King Charles offers coveted coronation spots to NHS workers and Armed Forces veterans as mark of 'profound gratitude'

16 April 2023, 15:45

Thousands of Armed Forces veterans and NHS workers will watch King Charles III’s coronation in front of Buckingham Palace.
Thousands of Armed Forces veterans and NHS workers will watch King Charles III’s coronation in front of Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

King Charles has offered coveted coronation spots to NHS workers and armed forces veterans as a mark of "profound gratitude" for their work.

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Thousands of veterans and frontline health workers will be able to watch King Charles' coronation in front of Buckingham Palace on May 6.

Around 3,800 seats will be integrated into a specially-constructed grandstand at the Queen Victoria Memorial.

They are being offered up "as a mark of the nation’s profound gratitude", with representatives of charitable organisations with links to the royals also included.

A further 354 uniformed cadet forces will be able to watch the procession at Admiralty Arch.

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The coronation is on May 6
The coronation is on May 6. Picture: Getty

The coveted spots will give crowds a special view of the processions, the appearance of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony and the armed forces flypast.

For the procession, around 5,000 armed forces personnel will accompany the King in two separate parades.

The first, the King's Procession, will be the smaller in scale of the two and will feature just under 200 members, centred around The Sovereign's Escort of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

The second, the coronation procession, will follow the same route back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey, and will represent the diversity and traditions of the UK and Commonwealth armed forces, featuring nearly 4,000 personnel.

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Meanwhile, the six-minute flypast will consist of more than 60 aircraft from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force - flying over The Mall in central London.

But only working royals will be allowed to appear on the balcony for the event, meaning Prince Harry and Prince Andrew will not be present.

Featured amongst the aerial procession will be aircraft that have delivered support to Ukraine, policed Nato airspace, supported disaster relief, deterred drug trafficking and countered terrorism in the Middle East and Africa.

It is expected to be the largest military ceremonial operation of its kind for a generation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he is "incredibly proud of our brilliant military personnel", adding: "As they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Commonwealth friends and allies, I know the hard work of thousands of our servicemen and women during the past weeks and months will culminate in an incredible display that will amaze crowds at home and across the world."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace noted the operation will be "spectacular", saying: "We can be enormously proud of the professionalism and precision of our armed forces as they honour His Majesty, their new commander-in-chief.

"From the procession on The Mall, to the flypast over London, with gun salutes at sea and across the country, it will be a spectacular and fitting tribute and a privilege to take part in for all those involved and watching from afar."

More than 57 locations across the UK will have big screens allowing over 100,000 people to watch the events in their home towns, according to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Screens in St James’s Park will also show the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle on May 7.

There will be an accessible viewing space along the north side of The Mall and at all screen sites in London.