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Westminster Abbey
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Westminster Abbey
World News

Fit for a King - ancient Coronation spot open to public for first time in generations

by Donna Birrell

For the first time in generations visitors to Westminster Abbey will soon be able to stand on the exact spot where King Charles III will be crowned.

Shoes are not allowed and people can only stroll around in socks to protect the mosaic floor - which dates back to the 13th century.

Known as the Cosmati pavement after the Italian family which developed the intricate style of elaborate stone and marble inlays, it is located in front of the High Altar. The design depicts the universe with a globe at its centre.

The pavement was commissioned by Henry III and completed in 1268 as the glittering adornment of his Abbey. It has been the coronation site for more than 700 years and is considered the best surviving example of Cosmati stonework outside Italy.

The floor has been hidden for 150 years and covered by carpet for many previous coronations including that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and King George VI in 1937. A two-year programme of conservation work was completed by the Abbey in 2010.

Guided tours of the pavement will begin on May 15th and continue until the end of July. A spokesperson for the Abbey said:

"It will be the first time in living memory that the Abbey has invited visitors to walk on the Cosmati pavement where the Coronation Chair will be placed for the crowning of HM The King on Saturday 6 May."




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