Two coronation days, separated by 70 years, and yet, a striking similarity – rain. It rained on Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation day in 1953, and it was raining during the coronation of her son, King Charles III, on May 6, 2023. Despite the downpour, both events marked the beginning of a new era for the British monarchy.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was held on June 2, 1953, at Westminster Abbey. The morning began with clouds and a “spot or two of rain,” which eventually became heavier. The weather remained cold for June, according to the U.K.’s Met Office. The only problem on the day of the coronation was the typical British weather, as journalist Ellen Castelow wrote for Historic U.K.: “it poured with rain!”.
Fast forward to May 6, 2023, and the similarities between the two coronation days are not just limited to the weather. Both monarchs ascended to the throne after their parent’s death, but their coronations were held months later. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was held more than a year after her father, King George VI, died in 1952. Similarly, King Charles III is being crowned about eight months after his mother’s death.
Another similarity is that both were crowned at Westminster Abbey, as is customary. However, there were a few differences in their coronation ceremonies. King Charles III’s wife, Camilla, was crowned alongside him. Initially given the title of queen consort, she was referred to as queen on the coronation invitations. On the other hand, Charles’ father, Prince Phillip, was not crowned with Queen Elizabeth in 1953, but he was present throughout the day.
King Charles III’s coronation ceremony was smaller than his mother’s, with around 2,000 guests compared to Queen Elizabeth II’s 8,000 guests. The regalia worn by both monarchs was different, as was the oath recited by King Charles III, and the procession route they took back to Buckingham Palace.
Despite the differences, the moment that brings the two coronation days together is the balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace. The senior members of the royal family gathered on the balcony for their signature photo-op, just as Queen Elizabeth II did on her coronation day.
King Charles III, at 74 years old, is the oldest person to be crowned as a British monarch. In contrast, Queen Elizabeth II was 25 years old when she ascended to the throne and went on to become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, serving for more than 70 years until her death last year at 96.
The rain that fell on both coronation days could be seen as a sign of good fortune and a blessing from above. As the saying goes, “rain on a wedding day is good luck.” In this case, we could say that rain on a coronation day is a symbol of the unity between the past and the present, and a promise of a bright future for the British monarchy.
In conclusion, the coronation of King Charles III on May 6, 2023, was a momentous occasion for the British monarchy, with similarities and differences to his mother’s coronation in 1953. Regardless of the differences, both coronation days marked a new chapter in the history of the British monarchy, and both were blessed with the same rain that is said to bring good luck.