The Coronation of King Charles III. Listening Comprehension Exercise.

This listening comprehension exercise about the coronation of King Charles III is part of a complete Upper Intermediate English course. There is a transcript of the conversation in the “Materials” tab above.

The Coronation of King Charles III

Read the glossary of useful vocabulary and then watch the listening comprehension video about the coronation of King Charles III and and answer the questions below.

Glossary of Useful Vocabulary

MonarchA sovereign head of state, typically a king or queen.
ReignThe period of time during which a monarch rules.
Bank HolidayA public holiday in the United Kingdom and some other countries, typically on a Monday, when banks and many other businesses are closed.
AbbeyA religious building occupied by a community of monks or nuns, typically one that is major or historically important.
AnointTo smear or rub with oil or ointment as part of a religious ceremony.
BlessTo dedicate someone or something to a divine purpose, or to invoke divine favour upon them.
ConsecrateTo make something or someone sacred or dedicated to a religious purpose.
Swear (v)To make a solemn declaration or promise, often invoking a god or important person or text.
Pledge (n)A solemn promise or undertaking to do something or to refrain from doing something.
MonarchistSomeone who supports the idea of having a monarch as head of state.
RepublicanSomeone who supports a political system without a monarch, in which the power belongs to the people or their representatives.

Listening Comprehension Exercise

Now answer the questions below. You can use the numbered buttons to move between questions. When you have finished, click the “Finish” button.

Woman: Hey, do you know when King Charles III’s coronation is?

Man: Yeah, it’s on May 6th, 2023. That’s eight months after he became King on September 8th last year.

Woman: That’s a Saturday, right? When was the last time a coronation ceremony was held on a weekend?

Man: It was in 1902 when Edward VII was crowned King. I guess they finally realized that people need their weekends!

Woman: (laughs) That’s true! So, will people in the UK get a bank holiday for the coronation?

Man: Yes, they will! Since the coronation falls on a Saturday, the bank holiday will be on Monday, May 8th, two days after the service at Westminster Abbey.

Woman: Awesome! What time does the coronation start?

Man: It kicks off at 11am sharp.

Woman: And where will it take place?

Man: It will be held at Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct the ceremony. King Charles III will be crowned alongside his Queen Consort Camilla.

Woman:. How will they get there?

Man: They’ll travel from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach as part of the King’s Procession. The carriage looks traditional, but it’s equipped with air conditioning, electric windows, and modern suspension, so they won’t have to suffer!

Woman: Haha! That’s interesting! So, what will happen during the coronation ceremony?

Man: The monarch will pledge to be ‘defender of the faith’ in the coronation oath, but officials also plan to add a few more words that reflect Britain’s ethnic diversity and show that the King recognises his service to all religions. After that, the Archbishop will anoint, bless, and consecrate King Charles III before placing St Edward’s Crown on his head.

Woman: Anoint?

Man. Yes, it means to rub some oil on him, it’s part of the ceremony.

Woman: What? Like a massage?

Man: Oh no, not like that, just rub a little bit on his forehead.

Woman: And what about music?

Man: The Byzantine Chant Ensemble will play Greek Orthodox music in tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh, who was greek, and Andrew Lloyd Webber has been commissioned to compose the coronation anthem. King Charles III personally selected 12 musical pieces to play during the ceremony.

Woman: That doesn’t sound like my ideal playlist, but I suppose it’s not my coronation. How many guests will attend?

Man: Only 2,000 people will attend the ceremony for health and safety reasons. This includes politicians, representatives of the Church and the State, and leaders from around the Commonwealth. We regular folks can’t attend the ceremony inside the abbey.

Woman: Can commoners still see the King during the procession?

Man: Definitely! The procession will run for around 1.3 miles from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, and the royal family will gather on the balcony of the palace. Anyone can join in and catch a glimpse of the monarch. No tickets are required, but you’ll have to plan in advance to get a prime spot.

Woman: Will the coronation be shown on TV?

Man: Yes! The coronation will be broadcast live on TV all over the world. The BBC network will broadcast live from the ceremony on BBC One, Two, and iPlayer. You can also catch radio coverage on Radio 2, Radio 4, 5 Live, Radio 3, World Service, and BBC Sounds. Even better, the BBC is waiving its license fee for the weekend!

Woman: So it should be easy to watch then!

Man: Yes, and anyone watching, streaming or listening to Saturday’s service will be invited to recite a new “homage of the people,” sounding what organizers hope will form a “chorus of millions” from across the royal realm to mark the symbolic accession of Britain’s new king.

Woman: What will they need to do?

Man: They  need to say the words “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God,” That’s the pledge that the public will be invited to recite. It is the first time in history that all royal subjects have been able to formally participate in a coronation service in such a way, the organizers say that it’s an innovation only made possible by modern technology.

Woman: Will you be saying it?

Man: No, I’m not really interested in the royal family to be honest, I’m not really a monarchist and I don’t really like the idea of pledging allegiance like that.

Woman: So are you a republican?

Man: I don’t have strong feelings either way,  but I think that the monarchy is an anachronism, that it’s out of date. Charles in particular has a reputation for meddling in politics and public affairs and he wasn’t elected by anyone, so I don’t think he should be able to do that. The royals seem pretty miserable in their lives anyway, I’m not sure that the monarchy is good for anyone these days, apart from tourists.

Woman: Tourists do seem to love them. I saw something about the stone of scone arriving for the ceremony, that sounds delicious! What is it?

Man: Oh no, it isn’t a type of food. It’s the coronation stone upon which monarchs in Britain have been crowned for centuries, it reached London last Saturday after a journey from Scotland in a special carrier made from Scottish oak. It’s Also known as the Stone of Destiny and regarded as a sacred, historic symbol of Scotland’s monarchy and nationhood, it has been moved from its permanent home at Edinburgh Castle for the first time since 1996, to be used for Charles’ May  coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Woman: wow, how old is this stone?

Man: Nobody really knows, The stone’s origins are unknown, but it was believed to have been used in the inauguration of Scottish kings as far back as the early 9th century.