We’re just days away from the Coronation of King Charles III and, while we can’t wait to see all the pomp and ceremony, it’s the get-up that really interests us. There’s already been talk that things are set to be pretty different this time around, particularly when it comes to the dress code and – as eagle-eyed purveyors of style – we’re all ears (and eyes).
So gents, what can we expect from the royal event of the century and, more importantly, what can we learn from it?
What is the Royal Coronation?
The lavish ceremony will kick off at 11 am at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May 2023, followed by a long weekend filled with celebrations, from street parties to concerts.
Queen Elizabeth II was the last monarch to be crowned in England in 1953. A lot has changed since then – Elvis, the internet, life expectancy – but in some ways the English coronation of monarchs has remained the same for almost 1000 years.
For example, this ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey, as it has done since the crowning of William the Conqueror in 1066. It will be officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, an office that has been crowning British monarchs since medieval times. Just like his illustrious mother and her forefathers, Charles will sit in a Coronation Chair, accept the oath, be formally invested with regalia and have the crown placed on his head.
But, instead of lasting for the whopping four hours endured by Queen Elizabeth in 1953, the ceremony has been cut down to a much more reasonable 60 minutes. And peers of the realm will be ditching coronation robes and coronets for standard business attire.
Key takeaway: Breaking the rules pays off
So, soon-to-be King Charles III will ditch the traditional silk stockings, old-fashioned breeches and embroidered tunic at his Coronation. This breaks with a long tradition. Both King George V and King George VI wore stockings and breeches when they were crowned.
But times are changing, and the stuffy formal dress code of the past is no more. Instead, the king has requested a more relaxed and pared-back look.
For peers of the realm – dukes, barons, duchesses, etc. – it’s goodbye to piles of thick, heavy velvet and reams of fur. Instead, they’ve been asked to wear regular parliamentary ermine or business dress. So, in lieu of full ceremonial garb, we can expect a whole roster of lounge suits.
This makes things much more exciting.
While we can’t predict what guests will be wearing, we’ll wager that some of the most sartorially savvy gentlemen will be opting for tailored morning dress, complete with waistcoat, white wing-collared shirts and maybe even a top hat.
We’re here for it. Next time you find yourself planning an event where you’re the centre of attention, don’t confine yourself to convention but consider how you might be able to play around with the rules.
If King Charles III can, so can you.
Key takeaway: Modern and elegant is still the order of the day
Now, it might be a pared-down monarchical occasion, but we’re still expecting some inspiring style statements. And if there’s one thing we can guarantee, it’s modern elegance.
In bygone days, monarchs and their consorts wore dramatic gowns for coronation events made from silk, velvet and lace. Prince Phillip wore a red velvet coronation robe with an ermine trim, complete with a shoulder shrug, for Queen Elizabeth’s ceremony.
But sources say that the rest of the royals will be keeping it simple this time. That means impeccable tailoring and nothing that might upstage the King.
While Prince William will no doubt don his own military uniform, we’re almost certain he’ll slip into his signature look later on – a beautifully tailored navy suit with a well-chosen knit tie.
This is a good lesson for all of us, gents. Sometimes, simple and understated is the classiest act to follow.
Key takeaway: New isn’t always necessary
Another surprising turn-up for the books is news that Camilla will reuse a crown instead of commissioning one. That’s a real royal first. Instead, the Queen consort will use a modified version of Queen Mary’s crown, made for the 1911 coronation of George V. Sources close to the palace say that it is “in the interests of sustainability and efficiency”.
Now, obviously, they’re not just going to take it out of the Tower of London and plonk it on her head. The crown will be reset with the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds from the late queen’s personal jewellery collection. That’s a good dose of bling.
But it does show that times are changing. If Camilla can recycle a crown at her husband’s coronation, we should all be switching to a more circular mindset.
Looking for a change? Breathe some new life into your Ascots & Chapels suit with a re-fitting or update. Our versatile, timeless garments never go out of style.
All eyes will be on the Royal Family as they take to the world stage for the coronation. No doubt we can expect quite a few surprises in the sartorial department, but if there’s one thing we can take away from this royal knees-up, it’s that modern elegance, a little more sustainability and a good dose of rule-breaking will always pay off.
Pop into your favourite store for a consultation and fitting to ramp up your suit game like a Royal.
Author: Gary Sweeney