With not two but three bank holidays awaiting us during May, the capital is gearing up for one of the biggest royal events seen in recent times. Not since 1953 and the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II has the UK seen a coronation and so, for many, this will be a first. It is the only remaining event of its type in Europe and so is likely to attract huge crowds and coverage across the three-day celebration.
The coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May in a ceremony that dates back more than 1000 years. It is however likely to be shorter and smaller in scale than that of Queen Elizabeth II but with King Charles still being crowned in the 700-year-old coronation chair by the Arch Bishop of Canterbury using the solid gold, 17th century, St Edward’s Crown. This particularly heavy crown will be replaced towards the end of the ceremony by the Imperial State Crown and it is this that his majesty will wear when he appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the ceremony. This will be the second time in twelve months that the crown jewels have made an appearance outside the Tower of London.
The whole event will be televised with screens likely to be set up in many of the royal parks and down The Mall. The 4.3-mile route (7km) between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey will be lined with spectators who can expect to see the King and Queen Consort as they leave for the Abbey in the gold state coach and also returning with other members of the family in the ‘coronation procession’ after the ceremony.
Three days of celebrations
London is likely to be in full party-mode on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with pubs allowed to stay open for an extra two hours over the weekend. Sunday 7th May sees the big Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle which will be broadcast live on the BBC. As part of the this, there will be a ‘Lighting Up the Nation’ moment which will see iconic landmarks around the capital lit up as well as buildings around the UK.
Bank holiday Monday (8th) has been titled ‘The Big Help Out’ which is encouraging people to help a local or national charity, good cause or community group.
By royal appointment
If you’re not actually in the capital for the coronation, you can still enjoy a royal appointment this year by booking tickets for Buckingham Palace when it opens again in summer. Get in early by booking tickets now as visitors can tour the 19 state rooms in the heart of the palace; view some of the treasures of the Royal collection that line the walls including a number of portraits of the Queen and personal possessions to mark her remarkable 70-year reign. The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery are part of the site but have their own entrances and can be viewed separately to the main palace or as part of a combined ticket. The royal mews is home to the 260-year-old gold state coach which will have a central role in the coronation of King Charles III. Tickets for July are on sale – simply visit www.buckinghampalace.co.uk for full details.
The sweet smell of spring
A short walk from The Cavendish into nearby St James’ Park will surely fill you with the joy of springtime, whilst any lover of plants will look forward to the end of the month which sees the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower show taking place between 23-27 May.
Housed within the grounds of Royal hospital, Chelsea, the show is the place to see amazing garden designs, unusual plants and ideas to take home. There really is no horticultural show quite like Chelsea which has grown to become the most prestigious in the RHS’ calendar.
Also, all around the borough of Chelsea is ‘Chelsea in Bloom’ - London’s largest free flower festival. The streets burst with colour and scent in a competition between Chelsea’s best retailers, restaurants and hotels which adorn themselves with breath-taking displays of flowers and plants to win one of the coveted awards. Taking place between 22-28 May, visit www.chelseainbloom.co.uk to see who is participating and how to vote for your favourite.
Something for the holidays
With the spring-bank school holidays on the horizon too, if you fancy a walking tour which includes that royal favourite, Paddington Bear, then this tour is a must! Learn all about the little bear from deepest, darkest Peru’s adventures as you follow in his famous pawprints seeing the locations featured in the books and films. Beginning, of course, at Paddington railway station you’ll see Mr Gruber’s antiques shop and the Portobello market. The tour lasts around two and a half hours beginning at 10.30am – click here
for more info and to book.
Another location well worth a visit is the Postal Museum where you can ride through the original tunnels on the Post Office railway that were used for 100 years to deliver the mail around the capital 22 hours a day. You’ll experience the station platforms and glimpse the hidden parts that once kept the mail circulating through London. Being the post office, you can also see the first sheet of King Charles III’s stamps along with some of the rarest and most valuable stamps from the reigns of six monarchs. Open Wednesday to Sunday, visit www.postalmusuem.org for full details.
If the thought of all that celebrating has worn you out, don’t forget you can simply enjoy a delicious afternoon tea with us here at The Cavendish, every afternoon in the Mayfair Lounge and Grill. Whether you’re staying with us or are simply visiting for the day, we can guarantee you’ll enjoy one of the best afternoon teas Mayfair has to offer – and what a great way to celebrate in your own style!