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Majesty and misgivings as Charles takes the crown

The coronation is just a day away. Here's the current rundown of what to expect on May 6 -- from the pomp and ceremony, to anti-monarchy protests on the ground in London. Celeste McDonald with Aditi Kutty on the beginning of a new royal era.

The Crowns

King Charles III will wear the St Edward's Crown, the same as his mother wore on the day of her coronation. This version of the crown was made in 1661 for Charles II, and has been used on and off in the coronation of English monarchs since.

Queen Consort Camilla will be coronated using the crown worn by the Mary of Teck at George V's 1911 coronation, with four of the crown's eight detachable arches removed and modified to hold diamonds originally set in Elizabeth II's crown.

A flag celebrating the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III in London. (Photo Doyle of London)

Broadcast audience

Elizabeth II's 1953 coronation was the first televised coronation in history, with more listening in on the radio

rather than watching on television. In Britain alone, the television audience was estimated to be 27 million. (The country's population at the time was just over 36 million.)

Television was a new technology back then, but King Charles III is being coronated in the social media era. Not only do families have multiple TVs in their households, but the coronation will likely be streaming direct to YouTube through various news channels as well. Royal watchers can follow the '#coronation' hashtag across socials to keep up with what the rest of the world is saying — Twitter even has a custom emoji for it.

Hundreds of millions of viewers globally are expected to watch the broadcast, with millions more following it on social media. You don't need to be a fan to take part. There is plenty of engagement on social media from people less than impressed with the extravagance of the event and the monarchy in general.

The Protests

Not all Britons are on board with the coronation celebrations. There will be protests, and this week the King gave royal assent to a law that would target anti-monarchy protesters who try to disrupt the events. Offenders who block roads, airports and railways could face 12 months jail.

The laws have been described as "intimidatory", but the Home Office says the timing of the laws -- which apply to “disruption at major sporting and cultural events”, not just the coronation -- is coincidental, according to The Guardian.

The anti-monarchy group Republic says it has held talks with police and they have accepted that it's planned protest will be lawful and peaceful. The hashtag #notmyking is also trending across social media.

The British press gears up for the big day on Saturday.

The view from Australia

Two historic firsts stand out for this coronation ceremony.

For Australians, it marks the first time in history that all its leaders -- the Governor-General, all the state governors and the Prime Minister -- will be out of the country at once.

And another first: the ceremony will include a request from the Archbishop of Canterbury for people viewing at home around the world to pledge their allegiance to the sovereign. The pledge is called The Homage of the People.

The Service

Westminster Abbey will host the coronation. Photo: Celeste McDonald

The Earl Marshal, the royal officeholder who is responsible for the coronation, has revealed that the event will reflect modern Britain while still remaining rooted in tradition. The service will represent a variety of faiths and community groups to reflect, a statement from Buckingham Palace has said, "the King's wish to reflect the ethnic diversity of modern Britain".

Unlike his mother, who was anointed under a canopy, King Charles III's anointing will be behind a three-sided screen.

Both the service and the procession will be much shorter than those of the previous coronation, with King Charles III's Abbey service taking just an hour, and his post-coronation procession travelling a third of the distance of Elizabeth II's.

Full details of the event are at the official royal family website.

The Invitations

Elizabeth II had a guest list of 8000 people inside the abbey for her coronation. King Charles III is speculated to have a much smaller gathering, at 2000 invited guests. Buckingham Palace says most of them are volunteers and charity representatives, with far fewer politicians and dignitaries invited.

Aussies in attendance include Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley, as well as al the state governors and premiers. Prominent figures in sports and the arts, including Sam Kerr, Nick Cave, and Adam Hills, will also attend.

Where to watch the coronation

The ABC will begin with a two-hour panel on King Charles and the monarchy, presented by The Drum's Julia Baird and ABC News' Jeremy Fernandez, at 5pm AEST before crossing to the BBC's live coverage of the procession.

Channel 7's coverage will start with a special edition of Weekend Sunrise at 7 a.m. AEST. The countdown will begin at 4pm with Seven News presenter Michael Usher and BBC royal correspondent Angela Rippon. In Melbourne, coverage will be bumped to 7TWO from 7.30pm to accomodate Seven's AFL coverage.

Channel 9's coverage will begin from 5pm. AEST on the main channel, 9Gem and 9Now, featuring Peter Overton and Ally Langdon alongside commentary from Dickie Arbiter and Camilla Tominey. Nine News reporters will also be stationed in London for on-the-grounds coverage.

Channel 10 will begin its coverage at 4pm AEST, hosted live from London by 10 News' Hugh Rimington and Johnpaul Gonzo. The coverage will be interrupted by the 10 News bulletin at 5pm.

Plenty of pubs and bars are hosting viewings on the night.


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