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King Charles to reuse golden coronation robes worn by his predecessors

King to reuse gold coronation robes
King to reuse gold coronation robes 01:30

London — When the world tunes in to watch the coronation of Britain's King Charles III on May 6, there may be a lot of eyes focused on what the monarch is wearing. The eco-minded king has decided to reuse several historic items on the big day, including some robes literally made of gold.  

"His majesty the king has decided to reuse pieces from the coronation of his grandfather, King George VI, in 1937," Caroline De Guitaut, Deputy Surveyor of the King's Works of Art, explained to CBS News.

Clothing the king for his big day takes precise planning, and that means readying the Coronation Vestments, including "two of the most significant pieces worn by the sovereign during the investiture" portion of the ancient coronation ceremony, said De Guitaut, showing off two golden robes that "haven't been worn for 70 years."

King George V in the three robes worn at the Coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey
King George V is depicted in the three robes worn at his coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey. From top, The Royal Crimson Robe of State, The Golden Imperial Mantle and the Royal Robe of Purple Velvet, as first depicted in The Illustrated London News, in 1910. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty

When King Charles is crowned at London's Westminster Abbey, he'll wear the same royal robes that his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, donned for her coronation in 1953.

A glittering, embroidered robe made of gold silk, called the Supertunica, will be worn under the Golden Imperial Mantle, which was first made for King George IV in 1821.

"It is woven from cloth of gold and embroidered with goldwork embroidery to a design which has a strong tradition," said De Guitaut.

The monarch was determined to make his coronation as sustainable as possible, and other historic items have also been dusted off and restored for the occasion.

King Charles III will wear a glittering, embroidered robe made of gold silk, called the Supertunica (left), under the Golden Imperial Mantle (right), which was first made for King George IV in 1821, for his May 6, 2023 coronation. CBS News

"We've got this wonderful, sustainable, eco-friendly king who's reusing something rather than having a new glove," said Deborah Moore, CEO of Dents Glovemakers.

Charles will wear the same coronation glove used by his grandfather nearly a century ago.

De Guitaut explained that the glove would be "placed on the king's right hand during the investiture" on Saturday.

The king will also reuse his grandfather's sword belt, which will be placed around the Supertunica.

The golden robes weigh about 13 pounds together, and the king's 9-year-old grandson, Prince George, will help carry them through Westminster Abbey as Charles walks to his throne for the crowning moment.

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