Dancers, dignitaries, a brass band fanfare, a velvet robe trimmed in rare furs—and a crown heavy with dazzling jewels. On display is more than the new king: a coronation is an exercise of a country’s power and wealth, as well as a show of the state’s stability.
For the first time in 70 years, the United Kingdom will crown a new monarch, King Charles III. Though today the royal family’s power is predominantly ceremonial, the ceremony has remained largely unchanged in the past thousand years.
From Africa to Polynesia, National Geographic has been there to witness the ascension of many rulers dating back to the early 20th century. Here are some of the most memorable photos from our archive.