With the news just released that the coronation of King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023, we thought a round-up of all things coronation would be a helpful aid to anyone planning projects over the coming weeks and months. While many commentators believe this coronation may be more modest and scaled-back than that of the King's mother in 1953, what is clear is that the history of coronations will be of increasing interest, and we believe we're one of the strongest resources on the subject. Read on for a regal round-up.

Coronation 1953

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was one of the most iconic events of the 20th century, a twenty-five year-old monarch undergoing an ancient ritual which was beamed around the world to a modern audience through the wonder of television.

See our selection of photographs on this unforgettable event.

Rituals and Tradition

The monarchy had made many concessions to the modern age, but the affirming rituals of the coronation, the pageantry, the theatre and the symbolism - are centuries old.

This selection takes you on a tour of the coronation regalia and stages of the solemn ceremony as well as some obsolete elements of historic coronations, such as the tradition of the King's Champion entering Westminster Hall or the sovereign's herbwoman, whose job was to scatter herbs in the monarch's path during the Coronation procession.

Precision Planning

From the moment the date of the coronation is announced by the Earl Marshal, preparations begin for an event that has to run with clockwork precision. Click here to discover how Westminster Abbey was temporarily transformed to accommodate a huge congregation and the ceremony, the preparation of gowns and robes for the main players and even the grooming of the monarch's horses in preparation for pulling the state coach.

Illustrated London News

Since the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, the Illustrated London News and its sister titles, The Graphic and The Sphere were THE publications that could be relied upon to pull out all the stops when it came to recording a coronation in all its pomp and splendour for special commemorative issues.

Click here to discover some of the best cover designs, illustrations and magazine spreads on past coronations.

Coronation Fever

Mass celebration and public participation have always been part of coronation since the medieval era, but the twentieth century witnessed celebrations reach a new level. From merchandise created for King Edward VIII (the king who was never crowned) to ornate swags and decorations adorning department stores (we even have a special booklet guide to Selfridge's 1937 Coronation decorations) , not forgetting of course the all-important street parties.

Our selection of images covers all this and more.

Ask the Expert

Our Head of Sales & Research, Luci, is author of the Shire book 'Royal Coronations' and has written widely on the subject.

Do get in touch if you have any questions or need specialist research. We'll be combing our archives to add more material over the next few weeks so keep checking back. We look forward to being of assistance.

Let us know what you think

As always, if you need a picture search, a quote, or have any other questions about using the library, please get in touch by emailing pictures@maryevans.com or calling 020 8318 0034.

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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