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Prince Harry, Nick Cave Among King Charles III’s Coronation Guests

Guests have begun to arrive at Westminster Abbey in London for the coronation of King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla.

Although Charles ascended to the throne the minute Queen Elizabeth II died last year, the coronation is a ceremony to mark the formal investiture of his regal powers (such as they are in modern-day Britain).

The 2,200-strong congregation who will gather to watch the St Edward’s Crown being placed atop Charles’ head include members of the royal family, politicians, aristocrats, international dignitaries and celebrities including singers Nick Cave and Lionel Richie, TV hosts Bear Grylls and comedian Rowan Atkinson, better known as his on-screen alter-ego Mr Bean.

Among the royals attending are Charles’ sons Prince William and Prince Harry, his siblings Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and his grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. While Prince William’s wife Catherine, the Princess of Wales will be in attendance, Harry’s wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex will not. She is instead remaining in Montecito with the couple’s children Prince Archie (who is celebrating his fourth birthday today) and Princess Lilibet.

Politicians present include British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, culture secretary Lucy Frazer (whose department is involved in organizing the event) and seven of the previous Prime Ministers including Boris Johnson and Tony Blair.

Missing from the guestlist is President Joe Biden, who declined to attend, instead sending First Lady Dr Jill Biden in his stead. She will be among international dignitaries from 203 countries including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Vice President of China Han Zheng and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission while royals from countries including Monaco, Japan, Sweden, Denmark and Jordan are also on the guestlist.

There will also be a number of familiar faces in the audience hailing from the worlds of media and entertainment. Among them are “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” hosts Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, better known by their stage moniker “Ant and Dec,” adventurer Bear Grylls, “Absolutely Fabulous” star Joanna Lumley, “Mr Bean” actor Rowan Atkinson, singer Lionel Richie (who is also set to perform at the coronation concert on Sunday evening), Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones, British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, designer Stella McCartney, “The Repair Shop” star Jay Blades and magician Dynamo.

Meanwhile Nick Cave will be part of the Australian delegation alongside comedian Adam Hills and soccer player Sam Kerr.

Some of the celebrities have been invited thanks to their links with Charles’ philanthropic organization The Prince’s Trust – Ant and Dec, Lionel Richie and Edward Enninful are all ambassadors for the charity – while others have been beneficiaries. Dynamo began his career thanks to a business loan from The Prince’s Trust, which bought him the camera and laptop he used to grow his global audience, while the Stereophonics received a grant from the charity at the beginning of their careers that enabled them to buy speakers for their live shows.

However the coronation, which comes amid a cost of living crisis for ordinary Britons, has not been welcomed by everyone and protests are expected in some quarters. Nick Cave felt compelled to explain his presence at the event in his newsletter last week in a blogpost titled “Why the fuck are you going to the King’s coronation?”

“I am not a monarchist, nor am I a royalist, nor am I an ardent republican for that matter,” he wrote. “what I am also not is so spectacularly incurious about the world and the way it works, so ideologically captured, so damn grouchy, as to refuse an invitation to what will more than likely be the most important historical event in the U.K. of our age. Not just the most important, but the strangest, the weirdest.”

“I hold an inexplicable emotional attachment to the Royals – the strangeness of them, the deeply eccentric nature of the whole affair that so perfectly reflects the unique weirdness of Britain itself,” he continued, adding he found himself welling up during the funeral of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last September. “I’m just drawn to that kind of thing – the bizarre, the uncanny, the stupefyingly spectacular, the awe-inspiring.”

Meanwhile Jay Blades, who hosted King Charles on an episode of his BBC show “The Repair Shop” last week, shared a snap of his royal invitation in an Instagram post last month, writing alongside it: “THOUGHT OF THE DAY. I am of the opinion that my Life belongs to the Whole Community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I LIVE. What do you Think?”

King Charles and Queen Camilla will be the last to arrive at the ceremony, ferried to the venue in a grand procession setting out from Buckingham Palace at 10.20am local time. The service will take around two hours, ending around 1pm, before the couple return to the palace in a gold state coach to make an appearance alongside their family on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony. There they will receive a royal salute from the military and, if the notoriously soggy British weather permits, watch a flypast by the Royal Air Force.

On Sunday, a concert to mark the coronation will take place at Windsor Castle, the King’s residence just outside London.

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