The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, and Her Majesty, The Queen Consort, will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023. The Coronation Service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. For Teachers of English in schools around the world and TEFL/ESOL teachers, this provides an opportunity for fun and celebration in which the English our students have been learning can be put to good use.
Over the weekend from 6 May to 8 May there will be four main parts to the Coronation celebrations in Britain, all of which could inspire classroom or whole school activities. Following the Coronation itself on Saturday, Sunday will see the Coronation Big Lunch, at which neighbours and communities are invited to share food and fun together and, in the evening, a special Coronation Concert will be staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle by the BBC. On Monday 8 May, there will be an event called ‘The Big Help Out’. The Big Help Out aims to encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join volunteering projects in their local areas. It is hoped this will create a lasting legacy from the Coronation weekend.
In this article, we will provide a list of suggested classroom activities for English Teachers and a downloadable biography of King Charles that teachers can adapt for comprehension and other activities.
Postcard from London (Writing activity, adaptable for elementary and intermediate levels of English).
Ask your students to imagine they are in London for the coronation. What would they see, hear and feel as part of the crowd? You could ask your students to focus on the Coronation Service itself (perhaps they have been invited to Westminster Abbey) or to describe the whole weekend.
Newspaper/Magazine Report (B1+)
A more nuanced and testing version of the postcard from London activity. This time the students have to write an imaginary report about the Coronation events for their newspaper. This could include interviews and opinions about the events being reported.
TV News Report (Drama, mixed abilities)
Rather than write a news report ask your students to act out scenes from the weekend’s events, including the Coronation itself and interviews with guests and tourists.
The Biography Of King Charles Student’s Research (B1 and above)
King Charles has had an interesting life. He was heir to the throne longer than anyone else in history before becoming king. There are numerous books and articles available online which describe his life story. For intermediate and more advanced students there are many possibilities for research projects. It might be useful to ask your students to look critically at particular aspects of his life rather than attempt a complete biography. The relationship between him and Diana is always a popular theme but possibly research into his life in the military or his views on the environment would be more interesting.
Presentations, Posters and PowerPoints (Mixed Abilities)
The results of any research projects can be used as the basis for presentations using posters or PowerPoints according to ability and materials available. This also gives less gifted students of English the chance to demonstrate their flair for technology, art and design.
The Biography of King Charles Reading Comprehension/Gap Fill Text (Mixed Abilities)
We have produced a short biography of King Charles which you can download at the end of this article. You can adapt the text to meet the needs and abilities of your students. Perhaps blank out vocabulary you want them to learn or focus on, creating your own gap-fill text. Alternatively frame comprehension questions suitable for your student’s levels in writing or orally to test your student’s comprehension of the text.
Royal Family Tree (A1-B1)
The British Royal Family provide a convenient template for looking at family trees and the vocabulary needed to describe relationships between family members. Various versions of the Royal Family Tree can be found online or in textbooks. Using the Royal Family as an example also avoids students from having to confront anything in their own family relationships that they might be sensitive about.
The Crown Jewels (Mixed Abilities)
The Crown Jewels are among Britain’s most valuable treasures. They are kept and protected in the Tower of London. Some are used on State Occasions such as the Opening of Parliament, but others are only used during Coronations. The Coronation of King Charles provides an opportunity for projects and artwork based on the Crown Jewels. While older students might want to look into the history and value of some of the most precious jewels kept in the tower, younger students might like to make their own jewels to use in a dramatic recreation of the coronation. The Historic Royal Palaces website has some easily digestible information about the Crown Jewels as well as a page dedicated to the history and traditions of Coronations.
Quizzes (Mixed Abilities)
Many websites offer quizzes about the Royal Family or the Coronation of King Charles in particular. You could also compose your own quiz based on the biography of King Charles which you can download at the end of this article, or you could ask your students to create quizzes based on their own research projects. If your students enjoy engaging with technology and using their phones, why not get them to create a Kahoot quiz for the rest of the class or the school?
The Coronation Service
Tenses (Mixed Abilities)
Writing or speaking about the coronation service itself could be a nice way to revise basic tenses. The past simple tense can be used to talk about coronations of the past. Explaining what will happen at this year’s coronation provides an opportunity to use future forms. Watching or acting out a version of the Coronation of King Charles will highlight use of the present simple and continuous in the commentary of what is happening as we watch.
Of course, Charles is not the first member of the Royal Family to be crowned in a State Ceremony. Some of your students may be interested to compare his coronation with that of his mother, Queen Elisabeth II, which also provides an opportunity to use comparative forms. Other students may want to look further into the long history of Royal Coronations in Britain.
Writing Invitations (A1+)
A nice activity for younger students is to make and write invitations to The Coronation. A variety of real invitations to the various coronation events can be found online to use as examples. Some have very intricate and elaborate designs which might inspire learners with artistic flair. They can then think about who would they invite, and why? For slightly older or more advanced students this is an opportunity to differentiate and use more formal English.
Who is involved? (B1+)
The Coronation of King Charles will be conducted by The Archbishop of Canterbury. Who is he? What is the relationship between the Church of England and the British State? What other officials are involved in the ceremony? Who are the main guests?
Class King and Queen (A2+)
Perhaps you could elect a Class King and Queen to re-enact the coronation. Or the Class King and Queen could be decided by the best presentation or winners of a quiz. Depending on the ages and levels of ability of the students you are teaching, there is scope for drama and creative work. Possibly the class King and Queen could have special privileges for the day. The class could discuss in advance what those privileges should be.
Coronation Big Lunch (Mixed Abilities)
The Big Lunch will be the main way in which the British public share in the Coronation festivities. Street Parties will be held in local neighbourhoods, food and drink served and there will be music and games. Perhaps you could organise a Big Lunch at your school or in your class. Younger students can make bunting and decorations. Older students could prepare and serve some typical British food and drinks.
Coronation Concert (Mixed Abilities)
The Coronation Concert will be the main event on Sunday Evening. It will be attended by volunteers from the many charities the King and Queen Consort support as well as members of the public who have won tickets in a lottery. While the full lineup has not yet been published, it has been stated that a world-class orchestra will accompany some of the world’s most famous singers and entertainers. How would your students arrange a concert for all ages? Which artists would they book? Britain has a rich history in popular music; maybe your students could research the artists they would like to see play at the concert. Perhaps they could learn and perform some popular British songs.
The Big Help Out
The Big Help Out is an event aimed at getting people involved in charity and voluntary work. It will take place on Monday 8 May which will be a holiday in Britain. More information and a short film in simple English which highlights the ethnic diversity of Britain and explains the event can be found at the event website.
According to their website, “There will be opportunities for everyone to join in. No matter what you are good at, there’ll be something to suit helping hands of all shapes and sizes! From checking in on someone who’d like a bit of company or volunteering for a charity the more of us who join in, the bigger help we will be.” Perhaps your class or your school could also get involved in the Big Help Out itself, or a local project to help your local community.
Of course, the list above is not exhaustive but we hope it might give you some inspiration wherever you teach. If you have some of your own ideas to share, please do so in the comments below. Meanwhile, we hope you will find the downloadable biography of King Charles useful. It is designed to be easily adaptable to a variety of uses and levels of ability.