Coronation : Westminster Abbey invites Londoners to stand where King Charles will be crowned - in their socks

The 13th century mosaic Cosmati pavement will be on display for the King’s coronation in May
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Westminster Abbey is inviting the public to walk across its famed Cosmati pavement for the first time, but only if you remove your shoes first.

The 13th century mosaic flooring is the best example of its type outside of Italy, and was covered up by carpet for many years before restoration work was completed in 2010.

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The Cosmati pavement sits at the top of Westminster Abbey, and has been the site for the coronation of kings and queens for more than 700 years.

Members of the public will be able to walk across the hallowed mosaic stones for a 10-week period following the King’s coronation from 15 May to 29 July.

The cost of a guided tour along with the chance to walk across the pavement will be £15, and visitors must also pay for entry to the abbey.

The Cosmati pavement, located before the altar at Westminster Abbey (Photo: PA)The Cosmati pavement, located before the altar at Westminster Abbey (Photo: PA)
The Cosmati pavement, located before the altar at Westminster Abbey (Photo: PA)

Organisers expect demand to be high and recommend pre-booking the experience, which may not be offered again.

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The Cosmati pavement is named after the Cosmati family from Italy, whose work on mosaic floors from the 12th and 13th centuries is still widely celebrated today.

The pavement inside the Westminster Abbey was commissioned by Henry III in 1268 and is comprised of marble, stone, glass and metal.

The famed mosaic was previously covered up for the coronations of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and King George VI in 1937 due to the damage it had sustained over the years.

It even includes a cryptic inscription predicting the end of the world, which it expects to last for 19,683 years, and calculates this using a riddle based on the lifespans of various animals such as dogs, horses, humans, eagles and whales.

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Head of visitor experience at the abbey Scott Craddock 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.”

Those wishing to go barefoot on the pavement will be disappointed as socks will reportedly be required to avoid the 12th century mosaic from becoming “sticky”.

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