Throughout the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, there will be different types of chairs for different points during the service and Their Majesties will wear different robes. King Charles III’s coronation will see items reused from previous royal coronations.
Their Majesties will wear two different robes during the service.
Robe of State
These Robes are worn by Charles and Camilla upon their arrival to the Abbey and are made of crimson velvet.
Outside of the coronation, these robes are usually seen at the State Opening of Parliament.
Robe of Estate
These are worn on departure following the Coronation service and are more personalised in their design. The King’s Robe of Estate is made of purple silk velvet embroidered in gold and belonged to his grandfather, George VI, for whom the piece was created in 1937.
The Queen has a new Robe of Estate, which was designed and hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.
For the first time on a robe, insects including bees and a beetle will feature, drawing on the themes of nature and the environment and ‘to reflect Their Majesties’ affection for the natural world’.
We will also see plants and floral emblems featured, all chosen for their personal associations. These include Lily of the Valley, which featured in Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet and was a favourite flower of Queen Elizabeth II; myrtle, which represents hope; and delphinium, one of The King’s favourite flowers and the birth flower of July, for Camilla’s own birthday.
Chairs of Estate
These chairs are positioned to the south side of the High Altar and where most of the activity takes place during the service.
The Chairs of Estate that will be used during the ceremony are those of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The late Queen used her chair during the service, but the late Prince did not use his. They have both been on display in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace for many years.
The chairs are made from carved and gilded beechwood in the 17th century style, in tribute to earlier Chairs of Estate.
For the Coronation, Gilding and Framework Conservators from the Royal Collection Trust have cleaned and restored the giltwood frames. New silk has been woven to the same pattern that was originally upholstered, but with new cyphers reflecting the couple.
These have been created with a cloth of gold, woven with a metal thread and applied onto the silk damask.
The throne chairs will be seen during thee Enthroning and Homage sections of the service. The chairs seen during the Coronation were made for the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937, another nod to not only Charles’ heritage and family, but also his desire for sustainability and lessening the cost of the coronation.
King Charles and Queen Camilla’s throne chairs have been reupholstered with new crimson silk velvet and trimmings. Her Majesty’s new Coat of Arms have been hand embroidered on her throne chair using the silk shading technique, sometimes called painting with thread, which has been applied to the new velvet.
First used in the Coronation of Edward II, the Coronation chair is what the Monarch sits as they are invested with the regalia of state and crowned with St Edward’s Crown. The chair also encloses the Stone of Destiny.
The oak chair, which features a high back and is gothic in design, was carved out of oak by carpenter Walter of Durham in about 1300. It was painted by Walter and decorated with birds, animals and foliage on a gilt ground.
In collaboration between the Royal Household, furniture maker N.E.J Stephenson, a Royal Warrant Holder, and The Prince’s Foundation have made the 100 congregation chairs that will be seen inside Westminster Abbey. The chairs will be covered in blue velvet and will also feature the cyphers of Their Majesties.
Following the Coronation weekend, the chairs will be auctioned, with the proceeds being donated to charity.
Previously, coronation chairs have been kept by the users, which tended to be peers and other senior guests.