King Charles coronation: Buckingham Palace announces details about May coronation weekend

Celebrations will take place over the first weekend in May

Catherine Wylie,Isobel Lewis
Sunday 22 January 2023 10:27 GMT
King Charles’s coronation: Buckingham Palace reveals plans for weekend of celebrations

Buckingham Palace has announced the programming planned to take place in May for King Charles III’s coronation.

The palace has revealed new details on plans for events taking place over the coronation weekend from Saturday 6 May to Monday 8 May, which is a bank holiday. Among the line-up are a balcony appearance by the royals, a concert featuring international stars and a day of volunteering.

The coronation of the King and Queen Consort will take place at Westminster Abbey on the Saturday (6 May) morning, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

According to the palace it will be “a solemn religious service, as well as an occasion for celebration and pageantry”. The service will “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry”.

Charles and the Queen Consort will arrive at the Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as “the King’s procession”. After the service, they will return to the palace in a larger ceremonial procession, known as “the coronation procession”, joined by other members of the royal family.

At the palace, Charles and Camilla will be joined by family members on the balcony to conclude the day’s ceremonial events.

The palace has not said exactly which family members will appear in the coronation procession or on the balcony. Yet to be known is whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be in attendance following the release of his memoir tell-all Spare.

Charles and Camilla in Bolton on 20 January
Charles and Camilla in Bolton on 20 January (Getty Images)

On Sunday (7 May), “global music icons and contemporary stars” will appear at Windsor Castle for the coronation concert, which will be broadcast live on the BBC. The show will feature a world-class orchestra playing interpretations of musical favourites fronted by “some of the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance”, the palace said.

There will also be a performance from the Coronation Choir, a group created from refugee, NHS, LGBTQ+ and deaf signing choirs across the UK, as well as a selection of spoken word sequences delivered by stars of stage and screen.

Several thousand members of the public will be selected to receive a pair of free tickets through a national ballot held by the BBC. The audience will also include volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s charity affiliations.

The show will feature a world-class orchestra playing interpretations of musical favourites fronted by “some of the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance”, the palace said.

The palace said the centrepiece of the coronation concert, dubbed “lighting up the nation”, will see the country join together in celebration as landmarks across the UK are lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations.

Meanwhile, people are invited to gather for a “coronation big lunch”, overseen and organised by the Big Lunch team at the Eden Project. Camilla has been patron of the Big Lunch since 2013.

The palace said thousands of events are expected to take place in streets, gardens and parks in every corner of the UK.

A busy schedule of events has been announced for the King’s coronation
A busy schedule of events has been announced for the King’s coronation (Getty Images)

Monday 8 May is a bank holiday and has been set aside for volunteering as part of “the big help out”.

Organised by The Together Coalition and a wide range of partners such as The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and faith groups from across the UK, this event aims to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities.

The aim of the day is to use volunteering to bring communities together, encouraging people to “try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said tens of thousands of people are expected to visit London to experience the coronation.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said the coronation is “a huge milestone in the history of the UK and Commonwealth”, adding that the weekend of events will bring people together to celebrate “the mixture of tradition and modernity, culture and community that makes our country great”.

Arrangements for the coronation, like those for the Queen’s funeral in September, will be diplomatically sensitive, given the likely presence of leaders from scores of different countries.

The potential attendance of Prince Harry will be an area of focus for many, after the Duke of Sussex refused to answer if he would return to the UK for his father’s coronation or not.

Prince Harry refuses to say if he will attend father's coronation in second ITV trailer

Earlier this month, Harry was asked about the coronation during an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby ahead of the release of Spare.

“There’s a lot that can happen between now and then,” he said. “But, you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court.

“There’s a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they can – that they are willing to sit down and talk about it, because there’s a lot that’s happened in six years. And prior to that as well.”

The Government has already launched a consultation on extending pub opening hours throughout the coronation weekend. If agreed, pubs in England and Wales being allowed to stay open until 1am on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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