Charleston to serve as official celebration site for King Charles’ coronation

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of Charleston will host a special celebration Saturday afternoon to mark the coronation of King Charles III and the Queen Consort which is scheduled for early Saturday morning.

Charleston will host British Consul General to Southeastern United States Rachel Galloway as the official southeastern celebration site for the event at the Old Exchange building, located at 122 East Bay Street beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Galloway, in her tole as the most senior United Kingdom government official in the southeastern United States will speak about the historic nature of the coronation. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg will also speak about Charleston’s ties to the UK.

Charles spoke at the Old Exchange during a visit to the Holy City in 1990.

A musical prelude with the Charleston Symphony Brass will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by public remarks and the tolling of Saint Michael’s Church bells at 5:30 p.m.

Broad Street will be closed from State Street to East Bay Street for the celebration.

The British Consulate-General Atlanta’s celebrations in Charleston will form part of a wider series of events hosted by the British Embassy Washington and UK consulates across the United States, Charleston city spokesman Jack O’Toole said.

The Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort will be crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the ancient Westminster Abbey in the heart of London at 6 a.m. Eastern time Saturday.

Westminster Abbey has been Britain’s Coronation church since 1066. King Charles III will be the 40th monarch to swear the traditional oath of faithful service.

Plans for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey call for a more toned-down affair than the last one, even though royals from other nations, heads of state and most of Charles’ family will be there, and the monarch plans to wear the same vestments as Elizabeth did.

Charles automatically ascended to the throne when Queen Elizabeth died Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne. Charles was officially proclaimed Britain’s monarch two days later in an ascension ceremony broadcast for the first time on television.

Charles said he was “deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.”

There is no legal requirement for a coronation, and other European monarchies have done away with the ceremonies.

But the deeply religious and regalia-heavy event is a more formal confirmation of his role as head of state and titular head of the Church of England and was intended to show the king’s authority was derived from God.

During the service, Charles will be anointed with oil, receive the traditional symbols of the monarch — including the orb and scepter — and have the St. Edwards Crown placed on his head for the first time. 

Elizabeth II’s coronation in June 1953 was the first to be televised live. The broadcast in black and white drew an audience of tens of millions in Britain and was later played to a worldwide audience. In the age of streaming and social media, people will be able to watch Charles’ crowning live — and in vivid reds, blues and golds — from virtually anywhere on the planet and post their hot takes with a crown emoji created for the occasion.

Patrick Phillips

Patrick joined the Live 5 News team in October 2006.