Millions of people across the UK and beyond are preparing to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III – a symbolic ceremony combining a religious service and pageantry.
It is being held at Westminster Abbey on 6 May and the King, who will be crowned along with Camilla, the Queen Consort, will be the 40th reigning monarch crowned there since 1066.
The day of splendour and formality will feature customs dating back more than 1,000 years. Here is how we expect it to unfold.
The formal celebrations will begin with a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey with viewing areas along the route opening at 06:00 BST.
Public access to sites along The Mall and Whitehall will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with people directed to official screening sites in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park once they are full.
Stands for invited guests, including armed forces’ veterans and NHS and social care staff, have been erected outside Buckingham Palace.
Just under 200 members of the armed forces – most from the Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry – who will be taking part in the procession to Westminster Abbey will start to gather on Saturday morning.
Another 1,000 service personnel will line the route, but the overall procession will be much smaller than its equivalent in 1953 when other royal families and Commonwealth prime ministers were among those who took part.
The procession will set off from Buckingham Palace at 10:20 BST (04:20 EST) moving along The Mall to Trafalgar Square, then down Whitehall and Parliament Street before turning into Parliament Square and Broad Sanctuary to reach the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey.
In a break from tradition, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will be in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach rather than the older, more uncomfortable, Gold State Coach.
Westminster Abbey arrival
The procession is expected to arrive at the abbey shortly before 11:00, with the King likely to wear military uniform instead of the more traditional breeches and silk stockings worn by kings before him.
King Charles will enter through the Great West Door and proceed through the nave until he reaches the central space in the abbey.
He will be preceded by processions made up of faith leaders and representatives, and representatives from some Commonwealth countries who will carry the flags of their country and be accompanied by the governors general and prime ministers. These will include UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who will also give a reading later in the service.
The ceremony is due to begin at 11:00 and will be punctuated with music selected by the King, with 12 newly commissioned pieces, including one by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Greek Orthodox music in memory of the King’s father, Prince Philip.
The King’s grandson, Prince George, will be among the pages at Westminster Abbey, alongside Camilla’s grandchildren, Lola, Eliza, Gus, Louis and Freddy. Some of those taking part in the procession inside the abbey will carry the regalia ahead of the King, with most items placed on the altar until needed in the ceremony.
What is the regalia?
The UK is, according to the Royal Family website, the only European country that still uses regalia – the symbols of royalty like the crown, orb and sceptres – in coronations.
The individual objects symbolise different aspects of the service and responsibilities of the monarch.
Charles will be presented with the Sovereign’s Orb, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove and other items at key moments in the ceremony.
And Camilla will be presented with the Queen Consort’s Rod with Dove and the Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross – mirroring the King’s sceptres.
There are several stages to the service, which is expected to last a little under two hours.
For the first time members of the public will be invited to pledge their allegiance to the King, in a part of the service organisers are calling the “chorus of millions”. In another departure from tradition, female clergy will play a prominent role and religious leaders from other faiths will have an active part.
Stage one: The recognition
King Charles will be presented to “the people” – a tradition dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. Standing beside the 700-year-old Coronation Chair, the King will turn to face the four sides of the abbey and be proclaimed the “undoubted King” before the congregation is asked to show their homage and service.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will make the first declaration but, for the first time, the subsequent declarations will be made by the Lady of the Garter and the Lady of the Thistle – representing the oldest orders of chivalry in England and Scotland respectively – and a George Cross holder from the armed forces.
The congregation will shout “God Save the King!” and trumpets will sound after each recognition.