How coronation traditions vary around the world from using a ceremonial umbrella to drinking from coconut shells | The Sun

IN Britain, they're grand ceremonies with plenty of pageantry, pomp and flashy regalia.

But coronations – the formal investiture of monarchs – look pretty different around the world.

In Thailand, for example, a sacred umbrella with nine tiers is handed over, signifying the authority of the new ruler.

Water is also collected from more than 100 sources across the country between the times 11.52am and 12.38pm – a period considered significant in Thai astrology.

Sacred rice, sake and fish hold a key role in Japan, and a golden stool which can't touch the ground is pivotal in Ashanti culture in Ghana, West Africa.

All are in stark contrast to the stripped back nature of services across most of Europe, where there are often no crowns in sight.


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Instead, the monarch's formal installation requires only a solemn oath or public announcement.

This is the case for Belgium, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands.

Luxembourg ceremonies are similarly simple, with a short enthronement held in the nation's parliament.

Once lavish, Sweden also now opts for an uncomplicated affair – but it is known for doing other elements a little differently.

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The soon-to-be head of state stands next to the royal regalia, but never actually puts the crown on their head.

In 1973, for the regal assurance of Carl XVI Gustaf, the crown, orb, sceptre and key were displayed on cushions either side of the throne.

While the coronations are low-key, a certain Swedish pop group did play at the King's wedding.

ABBA belted out Dancing Queen in recognition of their future queen in 1976.

Like the UK, many nations outside of the EU still favour the more traditional "crowning" of their rulers.

One of the most extravagant examples is in Cambodia, where wreaths of jasmine, bundles of incense sticks and conch shell horns play an important part.

The process also involves a bath water ritual, as well as a calico coat, golden slippers, a sword, a crown and being carried on a golden chair.

But unlike his predecessors, the current king Norodom Sihamoni chose not to wear a crown during his coronation in 2004.

Some 2,000 miles away in Bhutan, monarchs are enthroned in a special Buddhist ceremony followed by an elaborate public display of pageantry involving dancing and banging drums to drive away evil spirits.

The precise date and time of the event is dictated by court astrologers who deem the most auspicious for a successful reign.

During the occasion, the new leader wears the Raven Crown – a hat featuring the national bird.

Elsewhere, in Tonga, celebrations in 2015 stretched over 11 days.

Tupou VI began by drinking "taumafa kava", dried and crushed kava plant root mixed with water in a coconut shell, followed by street parties, dinners and fashion shows.

The commemoration later saw the King and his wife crowned in a church ceremony, where he was anointed with holy oil.

The couple were then driven through the capital city Nukuʻalofa before a final military parade and firework display.

And for Zulu coronations, songs, chants, dances, prayers and bright colours feature prominently.

In 2022, when Misuzulu Zulu ascended to the throne, tens of thousands of people gathered at a football stadium in Durban, South Africa, to watch the first crowning in more than 50 years.

Photos from the Moses Mabhida Stadium look more like a rock concert than a royal ceremony.

So how will King Charles' big day compare?

The countdown is on to the 74-year-old's coronation on May 6.

The slimmed-down ceremony has been chosen to reflect a Britain enduring hard times.

It will be half the length of the late Queen's and the number of guests has also been slashed from 8,000 to 2,000.

However, the event will still be packed with pomp and pageant and cost the country around £100million.

Westminster Abbey – the venue for the deeply religious service – has shut its doors to visitors and is being prepped.

The Coronation Chair, which dates from around 1300 and on which the King will be crowned, will soon be carefully moved onto the Cosmati Pavement.

It will take centre stage facing the High Altar in the Sacrarium.

At some point – amid great security after previously being stolen – the ancient Stone of Destiny will be brought from Scotland to be placed under the chair, as is tradition.

Charles will wear six different robes throughout the ceremony, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as the St Edward's Crown, which is made of solid gold and features more than 400 gemstones.

The King, who will leave the Abbey wearing the Imperial State Crown, has asked for Greek Orthodox music to be played.

After the coronation, the King and Queen Consort will return to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach in the official procession before standing on the balcony with other senior members of the Royal Family.

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The 1.3-mile route will avoid large sections of London that were taken in during the five-mile Coronation procession in 1953.

More than 6,000 members of the armed forces will take part on the day.

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