Victoria Ward, The Telegraph, January 21, 2023
King Charles III is to put refugees and the NHS at the heart of a diverse Coronation that will bring the nation together in a three-day celebration designed to reflect modern, multi-cultural Britain.
A Coronation Choir made up of amateur singers representing the nation’s “faces and voices”, including LGBTQ+ groups and deaf signers, will perform at a star-studded concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday May 7.
They will be accompanied by a Virtual Choir featuring singers from across the Commonwealth as the King signals his commitment to the international “family” of 56 nations.
A Coronation Big Lunch, at which friends and neighbours will join forces to celebrate at street parties, will take place on the same date. At the Big Jubilee Lunch, millions joined forces to celebrate the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last June.
It will be followed by The Big Help Out, a volunteer scheme devised in tribute to His Majesty’s many decades of public service and reflecting his desire to create lasting change.
People will be encouraged to join local volunteer projects on Bank Holiday Monday, dedicating a few hours to help create a Coronation legacy.
A Buckingham Palace source said the three-day weekend would represent Britain “as it is today” while maintaining the best traditions of pomp and pageantry “for which we are rightly known”.
It has been designed to ensure that everyone who wants to get involved has the opportunity to do so. A royal source said the Coronation needed to be “majestic” but “inclusive” to reflect a diverse modern Britain.
Michelle Donelan, the Culture Secretary, said the Coronation of the King and the Queen Consort was “a huge milestone” in the history of the UK and the Commonwealth.
“The weekend of events will bring people together to celebrate our monarchy and the mixture of tradition and modernity, culture and community that makes our country great,” she said.
“Everyone is invited to join in, on any day, 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 Coronation weekend will begin on the morning of Sunday May 6 with the historic ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
The “solemn religious service” will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, and will reflect the monarch’s role today as well as looking towards the future, Buckingham Palace said.
The event will be a spectacle that both the palace and the Government hope will showcase “UK plc”.
The King and Queen Consort will arrive at the Abbey in The King’s Procession from Buckingham Palace.
The monarch, 74, has opted to wear military uniform rather than the traditional breeches and stockings worn by his grandfather King George VI, great-grandfather King George V and great-great grandfather King Edward VII, according to reports.
He is likely to change into some of the imperial or sacred garments worn by successive monarchs for centuries, and is expected to wear both the St Edward’s Crown and the Imperial State Crown at different points during the ceremony.
After the service, the newly crowned King and Queen will return to Buckingham Palace in the larger Coronation Procession, accompanied by other members of the Royal family.
The question of whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend has loomed large in the wake of the revelations and accusations in their Netflix documentary series and Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare. Palace sources insist no final decisions on the guest list have been made.
The Royal family will appear on the palace balcony to wave to the many thousands expected to line the Mall to witness the historic occasion.
On Sunday May 7, a Coronation Concert will be held at Windsor Castle, featuring “global music icons and contemporary stars”. The event will be broadcast live on the BBC.
Several thousand members of the public will be selected to receive a pair of free tickets through a national ballot, and the audience will also include volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s many charities.
A world-class orchestra will perform well-known classics, fronted by some of the world’s biggest entertainers, amid what is billed as a showcase of the UK’s diverse cultural heritage in music, theatre and dance.
A selection of spoken word sequences will be delivered by stars of stage and screen. One of the highlights will be the performance of the Coronation Choir, a diverse group drawing together singers from the nation’s community choirs, including refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs.
A BBC documentary will tell the story of its formation and the many people involved.
During the concert, well known landmarks across the country will be lit up with projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations.