Despite living in an age of constant image sharing, there will be two moments in the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla that the public knows about but will not be able to see.
The first will be the anointing, a procedure that involves the King and Queen being blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which will use chrism, a special oil produced from fruits coming from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Because this is considered the most sacred part of the Coronation ceremony, the moment in which God’s power descends on The King, the moment will be carried out behind a privacy screen and will not be televised.
And then, at the end of the service in Westminster Abbey, King Charles and Queen Camilla will be led in St Edward’s Chapel, behind the Main Altar, for a private moment that has two purposes.
First, a practical one: this will be the moment in which King Charles III will switch Crowns, changing from the Coronation-exclusive (and EXTREMELY heavy) St Edward’s Crown, which will be placed on his head during the ceremony, to the Imperial State Crown, a much lighter option that has been the preferred one for other occasions, such as the State Opening of Parliament.
Additionally, the King and Queen will also swap their robes, from the ancient and heavy Robe of State, to which the King will have added several layers in the forms of the Supertunica and the Imperial Mantle, to the Robes of Estate, which are purple and a bit more practical for the coach journey back to Buckingham Palace.
Secondly, there is a spiritual reason behind this retreat, as veiledly mentioned by the Bishop of Bath and Wells in his video explaining his and the Bishop of Durham’s roles in the coronation. The service will be conducted under the eyes of the more than 2000 guests in the Abbey, as well as the expected millions watching around the world.
For this reason, the moment of solitude in St Edward’s Chapel before departing the Abbey will also be a moment for the newly-Crowned King and Queen to reflect upon the experience, and have a moment of solitary prayer, before beginning officially their service to their people.