Before the glory of his coronation weekend, King Charles III visited Parliament Tuesday, to get a reminder that the monarch’s power has limits.
Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, attended a reception for lawmakers, most of whom haven’t been able to snag a ticket to Saturday’s coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
The royal couple also had the chance to see a 300-year-old gilded coach that ferried the speakers of the House of Commons to coronations and royal weddings. But not anymore.
On Saturday, the carriage will remain in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where it is on public display.
Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle will walk the few hundred yards (meters) to the abbey for the coronation, clad in full ceremonial dress including lace jabot and cuffs, and preceded by a sergeant-at-arms carrying the ornamental mace from the House chamber.
While Britain’s elected lawmakers take a back seat during royal events, the monarch faces restrictions in Parliament.
The king can visit Westminster Hall – the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament, remnant of the medieval palace that once stood here – but may not enter the House of Commons.
Ever since King Charles I tried to arrest lawmakers in 1642 and ended up deposed, tried and beheaded, the monarch has been barred from the Commons chamber.