Sand was not used to fill potholes along the coronation procession route

11 May 2023
What was claimed

Wet sand was used to fill multiple potholes along King Charles’s coronation procession route.

Our verdict

This is false. Westminster City Council says the sand was used to prevent horses from slipping on manhole, drain and inspection covers, but no potholes were filled.

Thousands of people have shared claims on social media that sand was used to fill potholes on the procession route for King Charles’ coronation. But this is not true.

Some of the claims we’ve seen circulating include what appears to be a screenshot of a since-deleted tweet, which has been shared by thousands of users on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It shows an aerial image of the procession in central London on 6 May with multiple patches of sand on the road surface. 

The text says: “Something very poetic about a king in a golden coach being driven over a load of potholes filled with wet sand because no one in his country has the money to fix the roads properly.” 

Others have made similar claims using slightly different images or no images at all

But Westminster City Council has confirmed that no potholes were filled with sand. It told Full Fact that the sand was instead used to cover any kind of manhole, drain or inspection covers, as well as inclines and sharp bends, to prevent horses from slipping. 

A council spokesperson said: “The sand is there to cover drains and inspection covers to help the horses move along the ceremonial route safely. We do this for other road surfaces too such as inclines or sharp turns.

“The council works closely with the armed forces ahead of major events such as this to ensure the safety of horses and soldiers.”

Sand was used in a similar way at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last September, as was reported at the time and can be seen in some photos

Full Fact has written before about other false claims relating to King Charles and the coronation, including that no British artists would be performing at the coronation concert and that an old photograph showed him alongside the Dunblane massacre shooter.

Image courtesy of Katie Chan

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