Hidden Meanings In King Charles III's Coronation Emblem Explained

When Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, her son, Charles, automatically became the king of England. However, tradition dictates that a ruler has a coronation to crown them as the new monarch formally. With that said, King Charles III's coronation will occur on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at London's Westminster Abbey. As the last coronation occurred in 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, this is both a monumental and a historical global event. In fact, celebrations will continue in England until May 8 and include a special concert at Windsor Castle, a Big Lunch, and more.

In preparation for the big day, the Royal Family revealed Charles' coronation emblem on social media in February 2023. They note that the emblem will be used to represent the new monarch throughout May, during celebrations for the coronation, and of course, on merchandise. Sir Jony Ive KBE and his art collective LoveFrom conceived the idea for the emblem. Ive is not a newcomer to design — he was formerly the chief design officer at Apple and has received several accolades.

Of the Emblem, Ive stated (via The Royal Family), "It is such an honor to be able to contribute to this remarkable national occasion, and our team is so very proud of this work." In honor of the Union Jack Flag, the emblem includes the colors red, white, and blue. Likewise, the outline of St Edward's Crown is front and center. This crown dates back to 1661 and is only used during coronation ceremonies, including King Charles III's.

The coronation emblem emphasizes nature

At its core, King Charles III's coronation emblem denotes his appreciation of nature and dedication to serving the United Kingdom. Notably, the emblem has various flowers that Sir Jony Ive says tell a story. They include an English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Welsh daffodil, and the Northern Irish shamrock. These flowers represent the four countries that make up the United Kingdom and symbolically intertwine with the outline of St Edward's Crown. Ive explained further and said (via The Royal Family), "The design was inspired by King Charles' love of the planet, nature, and his deep concern for the natural world."

Charles is an environmentalist and has been since the 1970s. He is known for encouraging sustainability and other environmentally friendly endeavors. Moreover, he's publicly discussed global warming, including at Scotland's 2021 COP26 climate summit. There, he gave a speech and said it was possible to reverse the effects if global warming. Charles stated that (per WIRED) "restoring natural capital, accelerating nature-based solutions, and leveraging the circular bioeconomy will be vital to our efforts."

Although Charles has to remain politically neutral about environmentalism, it's widely believed he will still champion and support ecological approaches. Ive agrees and told The Royal Family that his design is all about renewal. He said, "The emblem speaks to the happy optimism of spring and celebrates the beginning of this new Carolean era for the United Kingdom. The gentle modesty of these natural forms combine to define an emblem that acknowledges both the joyful and profound importance of this occasion."

King Charles III's coronation will differ from Queen Elizabeth II's

According to the BBC, Buckingham Palace notes that King Charles' coronation will be "rooted in long-standing traditions" and "reflect the monarch's role today and look towards the future." The outlet explains that it will also be a minor occasion compared to Queen Elizabeth II's 1953 coronation. Her coronation lasted three hours, had 8,000 attendees, and cost the UK government nearly $54 million. In contrast, the Daily Mail reported that Charles' coronation would last less than two hours and have only 2,000 guests. At the time of this publication, the price of his coronation remains unknown. Furthermore, the dress code and other traditions are expected to be modernized to appeal to a broader audience.

As one unnamed source told the Daily Mail, "The King has stripped back a lot of the Coronation in recognition that the world has changed in the past 70 years." Beyond these alterations, Camila, Charles' wife, will also be crowned Queen Consort at the coronation. This last occurred in 1937 when Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was crowned after George VI's coronation. Camila will wear Queen Mary's crown from 1911.

Like the meaning behind Charles' coronation emblem, Buckingham Palace cited that the decision to reuse a crown is based on environmentalism. It said (via The Guardian), "The choice of Queen Mary's crown by her majesty is the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the coronation of a consort instead of a new commission being made, in the interests of sustainability and efficiency."