Coronation exhibition opens in the Chapter House

Thursday, 6th April 2023

Coronation exhibition opens in the Chapter House

A new exhibition opens on Saturday 8th April exploring the thousand-year history of coronations at Westminster Abbey and revealing the key elements in this ancient royal ceremony.

The exhibition runs in the medieval Chapter House until the end of September, and admission is free with entry to the Abbey.

The nation’s Coronation Church

Kings and queens have been crowned in the Abbey for almost a millennium in a ceremony which is both a solemn religious occasion and a moment of national celebration.

The exhibition uses historic illustrations and archive photography to reveal the elements of the coronation service which have remained largely unchanged through the centuries, including the oath-taking, anointing, investing and crowning. It also takes a closer look at some of the key artefacts which remain central to the ceremony, from the ancient Coronation Chair to the royal regalia.

Dr Susan Jenkins, the Abbey’s Curator, said: ‘Westminster Abbey was designed as a setting for coronations, but few people now remember the last one, which took place seventy years ago. This focused display in the Abbey’s beautiful thirteenth-century Chapter House provides an overview of the traditional elements that make up every coronation service’.

A summer of celebrations

The exhibition is part of a season of special events at the Abbey to celebrate the coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort here on 6th May. Themed lates evenings will be held on selected Wednesdays until July, with music, dance, poetry and costumed interpretation. Families can take part in crown making, storytelling and tours of the Abbey on selected Saturdays and during school holidays. And the Cellarium Café, set just off the Abbey's medieval cloisters, is serving a special coronation afternoon tea until 31st July.

More about coronations

Discover more about the history of coronations at the Abbey and find out about upcoming events.