British cathedrals prepare to celebration King Charles III’s coronation

A flower exhibit in the shape of the coronation emblem is to be displayed in Ely Cathedral over the coronation weekend. Photo/Ely Cathedral

By Hattie Williams

Church Times

Grand floral displays, a nave turned forest, proms, tea-parties, special evensongs, and red, white, and blue floodlighting are among the creative ways in which cathedrals are marking the Coronation of King Charles III on May 6.

Each of the 42 cathedrals in England is offering some form of celebratory worship, community activities, and special events over the coronation weekend. Several are also planning to livestream the coronation service from Westminster Abbey.

This includes Canterbury Cathedral, which is also hosting a Coronation Prom on May 5. Its bell ringers are preparing for a full peal on May 6, before a coronation Evensong. On Sunday, May 7, the cathedral precinct will be opened to the public, free, to bring picnics for a Coronation Big Lunch — part of the UK-wide initiative (News, 21 April).

That evening, at a ticketed event, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will reflect on his personal experience of officiating at the coronation the previous day, in conversation with cathedral dean David Monteith.

An arrangement of the hymn “Crown him with many crowns”, composed by Richard Hubbard, who is music development director at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, will be performed by the 120-piece All Souls Orchestra, and a 320-voice choir, at the Coronation Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, on Coronation Day. “It’s a great honor to have my arrangement played at the Royal Albert Hall on this once-in-a-generation occasion. My aim has been to make the orchestration highlight the words — to bring them to life in a new way that will inspire people to worship as they sing,” Hubbard said.

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