Preparations for the Queen’s funeral have gripped the nation for over a week. After she is buried, a new chapter begins: the reign of King Charles III. But what are the steps to get there?
What happens after the funeral?
After the funeral in Westminster, the Queen’s coffin will be transferred to Windsor Castle, where there will be a committal service in St George’s Chapel. She will be buried in the castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel, alongside her father, her mother, and her sister’s ashes.
The coffin of her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year, will also be moved from the royal vault in St George’s Chapel to be interred with the Queen, as the couple requested.
When is the coronation of King Charles III?
When the Queen died, the throne passed immediately to the heir, Charles, her son and the former Prince of Wales. He will formally be crowned king at the coronation, which could take place in spring or summer next year.
For the past 900 years – since William the Conqueror – the coronation has been held in Westminster Abbey.
Unlike royal weddings, the coronation is a state occasion: the government pays for it, and chooses the guest list.
What crown will he wear?
The archbishop of Canterbury will place St Edward’s crown, which dates from 1661, on Charles’s head. This is the iconic solid gold crown from the crown jewels at the Tower of London, which is studded with 444 coloured gemstones, including rubies, garnets, sapphires and tourmalines, filled with a purple velvet centre and trimmed with fur. It is worn by the monarch only at the moment of coronation itself, in part because it weighs 2.23kg.
Can we expect any new jewellery or other rituals?
Coronations are traditional affairs, though it is understood that King Charles would like a more scaled-down version compared with Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
He will still be laden with jewels, though. As well as St Edward’s crown, he will be presented with the coronation ring, nicknamed the wedding ring of England, which is placed on the fourth finger of the monarch’s right hand.
The ring has been used since 1831 and is a symbolic sapphire ring with baguette-cut rubies in the form of a cross over the face, representing the cross of St George and the Scottish flag.
He will also be handed a sceptre dating to 1661, which has been used in every coronation since. In 1910, King George V added the Cullinan I diamond, a 3,106-carat stone unearthed in South Africa in 1905.
Prince Charles will also receive two gold armills to symbolise the monarch’s bond with the people.
Where will King Charles live?
About 100 employees of Clarence House, where Charles and Camilla lived until the Queen’s death, have received notification they could lose their jobs because he will no longer live there.
Although we know King Charles is leaving Clarence House, we don’t know where he is moving. Queen Elizabeth II had several residences, including Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and Windsor Castle.
There has not yet been any official announcement, but it is expected that the new monarch will live at Buckingham Palace, which Charles is understood to consider an important symbol of the monarchy.
However, Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing a £369m taxpayer-funded refurbishment, which will not be complete until 2027. This could mean that Charles and Camilla delay their move.
What will change under King Charles III?
As king of a constitutional monarchy, Charles cannot change that much as only elected parliament can make and pass legislation. This system is underpinned by an expectation that the King will remain politically neutral, although Charles is known as an impassioned champion of several causes, including the climate crisis.
Charles is understood to want a slimmed-down official royal family and there has been speculation that decisions will be taken to reduce the family’s cost to the public purse.
One important area will be around modernising relations with Commonwealth countries. He has commented before at a Commonwealth summit on his desire to “deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact”. His coronation comes in the wake of Prince William’s much-criticised royal tour to Caribbean countries and Barbados’s decision to remove the Queen as head of state.
What will happen to royal warrants?
Royal warrants are a mark of recognition granted to goods and services provided to the Queen, and a valuable marketing tool that allows holders to display a royal coat of arms.
Royal warrants granted by the Queen will become void two years after her death, giving companies time to remove the coat of arms from their packaging and advertising. If King Charles III wishes to grant them another royal warrant, then they can receive the distinction again.