Guards walk down the Mall for Trooping the Colour as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022 (Picture: MOD).
Guards walk down the Mall for Trooping the Colour as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022 (Picture: MOD).
King Charles

King's coronation: All we know about the Armed Forces' role

Guards walk down the Mall for Trooping the Colour as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022 (Picture: MOD).
Guards walk down the Mall for Trooping the Colour as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022 (Picture: MOD).

More than 6,000 men and women of the UK Armed Forces will take part in the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on Saturday 6 May.

Soldiers, sailors and aviators from across the UK and Commonwealth will participate in two processions accompanying their Majesties to and from Westminster Abbey, where the coronation takes place – the largest military ceremonial operation for 70 years.

Nearly 400 Armed Forces personnel from at least 35 Commonwealth countries will also be on parade to mark the historic moment.

Later on, more than 60 aircraft from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force will conduct a flypast over The Mall in Central London.

Gun salutes will sound, from military bases across the country and on Royal Navy ships, to mark the moment the King is crowned.

The coming weeks will see military personnel busy in rehearsals for a display of "pageantry, professionalism and pride" to honour their new Commander-in-Chief, King Charles III, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.

Watch: King Charles III's Coronation route through London revealed.

Coronation processions

Around 5,000 Armed Forces personnel will accompany their Sovereign from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and back in two separate processions.

The first, the King’s Procession, is the smaller of the two and will involve just under 200 personnel, around the Sovereign's Escort of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

The procession will cover 1.42 miles, travelling down The Mall to Trafalgar Square, before turning onto Whitehall and marching to Westminster Abbey. More than 1,000 servicemen and women from all three services will line the route.

The Coronation Procession will follow the same route back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey. It will involve nearly 4,000 personnel – the largest military operation of its kind for a generation.

The MOD said it will represent the "diversity and traditions of the UK and Commonwealth Armed Forces".

Red Arrows on the Mall, towards Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Birthday Flypast in June 2018 (Picture: MOD).
Red Arrows on the Mall, towards Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Birthday Flypast in June 2018 (Picture: MOD).

The display will include unique and historic uniforms, some of which are hundreds of years old, Commonwealth flags and 20 different bands marching in exact rhythm. They will guide the King and Queen back to Buckingham Palace, before conducting a Royal Salute.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) will provide a Guard of Honour of 100 Standard Bearers to line the procession route in Parliament Square on the day, the MOD added.

They will represent the RBL and other Armed Forces charities - The Royal Naval Association, Royal Marines Association, Army Benevolent Fund, Air Forces Association, Royal Commonwealth and Ex Services League, Merchant Navy Association and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.

King Charles was the Reviewing Officer for the RAF College’s Combined Parade at Cranwell (Picture: MOD).
The King's coronation will be the largest military ceremonial operation for 70 years (Picture: MOD).

Coronation flypast

The flypast will last for six minutes.

The Royal Family will watch the tri-service aircraft from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as they fly over the Mall in formation.

The formation will include aircraft that delivered support to Ukraine, protected Nato airspace, helped on disaster relief operations, tackled drug trafficking and countered terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, the MOD said.

It will involve aircraft ranging from the historic Spitfires of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to the joint RAF and Royal Navy-crewed state-of-the art F-35B Lightning II jets.

There will also be the RAF's new P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, 16 helicopters and the first flypast of the Royal Air Force's new Envoy IV CC1 airplane.

The world-famous RAF aerobatic display team, the Red Arrows, will also take part.

Watch: Behind the scenes with Godfather of the sword for King Charles' Coronation.

Gun salutes

Gun salutes will sound in all corners of the United Kingdom, including firing stations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – they will mark the moment of the King's coronation.

They will feature more than 400 personnel across 13 locations and deployed Royal Navy ships.

Twenty-one rounds will fire to mark the coronation, except at the Tower of London and Horse Guards Parade, where a 62-round gun salute and a six-gun salvo will fire respectively, the MOD said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "I am incredibly proud of our brilliant military personnel who are preparing to honour centuries of military tradition by taking to the streets, skies and seas to pay tribute to our new King and Queen and mark the coronation next month.

"As they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Commonwealth friends and allies, I know the hard work of thousands of our servicemen and women during the past weeks and months will culminate in an incredible display that will amaze crowds at home and across the world."

Watch: King attends 200th Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "We can be enormously proud of the professionalism and precision of our Armed Forces as they honour His Majesty, their new Commander-in-Chief.

"From the Procession on The Mall to the flypast over London, with gun salutes at sea and across the country, it will be a spectacular and fitting tribute and a privilege to take part in for all those involved and watching from afar.”

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said: "The contribution of the Armed Forces to the Coronation symbolises unyielding service to King and Country.

"It reflects centuries of tradition but is indicative of the integral role the Armed Forces play in modern Britain and the extraordinary ways we support the nation, whether deterring aggression and maintaining stability worldwide or strengthening our domestic resilience and prosperity.

"The soldiers, sailors and aviators participating in the coronation are privileged to be part of this historic ceremony and all it represents. Thousands more servicemen and women will be watching at home and overseas and are justly proud to wear The King’s Uniform on this special day."

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