The route that King Charles III will take to head to the Coronation at Westminster Abbey has been announced, and it’s a lot shorter than previous coronations.

The route will be basically from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey via Trafalgar Square, and the same on the way back. By comparison, the route in 2023 is about a quarter of the route in 1953, which had included Regent’s Street, Oxford Street and back past Hyde Park.

Coronation route – overlay on Open Street Maps

It’s been noted that this means far fewer people will be able to crowd the route to see the royal heads in person, although it’s also worth noting that with so many more people owning a television, there’s less of a formal requirement for long parades to show off their royal personages to the people.

In another change to previous coronations, the King and Queen won’t ride to Westminster Abbey in Gold State Coach, but will take the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which is a modern coach built in 2012.

Diamond State Coach – source The Royal Household (c) Crown Copyright

They will however return to Buckingham Palace in the huge, and notoriously uncomfortable Gold State Coach. Built for the coronation of King George III, it was delivered late so it was first used for the coronation of King George IV, and has been used for every coronation ever since then.

Gold State Coach – source The Royal Household (c) Crown Copyright

There will be a load of other state coaches in use on the day for the lesser royals to complete the pomp and ceremony that is so important for state events / such a good show to attract tourists to visit the UK (delete as appropriate).

On the day, the King’s Procession, accompanied by The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, will depart Buckingham Palace through the Centre Gate, and proceed down The Mall, passing through Admiralty Arch and south of King Charles I Island, down Whitehall to Parliament. The King’s Procession will then travel around the east and south sides of Parliament Square to arrive at Westminster Abbey, where the Coronation Service will begin at 11am.

After the coronation, the procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace will be much larger in scale, taking the same route in reverse. The Coronation Procession will include Armed Forces from across the Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, and all Services of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, alongside The Sovereign’s Bodyguard and Royal Watermen.

The route back will also be much slower, mainly as the Gold State Coach is so heavy, that even with the eight horses pulling it, it can only move at walking speed.

Upon returning to Buckingham Palace, there will be a Royal Salute from the British and Commonwealth armed forces who have been on parade that day.

The procession route will also uphold the other royal tradition — of the news media interviewing the Union Jack wearing people who camp out along the Mall for days in advance so that they have the best views.

There will also be overnight rehearsals in the early hours of the days prior to the coronation, although details of those are usually kept under wraps until the night they happen.

After the coronation, the state coaches will be quickly returned to the Royal Mews behind Buckingham Palace, where they are usually on display, and will be again. However, the Gold State Coach takes a lot of work to get in and out of the mews building, so don’t expect that back for a week or so if you want to visit.

Westminster Abbey will be closed between 25th April to 8th May for the coronation, and they expect it will be absolutely packed with visitors the week it reopens, so if you want to visit and see the aftermath of the coronation you MUST book tickets in advance.

A reminder that joining the Abbey Association is far better value for money if you want to visit more than a couple of times (£40 per year vs £27 per visit).


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