From foreign royals to charity leaders, the invitees are expected to reflect a modern and multicultural Britain
Save-the-date emails have been sent and preparations are underway as the countdown to King Charles’s Coronation in May begins. The final guest list is yet to be confirmed, but the attendees are certain to include an array of foreign royals, heads of state and politicians.
Charles is also understood to want a diverse congregation to reflect modern, multicultural society and ensure that his ceremony is inclusive.Representatives from his many charity affiliations and a large cross section from the voluntary sector will consequently be in attendance.
In contrast, only a small minority of politicians and peers are expected to be invited and far fewer members of the aristocracy than the vast numbers that attended Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.While 8,000 guests crammed into Westminster Abbey for the late Queen’s investiture, the guest list this year has reportedly been cut to around 2,000.
Here, we detail all the guests who are likely to attend the May 6 ceremony.
British Royal family
While King Charles’s Coronation will be a slimmed-down event in comparison to 1953, nearly the entire Royal family will be out in force.Members from across the family, including extended cousins and grandchildren, are expected to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Even the youngest members of the family – including Prince Louis – are expected to be involved, posing a challenge for their parents about how to rein them in.The big question that remains is whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend.
While the couple have stated that they have been in correspondence with the King’s office regarding the Coronation, they have not confirmed for certain whether they will attend.A spokesman said: “An immediate decision on whether the Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.”
If either of them does attend, it is understood the visit will be brief. It is not thought that either Archie or his sister, one-year-old Lilibet, will travel to London for the ceremony.Meanwhile, the Duchess of York also revealed at an event in New York earlier this month that she had not yet received an invitation.
“I’m travelling at the moment, so maybe it [invitation] has gone to another place,” she said.
While many members of the family will attend the ceremony, just senior royals are expected to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for a fly-past, in line with King Charles’s wish for a more streamlined monarchy.
Queen Consort’s family and friends
Camilla’s family is set to get equal billing at the Coronation, with her five teenage grandchildren expected to be thrust into the limelight for the first time with official duties. It has not yet been confirmed what roles they will carry out, but The Sunday Times reported that the Queen wanted her grandchildren to hold the canopy over her while she is anointed with holy oil. But Palace sources suggested that no such role would be given.
Meanwhile, it is likely that the Queen Consort’s six companions – her replacement to the former ladies-in-waiting – will also attend the event. They were appointed to support and accompany Her Majesty on key occasions.
Members of foreign royal families are also expected to be invited to the ceremony in an historic break with tradition. Convention dating back centuries stated that a coronation should be a sacred ceremony between a monarch and their people in the presence of God.
But King Charles is set to do away with the tradition and invite his counterparts from around the world. A source told The Mail on Sunday: “I believe the rule began because a Coronation is meant to be a monarch’s private event with God.
“At the Queen’s Coronation there were no crowned monarchs, only the protectorate rulers like the Queen of Tonga. It’s been a tradition for centuries.”
The source added: “Inviting the King of Jordan, the Sultan of Brunei, the Sultan of Oman and the Scandinavian royals – who are all friends of Charles – will be a good bit of soft power and diplomacy.”
Some international royals have already indicated that they will attend the ceremony, including Prince Albert of Monaco.Speaking to People magazine, the monegasque head of state said: “I’m certain that it’s going to be an incredible ceremony and a very moving one. We’ve maintained contact since His Majesty became King, but I haven’t talked to him personally since the Queen’s funeral.
“I’m certain His Majesty will add his own personal touches to the ceremonies, but what those will be, I’m sure I don’t know.”
British MPs and peers
Parliamentarians have been in uproar after learning that only a minority will be invited to the ceremony itself. Members have been lobbying the Cabinet Office to argue their case, convinced that they have a right to attend.It was initially planned that just 20 MPs and 20 peers would get a ticket for Westminster Abbey.
These numbers have now been more than doubled, according to those with knowledge of the event. On top of this, there will be extra places reserved for former prime ministers, Cabinet ministers and some members of the Privy Council.An extra event for MPs and peers has also been added to the Coronation line-up – a special reception in Westminster Hall which will take place on the Tuesday before the Coronation and will be attended by the King.
The final decision about which peers and MPs will make the cut will be made by the Cabinet Office, which is keen to ensure that attendees are representative of all parties, geographical locations, ages and backgrounds.
Foreign heads of state
The heads of state and representatives from a number of key British allies and Commonwealth nations are expected to attend the ceremony.Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, is the first head of state to be confirmed as attending the event.
Meanwhile, the most noticeable abscence may be US President Joe Biden, whose attendance is reportedly in doubt. One official suggested it was “unlikely” Mr Biden would be present, while another senior administration official only said the United States would be “represented”. However, they could not yet say whether Mr Biden would go personally, or send a delegation.
Members of the public
Representatives from many of the King’s charity affiliations and a large cross section from the voluntary sector are set to be present at the ceremony. It has already been revealed that refugees and the NHS will be at the heart of the star-studded concert taking place at Windsor Castle on May 8, the day after the Coronation.
One of the highlights will be the performance of the Coronation Choir, a diverse group drawing together singers from the nation’s community choirs, including refugee choirs, NHS choirs, LGBTQ+ singing groups and deaf signing choirs.