King's coronation will feature Windsor Palace concert with 'global music stars' - but Sussexes may not attend

21 January 2023, 22:30 | Updated: 22 January 2023, 15:47

Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace for the Platinum Jubilee show in 2022
Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace for the Platinum Jubilee show in 2022. Picture: Alamy

By Adam Solomons

King Charles's coronation will be marked by a star-studded concert at Windsor Castle and a Buckingham Palace balcony appearance - but the Sussexes may not attend.

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The palace tonight revealed new details for a weekend of fanfare to mark the ceremonial beginning of the King's reign from Saturday May 6 to Monday May 8.

Pubs in England and Wales could also be allowed to stay open until 1am across the weekend.

The coronation of the King and Queen Consort will take place at Westminster Abbey on the Saturday morning, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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

Charles and Camilla will arrive at the Abbey in procession from Buckingham Palace, known as “the King’s procession”.

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Diana Ross is pictured during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee concert
Diana Ross is pictured during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee concert. Picture: Alamy

After that 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 the 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.

It's not known whether Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their children Archie and Lilibet will attend.

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

The audience will also include volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s charity affiliations.

The show will feature a world-class orchestra playing interpretations of musical favourites fronted by “some of the world’s biggest entertainers, alongside performers from the world of dance”, the palace said.

A balcony appearance by senior royals will be a centrepiece of the weekend's fanfare
A balcony appearance by senior royals will be a centrepiece of the weekend's fanfare. Picture: Alamy

Performances will be supported by staging and effects located on the castle’s east lawn and will also include a selection of spoken word sequences delivered by stars of stage and screen.

The Coronation Choir, a diverse group that will be created from the nation’s keenest community choirs and amateur singers from across the UK, such as refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs, will also make an appearance.

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 Queen Consort has been patron of the Big Lunch since 2013.

The palace said thousands of events are expected to take place in streets, gardens and parks in every corner of the UK.

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, the big help out aims to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities.

The palace said in tribute to the King’s public service, 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.

A major music concert will take place at Windsor Castle
A major music concert will take place at Windsor Castle. Picture: Alamy

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said tens of thousands of people are expected to visit London to experience the coronation.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said the coronation is “a huge milestone in the history of the UK and Commonwealth”, adding that the weekend of events will bring people together to celebrate “the mixture of tradition and modernity, culture and community that makes our country great”.

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.

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 – the ball is in their court.

“There’s a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they can – that they are willing to sit down and talk about it, because there’s a lot that’s happened in six years.

“And prior to that as well.”

Meanwhile, 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.

Just Stop Oil say they 'can't' rule out demonstrating on the day of the King's Coronation

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