King Charles III: That's why his coronation is so unique

Preparations for the coronation on Saturday (May 6) in London are in full swing.

King Charles III: That's why his coronation is so unique

Preparations for the coronation on Saturday (May 6) in London are in full swing. The first pictures showed nightly rehearsals including a carriage ride. Also King Charles III. (74) and his family have already completed a dress rehearsal at Westminster Abbey. Royal house expert Julia Melchiot ("Charles III. - Britain's new king") explains how intensively they practice for the big day in an interview with spot on news. She also reveals why Prince George (9), the king's grandson and son of heir to the throne Prince William (40) and Princess Kate (41), will do his job as a page "very routinely" in front of the world public.

Julia Melchior: That has to be rehearsed intensively, because it's a ceremonial with many deeply religious and medieval elements that last took place 70 years ago. Charles can't really remember that either, although he was there when he was four years old. Everyone involved has to practice every step very well, because the whole world is watching on this day. It requires extreme concentration and precision in execution, especially from the king and queen. And because so many other people are also involved, it is a very demanding choreography. In addition to the dress rehearsal with the royal couple, there were also various other rehearsals in which representatives took on the roles of the two.

Melchior: In the beginning there is the recognition of the king by the community. The oath is followed by the anointing, the most solemn moment of the ceremony. Then comes the investiture, i.e. the wearing of the royal insignia, followed by the coronation and finally the homage. These have been the constituent elements of the coronation for 1000 years. It will be interesting to see how the king adapts the performance of these rites to our times.

Melchior: That is explained by history. There's the insanely heavy St. Edward's crown, which is traditionally used to crown all British monarchs. But it is only used for the coronation. She was previously not allowed to leave Westminster Abbey - but now she can be viewed in the Tower of London. However, because in the past a crown was also worn on certain other ceremonial occasions outside of Westminster Abbey - today only at the opening of parliament - the rulers had a second crown made for them. Most recently, it was the Imperial State Crown, which is a bit lighter and more comfortable. Nevertheless, we know from the Queen that she always had to read her speech at eye level at the opening of Parliament. She couldn't put her head down or the crown might have fallen off or, as she once said with a wink, her neck might have broken. This modern crown has since been adapted to King Charles' head shape.

Melchior: Of the European monarchies, only the British king is still crowned, with the crown literally placed on his head. There is no occasion other than the coronation and the opening of parliament when a crown is worn. We do see queens and princesses wearing tiaras at banquets, but that is jewelry. No other European monarch wears a crown anymore.

Melchior: The one scepter is for royal power, which is to be exercised with care, and that is why the monarch wears it with a gauntlet. The other is the Scepter of Mercy, which he carries without a glove to symbolize direct contact - a very touching symbolism, as is behind everything else we will experience at the ceremony.

Melchior: Especially since the participants and guests have to be there well before the ceremony begins. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the ceremony lasted even an hour longer. The king's cousin, whose mother attended the queen's coronation, told me that the peers hid their sandwiches under the crowns because they had nowhere else to put them. That will certainly not be the case at Charles' coronation. None of those present want to be caught chewing on the screens of this world. It's just a matter of persevering.

Melchior: In the days leading up to the coronation, a lot is required of both of them. rehearsals, receptions. But when scheduling appointments, the age of the king and queen is taken into account more than would be the case, for example, with a royal couple, William and Kate. On day two of Charles and Camilla's state visit to Germany, there was no program item after the afternoon. Normally, after the state banquet on the first day of a state visit, there is always a return invitation on the evening of the second day. During this state visit, it was scheduled for the afternoon of day three. Of course, Charles and Camilla cannot be expected to do the same thing as a young royal couple.

Melchior: They are very busy, but they also have their downtimes. As a London residence, they will remain at Clarence House. And on the weekends they will often retire to one of their country estates. There they will go for walks, he will do gardening or read, write and listen to music in his cozy study. In between he puts on Wagner and the windows are open to the garden. That's what he needs to switch off.

Melchior: George is scheduled to be the page. He does this with other children he knows who are around the same age. I think the children will see this as a community experience. You've seen participation in large ceremonies a few times. For example, they were flower children at the weddings of Harry and Meghan and friends of their parents' couples. So I think George will do it very routinely.

The "ZDF Royal" special "King Charles III. - Coronation in London" summarizes the events of the day on Saturday evening from 7:25 p.m. Julia Melchior comments on the coronation ceremony with Christina von Ungern-Sternberg.