King Charles III Coronation: Jacob Rees-Mogg joins calls for bank holiday

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Calls grew today for Britain to get a special bank holiday to celebrate King Charles III’s Coronation next May so people across the country can enjoy a long weekend to mark the historic moment.

MPs have suggested that the Coronation on Saturday May 6, 2023 at Westminster Abbey could be marked by moving the early May bank holiday one week later to Monday May 8.

Some have even called for an extra bank holiday on top of the eight that are already scheduled for next year – those being January 2, April 7, April 10, May 1, May 29, August 28, December 25 and December 28.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said today that a bank holiday would be ‘appropriate’ to mark the ‘splendid historic’ event at Westminster Abbey when Charles will be crowned King alongside Queen Consort Camilla.

He told the BBC: ‘I think that having a bank holiday for a coronation seems to me to be an eminently suitable thing to do. But there is a process that has to be gone through and it has to be approved ultimately by the Privy Council.

‘When I was Lord President of the Council we had to approve bank holidays even when Christmas Day fell on a Saturday, to move it to the Monday. So bank holidays go through a splendid historic process, which I suppose is only appropriate for a splendid historic occasion like the Coronation.’

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said that a bank holiday would be'appropriate' to mark the'splendid historic' event

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said that a bank holiday would be ‘appropriate’ to mark the ‘splendid historic’ event

Charles, then Prince of Wales, at the ceremonial state opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on May 10, 2022

Charles, then Prince of Wales, at the ceremonial state opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on May 10, 2022

The Gold State Coach is seen on The Mall during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in front of Buckingham Palace on June 5, 2022

The Gold State Coach is seen on The Mall during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in front of Buckingham Palace on June 5, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II receives the homage of her husband Prince Philip at her coronation in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II receives the homage of her husband Prince Philip at her coronation in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from Buckingham Palace on June 2, 1953 after her coronation in London

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from Buckingham Palace on June 2, 1953 after her coronation in London

Royal fans wait on The Mall in London in the rain on June 1, 1953 for an all-night vigil ahead of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation

Royal fans wait on The Mall in London in the rain on June 1, 1953 for an all-night vigil ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation

Prince Charles looks solemn as he stands chin on hand between the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in the Royal Box at Westminster Abbey, from where he saw Queen Elizabeth II crowned on June 2, 1953

Prince Charles looks solemn as he stands chin on hand between the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in the Royal Box at Westminster Abbey, from where he saw Queen Elizabeth II crowned on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II wears St Edward's Crown during her coronation in June 1953. This was the view as seen by television viewers immediately after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, had placed the crown upon the Queen's head

Queen Elizabeth II wears St Edward’s Crown during her coronation in June 1953. This was the view as seen by television viewers immediately after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, had placed the crown upon the Queen’s head

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh after the coronation on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and the Duke of Edinburgh after the coronation on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II riding with the Duke of Edinburgh in the State Coach through Trafalgar Square on the way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for her coronation on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II riding with the Duke of Edinburgh in the State Coach through Trafalgar Square on the way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for her coronation on June 2, 1953

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Coronation dress in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace after her coronation in June 1953

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Coronation dress in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace after her coronation in June 1953

It comes after Conservative former defence minister Tobias Ellwood said: ‘The sad loss of our late Queen brought home just how pivotal the monarchy is in providing a sense of purpose and stability for our nation.

‘There’s no doubt that this loyalty and respect has been transferred to King Charles and a bank holiday would help strengthen our transition to a new era.’

What will happen stage by stage at King Charles’s coronation in May 2023

The crowning of a sovereign is one of the most ancient ceremonies, and is deeply religious and steeped in pageantry.

The Crown Jewels’ coronation regalia will play a starring role when the King is crowned on Saturday May 6 next year in Westminster Abbey.

There are six basic phases to the coronation: The recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture which includes the crowning, the enthronement and the homage. Here is what is expected to happen:

– Recognition

This rite dates back to ancient procedures of the Witan – the supreme council of England in Anglo-Saxon times. The sovereign stands in the theatre – the central space in Westminster Abbey – and turns to show himself ‘unto the people’ at each of the four directions – east, south, west and north. The Archbishop of Canterbury will proclaim Charles the ‘undoubted King’ and ask the congregation and choir to show their homage and service by crying out ‘God Save King Charles’, with the order of service urging them to do so with ‘willingness and joy’.

– Coronation Oath

The form and wording of the oath has varied over the centuries. The King will promise to reign according to law, exercise justice with mercy and maintain the Church of England. The King, with the Sword of State carried before him, will go to the altar and declare: ‘The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.’ He will kiss the Bible and sign the Oath.

