King Charles III coronation: Westminster Abbey’s Cosmati Pavement to be opened to the public - there’s a catch

The mosaic floors of Westminster Abbey where King Charles III will be crowned on will be opened to visitors this summer - but there’s a catch.

To mark King Charles III’s coronation on May 6, the public have been invited to walk on Westminster Abbey’s mediaeval Cosmati Pavement - but there’s a strict dress code. Visitors gracing the mosaic floors must do so in their socks.

This is a part of a special programme of events confirmed by Westminster Abbey in the lead-up to the much-anticipated ceremony, such as the new guided tour. The ‘royal’ experience is scheduled to take place after the new head of state has been anointed.

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Participants in the tour will have the opportunity to learn about Westminster Abbey’s links to the royal family, as the guide tells stories from coronation ceremonies past and present. There will also be the chance to visit the famous Coronation Chair.

Scott Craddock, the head of visitor experience at Westminster Abbey, said: “The coronation will be a joyous and significant moment for the nation, and for Westminster Abbey. We hope that our special programme of events and digital resources gives everyone an opportunity to join in with the celebrations.”

It marks the first time in living history that Westminster Abbey has invited the public to walk on the remarkable Cosmati Pavement flooring. Traditionally, it was only allowed to be viewed from the bottom of the High Altar steps.

But before members of the public step foot on the mosaic floors, they must first remove their shoes. The Cosmati Pavement is intricately made using marble, stone, glass, and metal and was commissioned by King Henry III - completed later in 1268.

Westminster Abbey’s mediaeval Cosmati Pavement can be walked on by the public for the first time in living memory - Credit: Getty ImagesWestminster Abbey’s mediaeval Cosmati Pavement can be walked on by the public for the first time in living memory - Credit: Getty Images
Westminster Abbey’s mediaeval Cosmati Pavement can be walked on by the public for the first time in living memory - Credit: Getty Images | Getty Images

Small groups of 10 lucky people will be taken to the floor and asked to remove their shoes to protect its surface. The tours will run on selected days, starting from May 15 to July 29, and will cost £15 plus entry to Westminster Abbey per person.

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