Who will perform at the coronation?
During the ceremony itself on May 6, the music will feature 12 new orchestral, choral and organ pieces commissioned for the event – including the coronation anthem from famed Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Expect Greek Orthodox music as well, as a tribute to Charles’s father, Prince Philip, who was born in Greece.
The party really gets started, though, with a pop concert the next day at Windsor Castle, which will be broadcast on the BBC; 5,000 pairs of tickets will also be released to the public and drawn by lottery. But the lineup hasn’t yet been announced, and Charles reportedly has had issues securing entertainers for the event. Adele, Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and the Spice Girls all declined the palace’s request to perform. Some of the artists said they had conflicts or were on tour, but several top choices, including Adele, were reported not to have gigs that day, Gullace notes.
In addition to famous musicians, “there will also be some singing by the Coronation Choir, created from community groups and amateur singers reflecting the UK’s diverse population,” McMahon says. The choral group will include refugee choirs, LGBTQ+ singers and deaf signing choirs.
Who will attend the royal coronation?
An astonishing 8,000 people attended Queen Elizabeth’s coronation – even though Westminster Abbey only seats about 2,200 people, McMahon says. Extra grandstands with tiered seating needed to be built to fit everyone. But that won’t be the case for Charles, who is keeping costs top of mind. “This time, the numbers will be kept down to around 2,000 – so, no massive building work for this coronation,” McMahon says. So, who will snag a seat?
Heads of state
“We can expect the ceremony to be attended by nobility, heads of state, eminent clergy and likely a smattering of ordinary Britons who have contributed in exceptional ways to British well-being, such as nurses, military personnel and activists promoting causes dear to Charles,” Gullace says.
The royalty of Europe – and the world – will likely show up, including the royal houses of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, McMahon says. “Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco were the first Euro-royals to RSVP,” he says. “From Japan, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko will also be there.” Political leaders of the Commonwealth nations (which used to be ruled by Britain) – including Nigeria, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, Malta and the Bahamas – will also attend, according to McMahon.
A few lucky citizens
Will any regular people get to attend the coronation? Yes – but only in certain circumstances. “Up until the start of February 2023, members of the public were invited to apply to be at the coronation if they could prove that a relative had taken part in a previous coronation. This is an ancient, 700-year-old tradition,” McMahon says. “They were told to apply to the newly created Coronation Claims Office. Back in 1953, a body called the Court of Claims considered similar requests.”
The royal family
Of course, the various members of royal family, including Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren, will be there, and it’s incredibly important for the monarchy to present a strong, unified front. As the next in line to the throne, Prince William will be front and centre in the audience, and as noted earlier, he will also be part of the ceremony. The big question, of course is whether Prince Harry will show up. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have received a formal invitation, and some sources say the couple is working out the terms of their attendance – including whether they will get to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, which is now supposed to be a privilege for working royals.
McMahon’s prediction? “They’ve hardly endeared themselves to the royal family,” he says, referencing the couple’s recent Netflix series and Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare, which were both critical of Harry’s family and the institution of the monarchy. “They will either opt to miss the big day or, if they turn up, they won’t get front-row seats. The royals are experts at calculated snubs, and the Sussexes will no doubt sense the lingering displeasure of ‘The Firm’ if they make an appearance.”
Who won’t attend the royal coronation?
Besides the question of Meghan and Harry, the limited seating may mean that some of Britain’s nobility will be excluded from the ceremony guest list. “Not all members of the aristocracy will be invited,” Gullace says, “and those who are not will feel snubbed.”
Prince William’s older children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will likely attend, with George possibly having a role in the ceremony, since he’s the future heir to the throne. But 4-year-old Prince Louis didn’t attend the queen’s funeral service, so it’s possible he might skip the coronation as well. Harry and Meghan’s children, the newly titled Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, have reportedly not been invited (at least not yet).
One additional question mark is US President Joe Biden. Although an anonymous Time magazine source claimed Biden is “unlikely” to attend, the White House confirmed to People magazine that “the US will be represented at the coronation,” but declined to say more “regarding presidential travel or regarding a potential delegation at this time.” If Biden himself won’t be there, someone else (maybe First Lady Jill Biden?) will go in his stead.
What will happen after the coronation?
After the coronation and the celebratory concert the next day, “there will be a bank holiday on Monday, with the option to get involved in parades, street parties and other celebratory events,” McMahon says. “Some may simply choose to have a nice day off.” A bank holiday is basically a national holiday in which banks and businesses are closed, and it will be seen as a treat from the new king to his people.
But what about the new monarch and his family: Will King Charles’s role change in any way? “No one’s role will change – this is a formal service where the king and queen are crowned,” Koenig says. But plans have already been put in place to shore up the roles and importance of working members of “The Firm,” including Prince Edward, Princess Anne and Prince William.
Plus, Charles will try to be a “modern” monarch, pursuing serious public service and causes such as environmental conservation. He’ll want to be seen as useful, practical and restrained, so he’s unlikely to have any other flashy events like the coronation anytime soon. “Charles will be 75 in November and could have a service of Thanksgiving, but with the coronation in the same year, perhaps not,” Koenig says. “Apart from state dinners and the annual Trooping the Colour ceremonies [on June 17], there will be no other event similar to the coronation.”
Due to his probable short reign, he’s unlikely to leave the same mark as Queen Elizabeth’s legacy. But he’ll want to be remembered as the king who successfully transferred the monarchy to the next generation of the 21st century and beyond.
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