King Charles III's coronation hope for refugee singers

There will also be a Buckingham Palace balcony appearance and a concert at Windsor

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Details of King Charles III’s coronation have been released, revealing a mix of celebration, pageantry and volunteering designed to reflect Buckingham Palace's ambitions for modernising the monarchy.

The king will make a palace balcony appearance and a concert will later be staged at Windsor featuring some of the world’s biggest stars, which officials hope will involve refugees singing in a choir.

The balcony appearance and concert are mainstays of British national celebrations, such as last year’s platinum jubilee party for Queen Elizabeth II, and there will also be an emphasis on volunteering.

The concert on Sunday, May 7 will feature a top-class orchestra playing with “the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance”, the palace said.

There will also be a coronation choir, to be created from community singing groups around the country, which will include refugees and singers from the National Health Service.

The coronation choir will appear alongside a virtual choir made up of singers from across the Commonwealth.

The May 6 coronation of the King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will take place at Westminster Abbey in the morning, and be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

It will be “a solemn religious service, as well as an occasion for celebration and pageantry”, the palace said.

The service will “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry”.

Charles and Camilla will arrive at Westminster 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 Buckingham 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.

Sunday will see “global music icons and contemporary stars” descend on Windsor Castle for the coronation concert.

Several thousand members of the public will be selected to receive a pair of free tickets. The audience will also include volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s affiliated charities.

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” on Sunday, overseen and organised by the Big Lunch team at the Eden Project.

The big help out

Monday, a bank holiday, has been set aside for volunteering and is being billed as “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, it aims to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities.

The palace said the big help out “will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas”.

The aim of the day is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the coronation weekend.

VIP lists

Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit London to experience the coronation.

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.

It could also pose difficulties for the royal family following the release of the Duke of Sussex’s controversial memoir, with a question mark over whether Harry and wife Meghan will be among those attending.

During an interview with Tom Bradby on ITV, Harry was asked if he will come to the coronation if he is invited, and he said: “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then. But, you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court.”

The scale of the event could be even larger than the queen’s funeral in September, partly because overseas leaders will have more time to plan their travel.

The funeral saw leaders from most countries receive an invitation. But representatives from Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan were not invited, while Iran, North Korea and Nicaragua were invited only at ambassadorial level.

Updated: January 22, 2023, 9:07 AM
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