What Princess Anne's Role As The Gold-Stick-In-Waiting At The Coronation Means

Princess Anne of Great Britain will play a part in King Charles III's coronation set to take place on May 6, 2023 at Westminster Abbey in London. After the crowning ceremony, Princess Anne will be Gold-Stick-in-Waiting in her brother's procession back to Buckingham Palace, as the royal herself revealed in an interview with CBC News. The high-profile Gold-Stick-in-Waiting dates to the reign of King Henry VIII and is effectively the most trusted bodyguard of a British monarch, according to the U.K. Army website.

In the 16th century, King Henry VIII created the Gold Stick position out of fear his safety was at risk. Since then, the Silver-Stick-in-Waiting, a deputy of sorts to the Gold Stick, was added to the king's closest guard.  Princess Anne was colonel of the Blues and Royals in the Household Cavalry regiment (another prestigious British military designation) when Charles asked her to fulfill the role of Gold-Stick-in-Waiting at his crowning event — to which she agreed, according to her CBC chat.

Princess Anne never served in the military, but she still holds many honors, per royal tradition. The most recent came at the age of 70 when she was promoted to general in the British Army and air chief marshall in the Royal Air Force, People reports. In turn, as Gold-in-Stick-in-Waiting, named for the gold-headed ebony staff they carry, she'll wear her highly-decorated British military uniform. When the CBC asked about that attire, she said, "Not least of all, it solves my dress problem," referring to what might otherwise be worn to the ceremony.

Princess Anne will ride directly behind the king and queen

After King Charles III and Queen Camilla are crowned at Westminster, as Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, Princess Anne will ride on horseback directly behind the king and queen as their procession makes its way from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, the royal residence, according to Leading Britain's Conversation (LBC). Behind Anne will be thousands of active duty British service personnel.

Meanwhile, the Silver Stick in Charles' processions will be held by the Commander of the Household Cavalry, one of many positions in the Household Division of the British armed services, according to the Household Division website. These days both the Gold and Silver Stick typically only appear at such royal events as a king or queen's coronation. When asked to fulfill the duty for her brother, Princess Anne, who was 72 at the time of her brother's crowning, said she was incredibly honored.

A palace source told the Mirror, "[King Charles III] is rewarding the Princess Royal for her loyalty and her unwavering devotion to duty above all else. The King values his sister as a trusted lieutenant and this is the perfect example of such a relationship."

Princess Anne will also appear at the 'flypast'

At a bit more than a mile, the route back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster for Princess Anne as Gold-Stick-in-Waiting will be a return route along the same path the king and queen take from Buckingham Palace to Westminster: riding in the Gold State Coach down Parliament Street to Whitehall, through the Admiralty Arch, and across the Mall before finally arriving back at Buckingham, CNN explains.

Once there, Princess Anne will make one more appearance related to her brother's coronation, weather permitting: on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for a six-minute "flypast" by aircraft from the British Royal Air Force (RAF), typically called a "flyover" at special events in the U.S. King Charles III's coronation is expected to be a more streamlined and scaled-down affair compared to Queen Elizabeth II's crowning ceremony.

Some 2,000 people will reportedly attend the coronation, down from 8,000 at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, according to USA Today. Still, thousands are expected to come out to watch the procession both to and from Westminster Abbey. Though smaller, a royal source told the Mirror, "The Coronation procession will be an incredible sight to behold. With many hundreds of millions watching across the world, it really will be an event for the ages."