King Charles III is set to officially assume the throne in a deeply religious ceremony on Saturday, eight months after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.
More than 2,000 guests are expected to attend the British monarchy’s 39th coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Here’s a list of who’s attending the coronation, how it’ll compare with Queen Elizabeth’s and how viewers can watch the ceremony.
Who is attending the coronation from the U.S.?
First lady Jill Biden will attend King Charles’ crowning, though President Joe Biden will not — no U.S. president has attended a coronation. Biden did attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September.
Laura Beers, a professor of British history at American University, said historically, it was logistically hard for a president to travel overseas to a coronation. Beers also said that U.S. presidents didn’t attend events such as coronations as a result of the country’s independence from the rule of the United Kingdom.
“It wasn’t really a place for the U.S. president. And I think Biden is keeping with that tradition,” Beers said. “It doesn’t have anything to do about U.S. foreign policies towards Britain, about the nature of the special relationship or anything. It’s just this is a British and Commonwealth affair.”
The U.S. delegation, led by Jill Biden, will also include special climate envoy John Kerry, who has worked with Charles on climate initiatives.
Prince Harry will also attend the coronation but won’t play a role in the ceremony. Harry’s wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is staying in California with their children.
Singers and “American Idol” judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry will perform at King Charles’ coronation concert on Sunday. Both serve as ambassadors for the king’s charities: Richie for The Prince’s Trust, which the king established in 1976 to provide for disadvantaged youth, and Perry for the British Asian Trust, co-founded by King Charles to tackle poverty in South Asia.
How will it compare with Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation?
King Charles’ coronation — while still expected to be grand — will be a shadow of the pomp and circumstance seen in 1953 at the coronation of his late mother.
More than 8,000 attendees packed the overcrowded Westminster Abbey for the queen’s coronation service, including every leading member of the nobility, members of Parliament and foreign representatives from over 100 countries, many of which were part of the British Commonwealth.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent a special delegation of four members in his place.
The ceremony was almost three hours long, and the procession back to Buckingham Palace covered more than four miles through London. Over 16,000 individuals participated in the procession.
Most of the typical members of nobility that have traditionally been invited to coronations over the past 1,000 years have been left off the guest list, though foreign royalty, members of Parliament and heads of states such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be present.
While King Charles’ coronation will certainly be pared back compared with his mother’s, the core aspects will remain the same as they have been since Charles’ direct ancestor, English King William the Conqueror, became the first monarch to be crowned in Westminster Abbey in 1066. Charles will be crowned using regalia dating back to the 17th century and will sit in the coronation chair used by every English, and eventually British, monarch since the 1200s.
“In many ways, what’s most remarkable about British pageantry is the way it doesn’t change; there’s actually probably more that’s similar than different about this coronation and its predecessor,” Beers said.
How can viewers watch the coronation from the U.S.?
In one way, King Charles’ coronation is set to eclipse his mother’s: He’s likely to get more viewers through streaming. The ceremony can be viewed in the U.S. on several channels, including ABC News, CBS, CNN, Fox News, BBC News Channel and NBC at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday. The service will also be livestreamed.
The late queen’s ceremony was described by the BBC as “the event that did more than any other to make television a mainstream medium.” More than 27 million people in the United Kingdom are estimated to have watched the first-ever televised coronation, though this number will likely be a fraction compared with how many people around the world will eventually view her son’s.
The late queen’s funeral last year was estimated to have been viewed by billions of people globally, and the coronation may benefit from similar interest.