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Why King Charles III isn't going to wear a crown — yet

It might take months before the new king is crowned in a coronation ceremony.
/ Source: TODAY

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, her eldest son Charles automatically became king.

While he has now formally taken the throne following his Accession Ceremony, it may be some time before King Charles III takes on the signature sartorial flair of the monarch: A crown.

For that, we'll have to wait for King Charles III's coronation ceremony.

"The ceremony will be a huge deal," royal expert Daisy McAndrew told TODAY. "And difficult in a cost of living crisis." McAndrew also predicts that Charles' ceremony will attempt to be "very modern" and "inclusive."

Here's what we know about when that will take place.

What is a coronation ceremony?

During the coronation ceremony, Charles will be formally inaugurated into his position as sovereign.

The coronation is both a state and religious ceremony — taking place in Westminster Abbey as ceremonies have for the past nearly 1000 years, but organized and paid for by the government, per the BBC.

During the ceremony, the Archbishop of Canterbury will place the St. Edward's Crown on Charles' head. And, like his mother before him, Charles will take an oath.

Charles will also receive the orb and scepter, symbols of his new position and part of the crown jewels, housed in the Tower of London.

When is the coronation ceremony going to take place?

It might be a while, according to royal expert McAndrew. "No indication on date but I would say spring or summer of next year," she told TODAY.

We can look to precedent for insight. Elizabeth became queen in February 1952, after King George VI died. But it was over a year before her grand coronation at Westminster Abbey took place on June 2, 1953. Hers was the first coronation in history to be televised, with more than 20 million tuning in, per the BBC.

The queen’s death in Scotland launched Operation Unicorn, an official period of mourning in the U.K., which included ceremonial events like the Accession Ceremony, and concludes with her funeral. The coronation ceremony is not in the line-up.

What crown will he wear for the coronation?

St. Edward’s Crown is use for coronations. As the Royal Collection Trust website explains, the crown was first made for King Charles II in 1661. It is composed of solid gold and contains semi-precious stones of rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes and tourmalines.

St Edwards Crown
St Edward's Crown, The Coronation Crown Of England. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Following the coronation, the monarch wears the Imperial State Crown as they leave Westminster Abbey and during state occasions moving forward. The Royal Collection Trust says the gold frame crown contains 2868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls — including three "very large stones." The large diamond is called Cullinan II and weighs 317.40 carats.

The Imperial State Crown is one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom
The crown is adorned with 2,901 precious stones, including the Cullinan II diamond, St. Edward's Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire and the Black Prince's Ruby.Rob Wlham / Universal History Archive via Getty Images

Has Charles ever worn a crown before?

Charles, 73, has not worn an official crown in the past, but he has worn something close. During his investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969, he wore a coronet, or a small gold crown.

GBR: Queen Elizabeth II crowns Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales
Prince Charles kneels before Queen Elizabeth as she crowns him Prince of Wales at the Investiture at Caernarvon Castle on July 1, 1969 in Wales.Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

The headpiece was designed by Louis Osman specifically for Charles after Elizabeth's uncle Edward, the former Prince of Wales, took the coronet during his abdication in 1936.

And the coronet, which has a 24-carat gold base, has a few interesting, subtle features. For one, that ball at the top? It's actually a gold-plated ping-pong ball. Finally, 13 diamonds are arranged in the shape of the constellation Scorpio, Charles' star sign.