London (AFP/APP): Tens of thousands of street parties were planned on Sunday as Britain celebrated the coronation of King Charles III ahead of a concert for 20,000 people at Windsor Castle.
After days of back-to-back diplomatic receptions, garden parties and rehearsals for Saturday’s event at Westminster Abbey, Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla, 75, will host a private reception.
They will then join the evening concert at the castle west of London.
Charles’s coronation as monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth countries around the world was the first in Britain for 70 years.
The glittering ceremony, steeped in 1,000 years of tradition and ritual, was attended by global royalty and world leaders.
But Sunday’s events are a shift in emphasis.
While the coronation ceremony has its roots in the England of 1066, the “Big Lunch” parties look to bring modern Britain’s communities closer.
- Community spirit –
Monday has been declared a public holiday — meaning people can let loose on Sunday without having to worry about a hangover.
Charles and Camilla hope the long weekend “will provide an opportunity to spend time and celebrate with friends, families and communities”, Buckingham Palace said.
After the post-World War II hardships, street parties were a major feature of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 — and a memorable part of celebrations for her long reign in 1977 and her platinum jubilee last year.
The Big Lunch is an attempt to keep alive that more neighbourly spirit. More than 67,000 Big Lunches are planned, according to organisers Eden Project Communities.
“From a cup of tea with a neighbour to a street party, a Coronation Big Lunch brings the celebrations to your neighbourhood and is a great way to get to know your community a little better,” Buckingham Palace said.
It is likely to see multiple hit-and-miss attempts at making Coronation Quiche — the specially created, baked savoury tart featuring spinach, broad beans and tarragon.
The king’s sister, Princess Anne, was due to attend a community street party in Windsor, where his nieces Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — Prince Andrew’s daughters — will also attend a big lunch.