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The historic first for King Charles as Queen Camilla is crowned

The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla will make history for the Monarch in more ways than one. For this will be the first time in British history that a king called Charles has seen his consort crowned.

Although The King is the third to rule with this name, neither of his predecessors called Charles held coronations for their wives. And both forewent the ceremony for the same reason. Both King Charles I and King Charles II were married to Catholics and their wives weren’t allowed to take part in Church of England ceremonies.

In June 1625, just three months after he had succeeded his father as King, Charles I was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Watching, at a very discreet distance, was his new wife, Henrietta Maria of France. The couple had been married by proxy the month before but there was never a real chance of Queen Henrietta Maria being crowned. Anti French sentiment ran high in England at the time but, more importantly, the new consort was a Catholic and was barred from Anglican ceremonies. A suggestion that she might be crowned by a French Catholic bishop was soon dismissed. Henrietta Maria became the first queen consort to go without a coronation since Katherine Parr, almost a century earlier.

It was an unhappy start to an unhappy reign. King Charles I ended up at war with Parliament and lost his head in 1649, with his throne abolished. His son and heir went into hiding and exile but in 1660, the Restoration of the Monarchy put him on the throne as King Charles II. Two years later he married, choosing as his bride Catherine of Braganza. The new queen was deeply religious but, again, she was a Roman Catholic and so could not go through an Anglican coronation. Queen Catherine proved far more popular than her mother in law, despite ongoing religious intolerance. But despite winning hearts, she never won a crown as her faith always barred her from a coronation.

The name, Charles, hadn’t been used by a monarch for almost 350 years. However, the accession of King Charles III on September 8th 2022 changed that while his Coronation, on May 6th 2023, will alter another quirk of history. For the first time, a King called Charles will see his consort crowned. Queen Camilla will make a history all of her own.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.