King Charles Coronation Includes Concert, 'Big Lunch'

Monarch, to be officially crowned weekend of May 6-8, wants the public to participate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2023 11:48 AM CST
King Charles Wants Public to Join In on Coronation
Britain's King Charles III is seen in Manchester, England, on Friday.   (Paul Ellis/Pool via AP)

The itinerary for King Charles III's coronation has been set, and it's a celebration that will spread out over three days. People and USA Today offer a rundown of scheduled events for May 6-8, starting on that Saturday with a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for the crowning of the monarch and his wife Camilla, the queen consort. The one-hour ceremony, to be conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, is set to host 2,000 guests—a much smaller affair than the one held for the late Queen Elizabeth II, which took three hours and featured 8,000 attendees. The next day will see a "Big Lunch," with thousands of block parties and other events expected to take place across the UK in the spirit of "celebration and friendship."

A coronation concert with "global music icons and contemporary stars" will be held that evening on the lawn of Windsor Castle, with free tickets being offered to the public via a national lottery. Monday, meanwhile, will be a bank holiday, in which the public will be urged to take part in the "Big Help Out," a day for volunteerism. "Everyone is invited to join in, on any day," UK Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Michelle Donelan said in a statement, per CNN. "Whether that is by hosting a special street party, watching the coronation ceremony or spectacular concert on TV, or stepping forward during the Big Help Out to help causes that matter to them." The outlet notes not everyone is expected to mark the occasion as a joyous one, with anti-monarchy group Republic already noting its members' plan to protest in front of Westminster Abbey.

"The coronation is a celebration of hereditary power and privilege, it has no place in a modern society," rep Graham Smith says in a statement. There are also two big names who may not be participating in one of the weekend's biggest moments. Although there's no official word yet on what role, if any, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, will have, the Mirror notes it's "unlikely" the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after the coronation service with other members of their family. That's because they, along with Prince Andrew, are no longer working royals—the same reason those three were said to have been absent from the balcony during last summer's Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the queen. (Harry's new book won't help, either.)

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