Royal Garb: What King Charles III Will Be Wearing During His Coronation - LA Lives

Exclusive photos of the monarch’s coronation garments have been released by the royal family through their official social media account.

It’s not everyday that the public gets to witness a royal coronation; the last ceremony for a British monarch was held in 1953 with Queen Elizabeth II. What’s more, the United Kingdom is the only European monarchy that still practices its coronation rite—one of the last vestiges of a time when kings and queens possessed absolute power. 

Queen Elizabeth II in her 1953 coronation portrait/Photo by Cecil Beaton via Wikimedia Commons

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The ceremony is an elaborate and unique one that’s steeped in tradition. For one thing, valuable items that are hundreds of years old will be brought out for King Charles III’s rite on May 6 at Westminster Abbey. Among them is the St Edward’s Chair, gold eagle, coronation spoon, and St Edward’s crown. 

Adding to that, King Charles III will be donning garb that’s been worn by his family for generations during their respective coronations. In a recent Instagram post, the royal family released photographs of the intricate clothing pieces and accessories for the public’s viewing.  

So what exactly makes a garment fit for a king? To find out, below are four special items that the monarch will wear during his fast-approaching coronation: 

The Imperial Mantle 

The Imperial Mantle is the oldest vestment that will be used during the ceremony. First made for King George IV in 1821, it’s been worn by subsequent rulers like King George V, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II. 

Created by the tailor John Meyer (with the clasp supplied by the royal goldsmiths Rundell Bridge & Rundell), the Imperial Mantle is a true work of craftsmanship in this day and age. 

Close-ups of the Imperial Mantle’s designs/Photo via Instagram @theroyalfamily

It’s a lavish, floor-length cloak made from gold, silver, and silk thread. It features a gold eagle-shaped clasp and gold bullion fringe, as well as a variety of embroidered royal emblems. These include roses, thistles, eagles, shamrocks, crowns, and fleurs-de-lis. It will be worn on top of the king’s Supertunica. 

The Supertunica 

The Supertunica is a golden full-sleeved coat that’s meant to be worn beneath the Imperial Mantle. The king wears the garment during the Anointing part of the coronation process, and is expected to fasten it with the Coronation Sword Belt. 

The Supertunica that King Charles III will wear is from the 20th century, as it was made for the coronation of King George V in 1911. It’s since been worn by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II during their respective rites. 

The Supertunica and Imperial Mantle/Photo via Instagram @theroyalfamily

Inspired by priestly and religious vestments, the overall design of the Supertunica hasn’t changed much since the medieval period, according to its official description. Its front is embroidered with swirling spiral threads that are shaped like “leafy stems.”

The Coronation Sword Belt

Also referred to as “The Girdle,” the Coronation Sword Belt is made from gold cloth and embroidered with gold arabesques and scrolls. It’s also lined with red silk, and possesses a buckle embossed with the royal emblems (roses, thistles, and shamrocks). The Sword of Offering regalia is meant to be attached to the belt’s gold clip.

A closer look at the Coronation Sword Belt/Photo via Instagram @theroyalfamily
A 1919 illustration of the various British coronation swords. From L-R: The Sword of Offering (to be attached to the Coronation Sword Belt), the Sword of State, and the Sword of Mercy./Photo by Cyril Davenport via Wikimedia Commons

Traditionally, a new sword belt is meant to be created for every coronation, care of the Worshipful Company of Girdlers. However, the new king opted to reuse the one made for his grandfather, King George VI, during his coronation in 1937. According to an article by the BBC, this comes as an effort to make the ceremony a more sustainable one.

King George VI, the maternal grandfather of King Charles III/Photo by Matson Photo Service via Wikimedia Commons

The Coronation Glove 

Last in the list of important royal garb is the Coronation Glove or Gauntlet. Made from white leather, the piece is decorated with gilt metal thread in its wrist section, which contains more embroidered royal emblems like the Tudor Rose, oak leaves, and acorn. 

The embroidered coat of arms on the Coronation Glove/Photo via Instagram @theroyalfamily

The glove’s backhand side sports an embroidered coat of arms belonging to the Dukes of Newcastle, with a velvet coronet placed at the top. 

The Coronation Glove/Photo via Instagram @theroyalfamily

Much like the Coronation Sword Belt, a new glove is typically made for each monarch. However, King Charles III also opted to use the one created for King George VI’s ceremony. 

Once the glove is presented to the king by Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon, he will use it to hold the Sovereign’s Scepter during the Crowning part of his rite.

Banner photo via Instagram @theroyalfamily.

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