The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony (specifically, initiation rite) in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia. It corresponds to coronation ceremonies that formerly occurred in other European monarchies, which have currently abandoned coronations in favour of inauguration or enthronement ceremonies.
The coronation usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch, as it is considered a joyous occasion that would be inappropriate when mourning still continues. This also gives planners enough time to complete the elaborate arrangements required. For example, Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953, despite having ascended the throne on 6 February 1952, the instant her father died. The throne is not left vacant and the new monarch succeeds the old one immediately.
The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior cleric of the Church of England. Other clergy and members of the nobility also have roles; most participants in the ceremony are required to wear ceremonial uniforms or robes. Many other government officials and guests attend, including representatives of foreign countries.
The essential elements of the coronation have remained largely unchanged for the past thousand years. The sovereign is first presented to, and acclaimed by, the people. He or she then swears an oath to uphold the law and the Church. Following that, the monarch is anointed with oil, crowned, and invested with the regalia, before receiving the homage of his or her subjects.
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