Buckingham Palace is planning to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. a weekend of community events and volunteering to highlight the monarchy’s ties to the nation as Britain crowns a new sovereign for the first time in 70 years.
The plans were unveiled on Saturday when the palace released the timetable for the three-day coronation weekend, which will begin with the coronation of Charles and Queen consort Camilla on Saturday May 6.
The ceremony at Westminster Abbey is preceded by a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey. Another procession follows, with Charles and Camilla joined by other members of the royal family, and an appearance on the palace balcony.
But the weekend will be more than crowns, scepters and ermine robes.
With the coronation, the palace wants to show that the monarchy still has a role to play in a multicultural nation grappling with a livelihood crisis, budget cuts and a wave of strikes by public sector workers.
While Queen Elizabeth II was widely respected, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of people who waited hours to pass her coffin after her death in September, there is no guarantee that the reverence will be passed on to her eldest son.
The crowning event will be a solemn service presided over by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, but the palace is also planning a weekend of events highlighting the diverse communities and cultures that contribute to modern Britain.
The palace is asking neighborhoods across the country to attend the “Coronation Big Lunch” on Sunday, May 7 – the latest incarnation of the block parties that have become a staple of major royal celebrations.
That evening there is a concert at Windsor Castle featuring a choir made up of amateur ensembles from across the UK, including refugee choirs, National Health Service choirs, LGBTQ singing groups and deaf signing choirs. The Coronation Choir will be joined by another choir composed of singers from across the Commonwealth who will perform virtually during the televised concert, which will also include unannounced headliners.
During the concert, locations across the country will be illuminated with projections, lasers and drone displays.
The next day, the palace invites people across the country to participate in “The Big Help Out” and encourages them to volunteer in their own communities.
“The Big Help Out will encourage people to volunteer and join the work that is being done to support their local areas,” the palace said in a statement. “The goal of The Big Help Out is to bring communities together through volunteerism and create an enduring legacy of Coronation Weekend volunteerism.”