– The Anointing

After the oath, the sovereign is then ‘anointed, blessed and consecrated’ by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The anointing with holy oil is the central act of the religious ceremony. The King will remove his crimson robe and sit in King Edward’s chair, which was made in 1300 and has been used by every monarch since 1626, under a canopy of silk or cloth of gold held by four Knights of the Garter.

The archbishop will use the golden eagle-shaped ampulla – which pours the oil from its beak – and the 12th century silver-gilt anointing spoon which is the most ancient treasure of the Crown Jewels, to anoint the King in the form of a cross. Traditionally the choir sings the anthem Zadok The Priest at the anointing is carried out. Under the chair is expected to be the Stone of Destiny. The ancient, sacred symbol of Scotland’s monarchy which was once captured by King Edward I of England now only leaves Edinburgh Castle for coronations.

– Investiture including the Crowning

Having been sanctified, the sovereign puts on a sleeveless white garment – the Colobium Sindonis – and then a robe of cloth of gold – the Supertunica. The King is presented with a jewelled sword and the golden spurs – the symbol of chivalry – and the armills – golden bracelets of sincerity and wisdom. He will put on the Robe Royal of gold cloth and will be presented with the orb, the coronation ring on the fourth finger of his right hand, the sceptre and the rod. Then Charles, sitting in King Edward’s Chair, will be crowned by the archbishop with St Edward’s Crown, with the congregation shouting out ‘God Save the King’.

– Enthroning

After a blessing, the King will go to his throne and be ‘lifted up into it by the archbishops and bishops, and other peers of the kingdom’.

– Homage

The archbishop, royal blood princes – likely to include the Prince of Wales – and senior peers pay homage to the monarch, placing their hands between the King’s and swearing allegiance, touching the crown and kissing the King’s right hand. The House of Commons does not pay homage.

– The Queen’s Coronation

Camilla as Queen Consort will also be crowned, in a similar but simpler ceremony which follows the Homage. After Charles’s marriage to Camilla, the royal family’s website added the get-out clause ‘unless decided otherwise’ to the phrase: ‘A Queen consort is crowned with the King, in a similar but simpler ceremony.’

At George VI’s coronation, Queen Elizabeth was anointed and crowned. She knelt down with the archbishop pouring holy oil on the crown of her head, and the Queen’s Ring was placed on her hand, and her crown on her head. Her coronation crown was made especially for the 1937 coronation and features the famous but controversial Koh-i-noor diamond. She was presented with a sceptre and the ivory rod with the dove, before rising to sit in her own throne, after bowing ‘reverently’ to her husband.

Former cabinet minister David Jones added: ‘To combine the two events would be welcomed by the entire nation. It would make a very special memory for all of us.’

Fellow Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay said he ‘fully agreed’ that the early May bank holiday – currently on Monday, May 1 – should be rolled back a week to bring it in line with the Coronation.

Former shadow minister Labour MP Khalid Mahmood also called for a long weekend to help Britons celebrate their ‘unique’ monarchy.

He said: ‘We can move the holiday back to the coronation weekend – the number of people we’ve seen support the monarchy, in terms of Her Majesty the Queen, is absolutely fantastic,’ he said.

‘We have a unique system in the UK with the monarchy and an independent parliament. I would back Britons having a three-day weekend to mark the occasion.’

Tory MP Michael Fabricant went further and called for an extra bank holiday to mark the Coronation.

He said: ‘While it would make logical sense to move the bank holiday back a week, why not have two holidays? Our regular one and a special one to celebrate the Coronation of our King?’

But other Britons were keen to avoid moving May 1, with ITV Anglia presenter Andy Ward tweeting a photograph of the Daily Mail’s front page today and saying: ‘This is not the type of headline you want to wake up to when you’ve specifically booked your wedding to coincide with the May 1 bank holiday! Don’t you dare….’ 

And the Daily Telegraph reported last week that government planning has been affected by the assumption of a potential extra bank holiday.

And fears were also previously raised within the government that the day off could cost £1.36billion. This has since been recalculated by PwC, who think that the extra day will actually cost £831million.

Mr Rees-Mogg told Sky News today: ‘We don’t have coronations very often. I think the key to the Coronation, actually, is that it’s a religious ceremony. It is effectively a sacrament.’

He said discussions around the cost could not be compared to debates about rising pay demands, although he declined to get into speculation about a precise figure for how much it might cost.

‘I hope we see a coronation that is sufficiently dignified for our sovereign. This is a one-off cost. The last one was for coronation for a reign of 70 years. So, this is not something that happens often, it needs to be done properly.’

A royal aide said any plan to create a bank holiday weekend or hold other large-scale celebratory events around the Coronation would be a matter for the Government.

A Downing Street source did not rule out the idea last night, saying: ‘No decisions have been taken.’

The date of the Coronation was chosen in consultation with the Government, the Church of England and the Royal Household after reviewing sport fixtures, international events and anniversaries.

