7 May 2023

UK: The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla

King Charles III of the United Kingdom, who succeeded to the throne on 8 September 2022 following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, was crowned in Westminster Abbey yesterday, 6 May 2023, together with his wife Queen Camilla.

It goes without saying that the coronation yesterday was a really historic event, and a first-timer for the majority of the British people, if not the world. After all it was 70 years since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It could very well be the last coronation – one should not take for granted that the Prince of Wales in due time will decide to be crowned – it is an expensive, formally superfluous and old-fashioned ceremony. The political situation at the time might dictate the then King William to abandon the tradition. Time will show.

The above sounds very negative, and that was not my intention. All in all I am very happy to be able to witness such a historic event, a wonderful celebration and manifestation of the monarchy and of the new king. I am just pointing out that the ceremony is far from a necessity and I can understand some of the criticism against it.

I wish I were in London for the coronation – it would have been wonderful to see the processions and balcony scene with my own eyes and to suck in the atmosphare. But my back would not allow me to stand for so many hours, and even if I could afford to travel to London, I have already made several large trips this year, among others to Egypt and the United States – and have more trips planned this year, including another trip to the United States. So I decided to stay home.

Watching the events on TV certainly has its advantages – you get a great view of everything. I turned on the television about two hours before the ceremony started in Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m. local time, and I kept on until BBC stopped the broadcast sometime after the king, queen and the rest of the royal family had greeted the people from the Buckingham Palace balcony. 

The United Kingdom certainly know how to do pomp and circumstance! It was a very impressive «show» (if I am allowed to use such an expression!), and at times a very moving church ceremony. We could enjoy the King's procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster in the State Carriage, the order of service itself with King Charles taking the oaths –  to govern the peoples with justice and mercy, and to uphold the Churches established by law in the United Kingdom – the anointing, the investiture and crowning, the enthroning and homage, the coronation of Queen Camilla and the closing of the service with the singing of the national anthem – God save the King! And on the way out the coronation procession leaving the abbey to music including Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March no. 4! You will find more details at the official website of Westminster Abbey, including the Order of Service.

For the record, the service was conducted by the Archbishop of Cambridge, Justin Welby, supported by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle. The readings were given by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Colossians 1: 9-20) and the Bishop of London and Dean of His Majesty's Chapels Royal, Dame Sarah Mullally (Luke 4: 16-21).

After the service we could watch the Coronation Procession back to Buckingham Palace again. The procession was much larger in scale compared to the King's Procession and included Armed Forces from across the Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, and all services of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, alongside The Sovereign’s Bodyguard and Royal Watermen. It was wonderful to see Princess Anne, the Princes Royal on horse behind the carriage!

The king and queen upon arrival received the royal salute in the garden of Buckingham Palace before heading for the balcony to greet the people, joined by most members of the royal family, the so-called working royals present and future. Then the royal family and invited guests went to have lunch. The celebrations continued today with garden and street parties and a concert at Windsor Castle tonight.

Audiences ahead of the Coronation

In the days ahead of the coronation King Charles received Realm prime ministers and Indigenous leaders ahead of the Coronation. These included on Tuesday 2 May Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese and on Wednesday 3 May Prime Minister of New Zealand Christopher Hipkins. 

On Thursday 4 May the king hosted an audience with Canadian Indigenous Leaders, RoseAnne Archibald (National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations), Natan Obed (President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami) and Cassidy Caron (President of the Métis National Council), in addition to Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada. He also hosted an audience with The King of The Ashanti’s, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Lady Julia Osei Tutu. The King also received in audience the indigenous elder, Uyunkar Domingo Peas (Spokesperson for the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon), Marc Palahi (Chair of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance) and Atossa Soltani (Director of Global Strategy, Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon).

List of guests at Westminster Abbey

The king and queen held a reception on Friday 5 May at Buckingham palace for many of the guests who were to attend the service at Westminster Abbey on Saturday. Most of the foregn royals present for the service were also at the reception, based on the many photos published in various newspapers and other media, with a few exceptions. King Philippe of the Belgians was, for instance, not with Queen Mathilde on Friday, instead their daughter Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant turned up. And the Netherlands were represented by Princess Beatrix and Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange.

I have compiled a list of the most prominent royals and dignitaries attending the service at Westminster Abbey. The list is based what I managed to spot on TV as well as on newspaper reports, statements from the various royal courts, photos from various news agencies in social media etc. I have probably missed a few. And I might include people who were not present, because there have been contradictary reports as well. In one artice The Telegraph for instance claimed that the king and queen of Norway would be present, but the Norwegian Royal House was in fact represented by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. If you find names that should not be on the list, please tell! 

