Buckingham Palace has announced that over 850 community and charity representatives from across the UK have been invited to the Coronation at Westminster Abbey, reflecting Charles’ desire for a more inclusive ceremony.
450 recipients of the British Empire Medal – given to recognise achievement or contribution of service in a person’s local community – will join the main congregation in Westminster Abbey.
Those with a BEM have supported a local charity, carried out volunteering, or worked with a focus on innovation that ‘delivers impact’ to their community. Many BEM invitees were key in providing services and support to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attendees include John Anderson, 73, from Fraserburgh, Scotland, a retired firefighter and member of the International Rescue Corps, which provides worldwide assistance in the wake of disasters. Anderson said he thought it was a hoax when he received his invitation and felt ‘a wee bit nervous’ about the big day ‘because you don’t know what to expect’.
Manju Malhi was also invited. Malhi is a professional chef from Uxbridge in west London, who helps people cook healthily in London, received her BEM for setting up cooking courses online during lockdown. Speaking about her invitation to the Coronation, she said she felt ‘a little overwhelmed’ by the invite but said it was an amazing ‘gesture’ and a ‘good thing to be a part of’.
Max Woosey, also known as the ‘boy in the tent’ who raised more than £750,000 for North Devon Hospice by camping in his garden for three years, has also received an inivte. He went on to set the Guinness World Record for the largest amount of money raised through camping, with the proceeds paying for 16 community nurses across north Devon.
Max Woosey,decided,aged 10,to camp in his garden to raise £100 for the North Devon Hospice during the Covid lockdown:3 years later he’s raised £750,000, pays for 16 community nurses
The tent was a present from Rick Abbott,his 74-year-old neighbour who died of cancer in March 2020 pic.twitter.com/nhQqBsuwgA
— (((L Buckland))) (@chalkeblue) April 8, 2023
In addition to these names, 400 young people who represent a range of charities supported by the Royal Family have been invited to a special private viewing of the Coronation Service at St Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey. Also known as the Church on Parliament Square, and located just next to the Abbey, it is the first time the church has been used to welcome young people during a Coronation.
The 400 spaces includes 200 young people from the Prince’s Trust, the Prince’s Foundation, Barnardo’s, the National Literacy Trust and Ebony Horse Club, after the organisations were chosen by The King and Queen.
This will also include 200 young individuals from the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK, St John Ambulance and the National Citizen Service. Individuals from the four organisations are providing the services of stewarding, lining the route and first aid services.
Elizabeth II was the former Royal Patron of the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK and Barnardo’s.
The invitation for the Coronation was designed by Andrew Jamieson and features the motif of the Green Man, symbolic of spring and rebirth, signifying the new reign. The man is surrounded by the flowers of the UK: the rose, thistle, shamrock and daffodil.
The border of the invitation features lily of the valley, cornflowers, wild strawberries, dog roses, bluebells, and a sprig of rosemary for remembrance. It also bears Their Majesties’ coat of arms.