There had been speculation that it would be held close to or even on the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation on June 2, 1953. It is understood that one of the major factors in choosing a date in May was that the weather was considered a ‘safer bet’ than June.

Ollie Claydon of the Met Office said: ‘Generally May is a pretty stable month – on average we are looking at less rainfall and more sunshine hours than June.

‘They are probably thinking about the rest of the UK as well, May is one of the better months of the year. When you go further into the summer months there is more chance of torrential rain.’

But May 6 still clashes with the birthday of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie – Charles’s grandson – who will be turning four that day.

All football games in London scheduled for the day of the Coronation are set to be moved as a minimum.

But the rest of the country’s matches – and all other sports – are waiting on guidance from the Palace to the Government, which will then brief the heads of each sport. Individual sports were allowed to decide whether to go ahead with fixtures after the Queen’s death.

Football cancelled its entire programme but England’s cricketers played a Test match against South Africa and the rugby top flight went ahead.

Guest lists for the Coronation have yet to be confirmed so it is unknown whether Harry and Meghan will be invited or able to travel from California to attend.

The occasion is being slimmed down in light of the cost of living crisis and to show Charles’s desire to establish a more streamlined modern monarchy.

The 1953 Coronation was a carnival of celebration and a morale boost for a post-war nation starved of pageantry. The event was largely modelled on the Coronation of the Queen’s father, George VI, in 1937, which in turn was modelled on that of George V in 1911.

Royal watchers had hoped for a similar day of pageantry for Charles to draw in visitors.

But Palace insiders say the Duke of Norfolk, who as Earl Marshal is masterminding the Coronation, has been tasked with preparing a simpler, more diverse ceremony that reflects modern Britain.

Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), Princess Margaret and King George VI after his coronation on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on May 12, 1937

Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), Princess Margaret and King George VI after his coronation on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on May 12, 1937

The then Duke and Duchess of York in a carriage on The Mall leaving for Westminster Abbey, for the Coronation ceremony, after which they became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on May 12, 1937

The then Duke and Duchess of York in a carriage on The Mall leaving for Westminster Abbey, for the Coronation ceremony, after which they became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on May 12, 1937

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose after the coronation of The Duke of York as King George VI on May 12, 1937

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose after the coronation of The Duke of York as King George VI on May 12, 1937 

Soldiers from various infantry and cavalry regiments of the Indian Army seated with members of the British public on the Queen Victoria Memorial on The Mall on the afternoon of the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937

Soldiers from various infantry and cavalry regiments of the Indian Army seated with members of the British public on the Queen Victoria Memorial on The Mall on the afternoon of the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after the coronation of the Duke of York as King George VI on May 12, 1937

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after the coronation of the Duke of York as King George VI on May 12, 1937

Charles is said to want a more modest affair, with the event cut down to between 90 minutes and two hours, and the guest list slashed by three quarters. There is also speculation the dress code will be less formal.

Revealing the date yesterday, the Palace said: ‘The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look toward the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.’

Other Britons were keen to avoid moving May 1, with ITV Anglia presenter Andy Ward tweeting this post this morning

Other Britons were keen to avoid moving May 1, with ITV Anglia presenter Andy Ward tweeting this post this morning

Insiders said that, while the Coronation will include the same core elements of the traditional ceremony, which dates back more than 1,000 years, it would also recognise the ‘spirit of our times’.

Senior royal sources were at pains to stress that while King Charles’s Coronation would be ‘smaller, slimmer and shorter than 1953’ it would still be ‘glorious’. 

A source said: ‘It’s a Coronation and we haven’t had one for 70 years, so of course it will be a wonderful celebration of pomp and pageantry and all things British.’

Another added: ‘It needs to reflect where we are today, where we are going tomorrow, but be absolutely rooted in the past.’ 

While it would definitely not be on the ‘same scale’ as the Queen’s Coronation, they said it would contain many of the same elements.

The ceremony is expected to respect the fact that many families in Britain are facing a difficult time financially. However, it is understood it will still have the appropriate level of ‘majesty’.

‘It’s about getting the balance right,’ one source explained.

Ancient and time-consuming rituals, including presenting the monarch with gold ingots, are also set to be axed to save time. But the new Prince of Wales is expected to play a prominent role in the occasion – the first time in three generations that an heir will participate in the proceedings.

Charles was just four when his mother was crowned and the late Queen was only 11 at the time of her father’s Coronation – so neither played a formal role.

In contrast Prince William – aged 40 and a full-fledged working royal – is expected to be a prominent figure at the event. Charles, who acceded to the throne on September 8, will be formally ‘anointed, blessed and consecrated’ by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The King has said he wanted to reflect the UK’s religious and ethnic diversity and these aspects will be included on the day.

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