From Buckingham Palace's press release we learn that:

The Congregation at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation Service

Published 01 May 2023

The Coronation Service of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey will be attended by a congregation of more than 2,200 people. Guests attending will include Members of the Royal Family, as well as international representatives from 203 countries, including approximately 100 Heads of State, alongside community and charity champions.

The congregation will include:

  • Members of the Royal Family
  • Family members and friends of Their Majesties
  • Members of Foreign Royal Families
  • Heads of State and Foreign Ministers
  • Governors-General and Realm Prime Ministers
  • Members of the Government, Parliament and Devolved Administrations, including former Prime Ministers
  • Lord-Lieutenants and Lord Provosts
  • Representatives from the Church and other faiths
  • Representatives from the Defence Services, including serving and former Armed Forces personnel
  • Representatives from The King’s patronages, including The Prince’s Trust and The Prince’s Foundation
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps
  • Public Service organisations and the emergency services
  • Representatives from The Queen Consort’s patronages
  • Representatives from the Law
  • Nobel Prize Winners
  • British Empire Medal recipients
  • Representatives from the Realms nominated by the High Commissions

In addition to the guests seated in the Abbey, 400 young people representing charitable organisations nominated by The King and The Queen Consort and the UK Government, will have the opportunity to watch the Coronation Service and Processions from inside St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

Both news media and social media have ever since the coronation date was made public in October 2022 heavily reported and discussed who were to be invited or not invited (or should not at all be invited!)

The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry) for instance, arrived on Friday and was present at the coronation, but not seated among the members of the British royal family. He was allegedly invited to the lunch at Buckingham Palace (kind of peace offer?), but decided instead to go directly to Heathrow to fly home to Los Angeles. After all, his son Prince Archie celebrated his 4th birthday the same day. Prince Harry's  wife the Duchess of Sussex decided to stay behind in Los Angeles. She would most likely not have received a warm welcome if she had turned up, but I am sorry that she didn't. It was a life-time event after all, and even if it doesn't look so promising at present, it could have been a good opportunity to work on improving her and her husband's relations with the royal family. If the whole family had traveled to London, Alfie's birthday could have been celebrated after the lunch at Buckingham Palace, not in Los Angeles close to Archie's bedtime. Oh well. It is all just sad.

The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) was in the abbey, but not on the balcony. He is not a working royal anylonger, due to circumstances we all know.I have no idea if he was present at the lunch or not. His former wife Sarah, Duchess of York was not invited. But Queen Camilla's former husband Andrew Parker Bowles was. They are still on good terms, thankfully. All in all, the congregation at Westminster Abbey included a much larger number of «ordinary people» compared to in 1953. Some have complained that many British royal descendants were not invited, while members of the Duchess of Cambridge's Middleton family were, and some have complained that too few peers/nobles were present. But "everyone" could not be invited like in 1953 when 8000 people were present. And it would not look good if the congregation was dominated by royals and nobles. Oh well, it is impossible to suit everyone. I think all in all the list mentioned in the press release makes sense. An interesting break with tradition, however, was all the crowned heads being present this time. 

The British Royal Family (and relations)

  • The Prince and Princess of Wales (William and Catherine)
  • Prince George of Wales 
  • Princess Charlotte of Wales 
  • Prince Louis of Wales
  • The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry)
  • The Princess Royal (Princes Anne) and Sir Timothy Laurence
  • Peter Phillips
  • Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall
  • The Duke of York (Prince Andrew)
  • Princess Beatrice of York and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
  • Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank
  • The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh (Prince Edward and his wife Sophe)
  • James Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl of Wessex
  • Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
  • Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster
  • Lady Davina Windsor
  • Lady Rose Gilman
  • The Duke and Duchess of Kent
  • George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews
  • Lady Helen Taylor
  • Lord Nicholas Windsor
  • Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy
  • Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
  • Lord Frederick Windsor and Sophie Winkleman
  • Lady Gabriella Kingston and Thomas Kingston
  • Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto
  • Samuel Chatto
  • Arthur Chatto
  • David Armstrong Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon
  • Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley
  • Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones

Prince George was one of King Charles's Pages of Honourm, together with Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Nicholas Barclay, and Ralph Tollemache, the last three are the sons of the king's friends. Queen Camilla's Pages of Honour were her three grandsons, Gus and Louis Lopes, and Freddy Parker Bowles, as well as her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot. Ladies in Attendance were her younger sister Annabel Eliot and the Marchioness of Lansdowne.

