Princess Anne is set to play a major role in the upcoming Coronation of her older brother, King Charles, as his Gold-Stick-in-Waiting. This role is traditionally held by the Colonels of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals, and is entrusted with the monarch's personal safety. The Princess Royal will follow King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla's carriage on horseback and lead a procession of 6,000 armed forces personnel after the service at Westminster Abbey on May 6. The tradition of the Gold Stick dates back to the 15th century, where two rods made of gold and silver would be placed by the monarch to protect them from danger.
According to historian Marlene Koenig, the significance of Anne's role as the first woman to be named Colonel of the Blues and Royals, making her the first woman to be Gold Stick in waiting, is not lost on the royal family. Anne also has this role in the Trooping, making her an experienced and fitting choice for the role in the Coronation.
The news of Princess Anne's role left Koenig shedding “a few tears,” as she took to Twitter to express how lovely the choice was. Koenig also noted that the late queen would be pleased by the choice of Anne for the role, especially since she may have been the first to curtsey to Charles after the queen's death.
In addition to Princess Anne, Prince George, Charles' grandson, will also play a major part in the ceremony as one of His Majesty's pages of honour. The pages will carry the long trains of the King and Queen Consort's ceremonial robes and will form part of the procession through the nave of Westminster Abbey. Traditionally, teenage sons of the nobility are granted the role of Page of Honour and participate in major ceremonies involving the monarch, including coronations and the State Opening of Parliament.
The pages of honour wear a traditional scarlet frock coat with gold trimmings over a white satin waistcoat, breeches and hose, white gloves, black buckled shoes, and a lace cravat and ruffles.
The Coronation service will take place on May 6, and will be followed by the Big Lunch and a star-studded concert at Windsor Castle on May 7. Bank Holiday Monday has been set aside for The Big Help campaign, which aims to encourage people to volunteer in their local community. The Coronation of King Charles promises to be a grand and historic event, steeped in tradition and ceremonial pomp, with Princess Anne and Prince George taking on important roles in the proceedings.