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King Charles III ‘to break from tradition’ with specific outfit choice for coronation

The King is said to have been advised to make a more modern choice for his coronation

Nicole Vassell,Kate Ng
Friday 05 May 2023 15:48 BST
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King Charles III has been advised to wear an outfit for his coronation that goes against previous royal tradition, according to reports.

The monarch acceded to the throne upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September.

His coronation is set to take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May, in an event that has been teased to “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry”.

In previous ceremonies, the King or Queen has traditionally worn silk stockings and breeches. However, recent reports have claimed that King Charles will opt to wear his military uniform instead.

As reported by The Sun, a source said: “Senior aides think breeches look too dated.” When contacted by The Independent, Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Grant Harrold, former butler to King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, believes the dress code for the coronation will be a “massive change to royal protocol”.

Harrold, who worked for the then-Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall from 2004 to 2011, said that “most royals will wear suits” for the historic occasion instead of special robes that are usually created for the coronation, while the women will likely wear dresses.

He also does not think the Princess of Wales nor the Duchess of Edinburgh will wear tiaras for the event because “the focus will be more on day wear, showing how relaxed the dress code is for the event”.

But he added: “Obviously the King and Queen will be in the ceremonial robes for the event, no question, not at all. I also think the King will most likely wear a crown during the ceremony.

“We’ll see the men in suits and uniforms. On that basis, I’m thinking back to the Queen’s funeral, Prince Harry and William sometimes wear their uniforms on certain occasions, but they might wear their morning suits instead for the coronation, following a modern dress code instead of the traditions.”

Elsewhere, the coronation will reportedly be a more scaled-down affair compared with previous ceremonies, in an apparent effort to be more “representative of a monarchy in a modern world”.

The event is likely to differ significantly from the Queen’s coronation in June 1953
The event is likely to differ significantly from the Queen’s coronation in June 1953 (AP 1972)

The “modernised” coronation is also expected to be more religiously and culturally diverse than previous such occasions, with plans to include a multi-faith congregation composed of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist figures.

The Mail on Sunday previously reported that the King was “unlikely” to partake in multiple outfit changes, as the Queen did in 1953.

However, at least one 700-year-old coronation tradition will be kept the same, as the King has invited people to take part in the ceremony if they are related to someone who took part in a previous coronation.

Anyone whose ancestor was involved in a historical coronation ceremony will be permitted to apply to carry out a similar role at this year’s event. Successful entrants will be determined by the Coronation Claims Office.

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