For King Charles’s Coronation, a Fancy Fish Pie Without the Fish

For most coronations over the past 800 years, the city of Gloucester in England has presented newly crowned monarchs with lamprey pies. Charles’s pie was different.

The coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort, on Saturday will involve many of the same ancient traditions that have been followed for nearly a thousand years. But some things will be new: The royal horse-drawn carriage will have air-conditioning. There will be an official coronation emoji issued by Buckingham Palace.

And, in a break with eight centuries of culinary tradition, a pie for the newly crowned monarch has been baked not with lampreys — slimy, jawless, eel-like fish with a single nostril — but with pork.

At a ceremony on Thursday in the city of Gloucester, about 100 miles northwest of London, Mayor Howard Hyman presented the pie to a representative for the king. Instead of actual lampreys, whose numbers in Britain have dwindled, the pie was decorated with two pastry lampreys. A third pastry lamprey had fallen off.

Charles’s representative, Lord-Lieutenant Edward Gillespie, accepted the pie on behalf of the king and donated it to a local charity focusing on hunger. He said that it was right that the tradition had been updated. “It would be inappropriate in these times to present lampreys to anybody,” Lord-Lieutenant Gillespie said after the ceremony. “He wouldn’t like it,” he said of the king.

It's a centuries-old tradition to present new British monarchs with lamprey pie. But the fish pie for the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday will contain no lampreys.

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