King will host pre-Coronation party at Buckingham Palace
EXCLUSIVE: King will host pre-Coronation party at Buckingham Palace on the eve of historic ceremony for the many foreign royals and British aristocrats who missed out on invitations
- Guest numbers for the Abbey Coronation are extremely limited for May 5
- Those who miss out will meet King and Camilla at reception the night before
Guest numbers for the King’s Coronation are so tight that many foreign royals and British aristocrats have missed out on invitations to the Westminster Abbey ceremony.
But Charles and Camilla are hosting a dazzling reception at Buckingham Palace on Friday, May 5, the night before they are crowned, to greet the good and the great, including some of those who have been excluded from the main event.
The first recorded Coronation banquet dates back to 1194, while King George IV’s in 1821 was so lavish that 23 temporary kitchens were built next to Westminster Hall to produce 160 tureens of soup alone, along with 3,271 cold dishes.
The event so was so vast that the Deputy Earl Marshal had to supervise proceedings on horseback, riding along the centre of the hall, and the cost so shockingly vast that another has not been held since.
While the traditional Coronation banquet won’t go ahead, Their Majesties look forward to welcoming the crowned heads of several European monarchies as well as the First Lady of the United States.
Camilla, Queen Consort and King Charles III during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022
The spectacular invitation to the King’s Coronation in Westminster Abbey on May 5 next month
More than 1,000 guests are expected to attend the special reception on May 5, along with most senior members of the Royal Family.
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The event won’t be a traditional sit-down dinner, but will be modelled on the reception Charles and Camilla also held for dignitaries and Commonwealth representatives just before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
‘It will feel rather like the annual Diplomatic reception held every December at Buckingham Palace as opposed to a state banquet, and will be a nice mix of majesty, family and friends,’ a source said.
It is understood that many will be the spouses or children of guests who did not make the cut for the Abbey due to the tightness in numbers.
They include King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Maxima, who will attend the Coronation.
But they will be joined at Buckingham Palace on the Friday by the former queen, HRH Princess Beatrix, 85, who knows Charles well, and her grand-daughter the future queen, 19-year-old Catharina-Amalia, the Princess of Orange.
‘It will basically be most of the VIP coronation guests plus all those Their Majesties wanted to invite to the ceremony but couldn’t due to the scaled back numbers at the Abbey,’ another source said.
Sources said the plan is to use the palace Ballroom, which is currently closed to all but the inner circle as it has been set up as a replica of Westminster Abbey for private rehearsals for the Coronation.
Members of the military depart Buckingham Palace, central London, during a night time rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III
Sources say pre-Coronation occasion will be like a Diplomatic reception (pictured 2022 event)
It dates back to 1855 and is the largest of the state reception rooms and features a musician’s gallery complete with an organ.
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It will be cleared on the Thursday before the Coronation and rapidly set up overnight for Friday’s reception. There will also be a marquee erected in the palace gardens.
Buckingham Palace has declined to give out any details at this stage but it is understood the event will not go on late as the King and Queen Consort, as well as other family members, have an early start the following day.
There will be no royal reception on Coronation day – May 6 – for guests, however, just a small gathering and lunch for family and senior staff back at Buckingham Palace, before an appearance on the famous balcony.
In fact sources have said the King and Queen Consort intend to ‘call it a day’ on the Friday quite early given how busy they will have been.
Charles, it should not be forgotten, is 74, while Camilla celebrates her 76th birthday in July.
And they and their family have an equally hectic few days ahead of them with visits to Big Coronation Lunches on the Sunday, followed by what is predicted to be a spectacular Coronation Concert at Windsor that night.
Buckingham Palace officials revealed that King Charles III’s coronation route is around a quarter the length of Queen Elizabeth II’s one 70 years ago
All of the star acts, which so far include Lionel Ritchie, Take That and Katy Perry, will be performing accompanied by a 90-piece military band to make the evening unique and as different as possible from last year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Coronation Concert will provide another chance to extend an invitation to many of those left out of the ceremony itself.
These include Sarah, Duchess of York, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, who will join her beleaguered former spouse and their family.
On Monday Charles, Camilla and other senior royals are expected to take part in The Big Help Out, designed to highlight and encourage volunteering across the UK – a key message they hope will come out of the national celebrations.
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