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British Royals

A King at his Coronation: the outfit worn by King Charles III

King Charles III was resplendent throughout his Coronation ceremony, changing his outfit several times to denote different aspects of the service that saw him anointed and crowned.

When first arriving at Westminster Abbey, King Charles sported the Robe of State with a Coronation Tunic, a cream silk overshirt, and trousers from the Royal Navy.

The Robe of State was last worn by King George VI in 1937, and is fashioned of crimson velvet. The Royal School of Needlework worked on conservation for the Robe; Ede and Ravenscroft worked on conserving the lining and the gold lace.

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The Robe of State is only worn at the beginning of the Sovereign’s Coronation ceremony, but is then used again for State Openings of Parliament

King Charles’s Coronation Tunic and cream overshirt were designed and inspired by those worn by King George V and King George VI. The Coronation Tunic was made with Order of the Bath crimson satin and gold artillery lace. The collar and cuff of the King’s overshirt—designed by Turnbull & Asser—features oak leaves and acorns.

BBC still/ fair use

In perhaps the most ordinary clothing worn by King Charles for the service, his Royal Navy trousers are simply his own Royal Navy trousers, worn frequently at official events when he’s dressed in his full ceremonial tailcoat.

Other vestments King Charles wore include the Colobium Sindonis, the Supertunica, the Coronation Sword Belt, and the Coronation Glove, but for his departure from Westminster Abbey, he wore the Robe of Estate and another Coronation Tunic, this time purple instead of crimson.

BBC still/ fair use

Buckingham Palace notes that the Robe of Estate was made in 1937 for King George VI, and is purple silk velvet with gold embroidery. Once again, Ede and Ravenscroft worked on conservation surrounding the Robe to ensure it was safe to wear.

The Purple Coronation Tunic was newly designed for King Charles III but inspired by those worn by King George V and King George VI. Ede and Ravenscroft designed it with purple satin and gold artillery lace.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.