• Monday, June 17, 2024


Coronation of King Charles III: Meet the royal and political figures attending the ceremony

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

The upcoming coronation of King Charles III will involve numerous historical roles, many of which have been adapted to suit the present day. Buckingham Palace stated that those chosen for these roles were selected to acknowledge, thank, and represent the nation for their notable contributions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby, 67, the current head of the Church of England and the most senior cleric in the country will preside over the ceremony and crown and anoint the new king and queen.

As the person responsible for preparing the order of service, the former oil industry executive has admitted to having “nightmares” about the event, including dreaming of forgetting the crown at the time of coronation.

The Earl Marshal

The hereditary role of organising state events falls on the Duke of Norfolk. Edward Fitzalan-Howard, aged 66, is the current Earl Marshal and has organised several state events, including Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, King Charles’s accession, and the state openings of parliament.

However, he faced a six-month driving ban in September for using his mobile phone while driving, even though he claimed that he needed his license to prepare for the coronation.

Governors-general and prime ministers

Westminster Abbey will witness the participation of heads of state and national representatives from 14 countries under the reign of King Charles III, apart from the United Kingdom.

The first to enter the Abbey will be the governors-general, who act as viceroys, and the prime ministers of those countries, followed by faith leaders.

National representatives will carry flags of each country, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand. The British flag will be carried by Royal Air Force Cadet Warrant Officer Elliott Tyson-Lee.

Standard bearers

The standards representing England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be carried by the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Dundee, the Marquess of Anglesey, and the Earl of Caledon, respectively.

Hugh Grosvenor, 32, who is one of the richest people in Britain and also happens to be Charles’ godfather, will carry the standard for England.

Meanwhile, Francis Dymoke, whose family has held the role of King or Queen’s Champion since medieval times, will carry the Royal Standard.

Buckingham Palace explained that in the past, the King’s Champion would ride on horseback into the coronation banquet and challenge anyone who doubted the right of the King or Queen to the throne.

However, since the last coronation banquet in 1821, the Champion has taken on a different role, usually carrying a flag or standard.

The Duke of Wellington

The individual chosen to carry Queen Mary’s Crown during King Charles III’s coronation is Charles Wellesley, 77, who is a descendant of the 19th-century Prime Minister and victorious general of the Battle of Waterloo. Interestingly, the statue of Wllesley in Glasgow is frequently adorned with a traffic cone.

During the ceremony, Wellesley will present the crown to Archbishop Welby, who will then place it on Queen Camilla’s head. Richard Chartres, a former Bishop of London and a close friend of the king, will also participate in the event by carrying the Queen Consort’s Ring.

The Lord High Steward of England

Since 1421, the post of Lord High Steward, the most senior of the Great Officers of State in England, has mostly remained vacant. However, the current Lord High Steward will be responsible for carrying St Edward’s Crown, which will be placed on King Charles’ head by Welby during the coronation ceremony.

General Gordon Messenger, 61, who served as a senior Royal Marines officer in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now serves as the governor of the Tower of London where the crown jewels are kept, has been appointed Lord High Steward only for the day. Messenger described it as a “huge and unique honour.”

Other bearers of regalia

St Edward’s Staff will be carried by Elizabeth Manningham-Buller, 74, the former chief of MI5. The Orb will be carried by nursing professor Elizabeth Anionwu, 76. The Sceptre with Dove will be carried by Floella Benjamin, 73, a Trinidadian-British actress, children’s TV presenter, and parliamentarian.

The Sword of State will be carried by Penny Mordaunt, 50, who ran for prime minister in 2022 and is currently Lord President of the Council. Royal Navy Petty Officer Amy Taylor will make history by being the first woman to carry the Sword of Offering, which is adorned with precious jewels.

Prince George of Wales

One of the Pages of Honour during the coronation service will be King Charles’s grandson, who at nine years old is second in line to the throne after his father Prince William. He will participate in a procession through the nave and assist with holding the robes.

(With inputs from AFP)

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