Royal Europe

Current royal and princely families

  • King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
  • Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
  • Hereditary Prince Alois and Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein
  • Grand-Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
  • Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco
  • King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
  • Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
  • King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
  • King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden

Former royal families

  • Margrave Bernhard and Margravine Stephanie of Baden
  • King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians
  • Queen Anne Marie of the Hellenes
  • Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
  • Landgrave Heinrich Donatus and Landgravine Floria of Hesse
  • Prince Philipp and Princess Saskia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  • Princess Margareta, The Custodian of the Romanian Crown Margareta and Radu Duda (Prince Radu)
  • Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia

Non-European royals

  • Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, Asantehene of Asante and Otumfuo-Yere (Princess Consort) Julia Osei Tutu
  • King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain (other sources state the Crown Prince «only»
  • The Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the  Druk Gyaltsuen (Dragon Queen) of Bhutan, Jetsun Pema
  • The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III
  • Crown Prince Fumihito (Akishino) and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan
  • King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan
  • Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince of Kuwait
  • King Letsie III and Queen Masenate of Lesotho
  • Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said of Oman
  • The Yang di Pertuan Agong (King) (Abdullah of Pahang) and The Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen) of Malaysia (Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah)
  • The Māori King. Tūheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII and The Makau Ariki (Queen Consort) Te Atawhai 
  • Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco
  • The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Sheikha Jawaher bint Hamad bin Suhaim Al-Thani
  • Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz of Saudi-Arabia
  • King Mswati III of eSwatini and Inkhosikati LaMbikiza
  • King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) and Queen Suthida of Thailand
  • King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipa'u of Tonga
  • Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.

Some British peers and others

  • The Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal
  • The Marquess of Cholmondeley
  • The Lord Great Chamberlain, the 7th Baron Carrington
  • Lord True, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
  • Baroness Smith of Basildon, leader of the opposition of the House of Lords
  • Merlin Hay, the Earl of Errol
  • Simon Abney-Hastings, the Earl of Loudoun
  • Alexander Henry Scrymgeour, the Earl of Dundee
  • Delaval Thomas Harold Astley, the Baron Hastings
  • Barons of the Cinque Ports


United Kingdom

(Some, if not all, members of the government were together with their spouses, but as I didn't spot (or could recognize) most of them I will not mention them if I not 100 % certain of their presence.)

  • Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister and his wife Akshata Murty
  • Oliver Dowden, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor
  • James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary
  • Suella Braverman, Home Secretary
  • Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary
  • Michelle Donelan, Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary
  • Michael Gove, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary
  • Steve Barclay, Health Secretary
  • Penny Mordaunt, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the Commons
  • Kemi Badenoch, Business and Trade Secretary
  • Therese Coffey, Environment Secretary
  • Mel Stride, Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Gillian Keegan, Education Secretary
  • Mark Harper, Transport Secretary
  • Alex Chalk, Justice Secretary
  • Lucy Frazer, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary
  • Chris Heaton-Harris, Northern Ireland Secretary
  • Alister Jack, Scotland Secretary
  • David T C Davies, Wales Secretary
  • Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader
  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons
  • Humza Yousaf, First Minister of Scotland
  • Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales
  • Michelle O'Neill, Vice President of Sinn Féin
  • Former prime minister Liz Truss and her husband Christopher Fraser
  • Former prime minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson
  • Former prime minister Theresa May and her husband Sir Philip May
  • Former prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron
  • Former prime minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah Brown
  • Former prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair
  • Former prime minister John Major (came alone, his wife was not feeling well, according to BBC)
  • The Lord Mayor of London
  • Joseph Morrow, the Lord Lyon King of Arms
  • Antonia Romeo, Clerk of the Crown in Chancery

Dignitaries from outside United Kingdom

Only a few are listed here, all confirmed by their official websites and/or national news agencies:

  • The Governor General, David Hurley, and his wife Linda Hurley
  • The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, and his wife Jodie Haydon
  • The State Governors of Australia
  • The Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, and her husband Whit Fraser
  • The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau
  • Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald (Canada)
  • President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed (Canada)
  • President of the Metis National Council Cassidy Caron (Canada)
  • The Governor General of New Zealand, Cindy Kiro
  • The Prime minister of New Zealand, Christopher Hipkins
  • Other Governors General.
  • The President of Czechia, Petr Pavel and his wife Eva Pavlová
  • The President of France, Emmnanuel Macron of France and his wife Brigitte Macron
  • The President of Germany, Franz-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender
  • The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda
  • First Lady Dr. Jill Biden of the USA together with Finnegan Biden (granddaughter of President Joe Biden)
  • The Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin (allegedly the first time the Vatican has been represented at a British coronation)
  • EU: The President of the European Council), Charles Michel, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola
  • NATO: General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg

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