As King Charles III’s May 6 coronation draws nearer, the logistical details are getting hashed out, and on Sunday, Buckingham Palace announced that there will be a few changes to tradition in the name of comfort. On his ride to Westminster Abbey that morning, he and Queen Camilla will take the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, built in Australia in 2014, instead of the traditional Gold State Coach. According to Hello, there are a few advantages of the new carriage, including shock absorbers, more comfortable seats, and air conditioning. They will also travel a shorter route with a smaller entourage than Queen Elizabeth II did in 1953.
The newer coach has modern comforts, but it also features plenty of details that honor the past. “It’s a real microcosm of British and world history,” Sally Goodsir, curator at the Royal Collections Trust, told the outlet. “The interior is inlaid with specimen woods from places such as Balmoral Castle, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, but also from places deeply associated with British and world history, there is a fragment of Florence Nightingale’s dress, for example.”
On the way back from the Abbey, however, Charles and Camilla will take a ride in the famously uncomfortable Gold State Coach. In 2018, the late queen discussed the “horrible” ride on her coronation morning in an interview with the BBC. “It’s only sprung on leather, not very comfortable,” she said. “It is sort of a pageant of chivalry and old-fashioned way of doing things really.” Instead of the 5 mile return trip in 1953, this year’s trip will be only 1.3 miles.
On Sunday, the palace also announced that they were arranging for a special private viewing of the coronation in St. Margaret’s Church for 400 young people who are connected to a handful of charities, including the Prince’s Trust, the National Literacy Trust, which counts Camilla as its patron, and the Scouts Association. The smaller church is next door to Westminster Abbey, and the guests will be able to watch the coronation procession when it departs.
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