Prince Charles has been the heir apparent to the throne of Great Britain since he was three years old, and he was just four when he sat between his grandmother, the Queen mother, and his aunt, Princess Margaret, at his mother's coronation in 1953.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Charles, and Princess Margaret.
When Prince Charles one day becomes the King of the United Kingdom the wheels of tradition will be set in motion almost immediately.
Essentially, "the moment the Queen dies, Charles will be King," British and European royalty expert Marlene Koenig tells Town & Country. "After the Royal Family is informed [of the Queen's death], the prime minister and the government are told of the sovereign's death. Parliament will go into session to meet... and begin the process of affirming allegiances."
First, a special counsel will gather at St. James Palace in Westminster to handle the process of accession, when a new sovereign takes the throne upon the death of the previous king or queen.
But Charles official coronation won't actually take place for at least a few months after the accession, following a period of mourning. The Queen's own coronation took place on June 2, 1953, over a year after her accession on February 6, 1952.
"For more than 900 years, the coronation of a sovereign has taken place at Westminster Abbey," says Koenig. "It is a long service. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the officiant and places a replica of St. Edward's crown from 1689 on the sovereign's head."
During the ceremony, Charles will take the coronation oath to "rule according to law, to exercise justice with mercy - promises symbolised [sic] by the four swords in the coronation regalia (the Crown Jewels) - and to maintain the Church of England," according to the royal family's website.
He is then "anointed, blessed and consecrated," by the Archbishop and receives the orb and scepters. After homage is paid by the Archbishop of Canterbury and senior peers, Holy Communion is celebrated.
Although the "major elements of the Coronation will not change," says Koenig, "it has been suggested that his coronation will include elements from other faiths in the U.K. and Commonwealth. The service will remain a Church of England service, but other religious leaders could give readings, for example."
Queen Elizabeth during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Though Prince Charles will be in his 70s (or perhaps 80s) when he ascends to the throne, he has said that he will look to his mother's example as a 25-year-old new Queen. When Charles re-watched footage of his mother's 1953 coronation nearly 60 years later in 2012, he said had "amazing poise" and "natural grace," reports The Guardian.
True to form, Queen Elizabeth was prepared for the big day. According to the publication, Charles remembers his mom rehearsing in advance. "I remember my Mama coming, you know, up, when we were being bathed as children, wearing the crown. It was quite funny – practising [sic]," he said.
After Charles, the line of succession goes as follows: Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and Prince Harry.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.