4 May 2023

Canberra to turn purple to celebrate coronation of King Charles III

| James Coleman
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Government House lit in purple light

Government House lit up purple for Queen’s Jubilee 2022. Photo: Australian Government.

Canberra will be lighting up purple over the weekend to mark the coronation of a new head of state.

The list of national institutions and icons to royally colour their facades over 6 and 7 May include Parliament House, Captain Cook Memorial Jet, National Carillon, National Museum of Australia, Questacon, Telstra Tower and even light-rail stops.

The coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty The Queen Consort Camilla takes place in London on Saturday morning (8 pm in south-eastern Australia).

The tradition of royal purple illuminations began with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022. The particular shade – ‘Royal Purple’ – is known as ‘Pantone colour 3515C’ in the design industry and traces its roots back to when the colour could only be made by crushing the shells of a certain species of sea snail, extracting its purple mucus and then exposing it to the sun for a specific period. It was rare and expensive (and also looks better than it sounds when finished).

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Celebrations in Canberra will continue with a 21-gun salute on the forecourt of Australian Parliament House on Sunday, 7 May, at 3 pm and a flypast by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Then-prince Charles and his wife Camilla (the Duchess of Cornwall) were last here on a flying visit in 2018 when they laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial during a Remembrance Day service.

Camilla went on to hunt for truffles at French Black Truffles of Canberra in the Majura Valley, while Charles visited the National Museum. Both visited the National Arboretum to plant two freefall pin oak trees, accompanied by Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Five years on and War Memorial Director Matt Anderson described the coronation as “a watershed moment”.

“Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia and the Memorial many times, as has the King,” he said.

“The Australian War Memorial is honoured to play a part in celebrating this historic occasion for the Royal Family, the United Kingdom and the entire Commonwealth. This moment shows the importance of continuity.”

The King, former Prince of Wales, was four years gold at his mother’s coronation, held in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. While he automatically became King on the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, Charles will be presented with royal ceremonial objects – including the Crown Jewels – and have the crown placed on his head at the coronation ceremony.

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived in London on Tuesday morning local time to meet with King Charles ahead of the coronation. During an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan later that day, Mr Albanese also confirmed he would take the oath of allegiance.

“Australians made a choice in 1999, and one of the things that you’ve got to do is to accept democratic outcomes,” he said, referencing the 1999 referendum.

The Prime Minister is part of an Australia contingent that also includes Governor-General David Hurley, the state governors, Julie Bishop and Australian flag bearer Sam Kerr.

Musician Nick Cave, comedian Adam Hills, nurse Emily Regan, Indigenous art curator Jasmine Coe, youth advocate Yasmin Poole and 2022 Young Australian of the Year Dr Daniel Nour will also attend.

Queen Elizabeth coronation

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip after the coronation ceremony on 2 June 1953. Photo: Public Domain.

The ceremony will be televised by all the major news outlets. The ABC’s coverage will start at 5 pm (ahead of the King’s Procession at 7:30 pm) and end shortly after 10:30 pm with the Royal Family’s Buckingham Palace balcony appearance.

People watching from home will be invited to take part in proceedings for the first time by swearing allegiance to the new King in the ‘homage of the people’ section.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will read the homage for viewers to recite after Charles and Camilla are crowned.

“I call upon all persons of goodwill in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of the other Realms and the Territories, to make their homage, in heart and voice, to their undoubted King, defender of all,” the Archbishop of Canterbury will say.

The public is then asked to say: “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.”

The Archbishop will then conclude with “God save The King”, to which the public is asked to respond: “God save King Charles, long live King Charles, may The King live forever”.

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