It will be the culmination of many religions and many languages.
King Charles III, keen to show he can be a unifying figure for everyone in the United Kingdom, will be crowned in a ceremony that will for the first time include the active participation of religions other than the Church of England.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said on Saturday that Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders will take part in various aspects of the coronation, revealing details of a service he described as Christian worship that would reflect contemporary society.
The ceremony will also feature bishops for the first time, as well as hymns and prayers sung in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic, as well as English.
“The service contains new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society,” Archbishop Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Church of England, said in a statement. “My prayer is that everyone who participates in this ministry, believer or non-believer, will find ancient wisdom and new hope that will bring inspiration and joy.”
The coronation ceremony reflects Charles’ efforts to show that the 1,000-year-old monarchy is still relevant in a more diverse country than it was when his mother was crowned 70 years ago. While the monarch is supreme ruler of the Church of England, the latest census showed that less than half the population now describes themselves as Christian.
The coronation ceremony is built around the theme “They are called to serve” and the coronation service will begin with one of the youngest members of the congregation – a member of the Chapel Royal – saluting the King. Charles will respond by saying: “In his name and in imitation of his example, I do not come to serve but to serve.
The moment is meant to highlight the importance of young people in today’s world, according to Lambeth Palace, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The service will also include many historical elements that confirm the ancient traditions by which power has passed to new kings and queens over the centuries.
In the holiest part of the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury anoints the king with oil, consecrates him, and turns him away from his subjects.
It will cover Charles’ screen for the time being, and the anointing will not be visible on television or to most people in the abbey except for a few clergymen.
A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said, speaking on condition of anonymity, “When the screen that will surround the Coronation Chair is removed, the King is shown to all of us as the one who has taken charge of serving God and serving people.”
This would be followed by the presentation of coronation regalia, sacred objects such as the orb and sceptre that symbolized the power and responsibilities of the monarch.
In another innovation reflecting Britain’s changing religious landscape, members of the House of Lords from the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions will offer items to the monarch without overt Christian symbolism.
Then the new king is crowned and “God save the king” is echoed throughout the monastery.
After Charles’ coronation, the traditional “homage of the peers” would be replaced by the “people’s salute”, in which the people of the abbey and spectators would be required to pledge allegiance to the king.
Camilla’s anointing would then be carried out, similar to that of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, in 1937. Camilla’s anointing, however, would not be hidden behind a curtain.
The faithful will also be invited to recite Our Father in the language of their choice.
Before Charles takes the Golden State coach in procession through the streets of London, he will greet leaders and representatives of religious communities in unison. Lambeth Palace said the salute would not be exaggerated out of respect for those who observe the Jewish Sabbath and are prohibited from using electrical appliances.