure on him is so great, and his age so much against him, that Charles agrees to abdicate in favor of his son.” But which son will that be?
Heavy Is the Head
And indeed, the prospect of the royals “skipping a generation” had been talked about even before Elizabeth passed away. Some people have wondered whether Charles might one day end up abdicating because of his advancing age, rather than because the people of Britain actually want him out. And In 2022, Conor Friedersdorf of magazine The Atlantic had a suggestion about what would be best.
“A more consequential use of Charles’s reign would be to rule briefly and abdicate at 75… while touting the importance of passing the throne to Prince William in his son’s prime rather than his dotage.” So that's William covered, but what about the other heirs?
Reading posed the question, based on Nostradamus’ “never expected to be King” line, “Does this mean that Prince William, who would have expected to succeed his father, is no longer in the picture? And that Prince Harry, by process of default, becomes King in his stead? That would make him King Henry IX, aged just 38.” Could that possibly happen? And in what circumstances would William not ascend the throne after his father?
Well, it seems there are only two real options. The first would be if he abdicates, like his ancestor the Duke of Windsor did. But that would mean his oldest son, Prince George, would become ruler of the United Kingdom, not William’s brother Harry.
Royal Rules of Succession
And the same thing would happen in the unlikely event William died before Charles. If that were to happen, George would take the throne, assuming he was of age at the time. But if Charles and William both died while George was still a minor, a regent would have to be appointed, and who would be the most likely candidate? Yes, you guessed it — we're talking about Harry.
Being a regent isn’t quite the same thing as being King, but it’s pretty close. And assuming things really did take such a tragic turn for the royal family, Harry is about the only really viable option for a regent.
So it basically comes down to either Harry or Prince Andrew — and after his recent legal trouble, Andrew is almost certainly getting nowhere near the throne. But would Harry actually ever accept the idea of becoming regent, even to help out his own young nephew after a tragedy? Well, sadly, based on his comments since stepping down as a working royal, it doesn't seem like it would be a likely outcome.
Anderson Cooper asked him in a January 2023 interview, “Can you see a day when you would return as a full-time member of the royal family?” and he immediately answered “No.”
But the British government may actually be making plans for the possibility, however slight, that both Charles and William die before George comes of age. In October 2022 Viscount Stansgate asked peers in the House of Lords if they were “happy to continue with a situation where the counsels of state and regency powers may be exercised by the Duke of York or the Duke of Sussex, one of whom has left public life and the other of whom has left the country?”
But despite everything, it’s obvious Harry still cares very much about his family. He said in the Anderson Cooper interview that he still loved William, despite the “pain between the two of us.”
So, even in spite of the pain and difficult conversations that will inevitably need to take place, it seems that Harry most likely would step up for his nephew George if needed — especially since he, too, has experience of losing a parent at a young age. There is actually a second — and even more tragic — way that Harry could become King, and not just a regent, either.
If something dreadful happened that wiped out the entire Cambridge family — Prince William and all three of his heirs — the throne would go directly to Harry. He would rule as king with Meghan as Queen Consort.
Obviously that scenario is a horrible one to consider, but there are members of the royal household who very much have to think about it anyway. There is actually a royal protocol dictating that two heirs to the throne should never travel together, in case of an accident. And with good reason — air travel used to be a lot more dangerous than it is now. In fact, Philip lost his sister and two nephews in a plane crash in 1937.
But William has broken that rule and often gone on planes with his children. Elizabeth reportedly still hated it, though. In July 2022 there were reports that she was planning to summon William and forbid him from flying his children via helicopter.
Prophecy Revisited and a Secret Child
So those are all the ways that Harry can become king. But what if Nostradamus’ prophecy wasn’t referring to Harry at all? After all, it doesn’t mention any names, just “a man will replace him who never expected to be King.” And there’s one person out there who’s willing to believe he’s actually the man in question. A British-born Australian named Simon Dorante-Day has long claimed he’s the secret son of Charles and Camilla.
According to him, his adoptive grandparents once worked in the royal household under Elizabeth, and his grandmother told him outright that he was Charles’ and Camilla’s child. There’s no cast-iron proof, though.
Out of Left Field
Now Dorante-Day thinks the prophecy might be about him. He told the Australian news website 7news in 2022, “I’ve had five people approach me in a few hours, sending me over this page from the book. It’s certainly food for thought because the prediction makes it clear that someone out of left field would replace Charles as King. I can see why some people would think I fit the bill.”
Dorante-Day went on, “I believe I am the son of Charles and Camilla and I’m looking forward to my day in court to prove this. Maybe Nostradamus has the same understanding that I do, that all this will come out one day.”
Dorante-Day went public with his groundbreaking claims decades ago in the 1990s, but Charles and Camilla have never responded. So this is certainly one of the more complex prophecies that Nostradamus put out into the world. But unfortunately the man who interpreted it, Reading, didn’t live to see people celebrate his book. He passed away in January 2017 after a long battle with cancer. Still, his son Laurie has commented to the media about the royal revelations.
In September 2022 Laurie told the Wales Online news website, “It's been completely incredible to see so many people discussing and sharing my father’s book."
A Labor of Love
Laurie continued, "It really was a labor of love for him to write, and if he was here today he'd be wonderfully proud that a number of his interpretations have come to fruition. I look forward to seeing what other predictions come true.” And Laurie thinks he might have an idea as to what Nostradamus believed 2023 would be like. He mentioned to the website one prophecy that apparently corresponds to the year.
And the prophecy reads, “The two contenders will unite together/When most others unite with Mars/The African leader is fearful and trembles/The dual alliance is separated by the fleet.” He said he believed it could refer to Elon Musk’s plan to colonize Mars. We’ll just have to wait and see!