The coronation of King Charles III was one of the most significant events in recent memory. More than 2,000 people attended the ceremony. Official invitations were sent out, but who was important enough to have made the cut? Spoiler: not everyone we would expect to see there was invited. The guest list was an eclectic mix of people from all over the world, including celebrities, dignitaries, and everyone in between. So who attended the historic event? And which famous faces didn't make an appearance?
Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales
Naturally, members of the House of Windsor were all in attendance. Unsurprisingly, Prince William was present at his father’s coronation — and played a key role. He and his wife, Kate Middleton, were part of the King’s Procession, which walked from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey after the service. William was allegedly heavily involved in the planning of the event, too. According to The Sunday Times, the heir to the throne also had a special moment; he kneeled and pledged allegiance to Charles and then touched the St Edward’s Crown and kissed his dad’s right cheek.
Little Prince George also had a very big role in King Charles’ coronation. According to an official announcement from the royal family, he was selected as one of eight Pages of Honor. They were part of the procession through Westminster Abbey during the ceremony. A Kensington Palace spokesperson for William and Kate said, “We’re all very excited about Prince George’s role in the coronation, it will be an incredibly special moment.” Ahead of the coronation, royal expert Tessa Dunlop also told OK! magazine about George's other important role. She explained, “Apparently, Charles has been practicing walking in his robe and one of George's jobs is to make sure his grandfather doesn't fall," a role George pulled off quite well!
Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte
Also in attendance were the other younger members of the royal family, including Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte. They may not have had a key role like their older brother, but they sure provided us with some entertaining facial expressions throughout the ceremony, as they often do.
On Wednesday, April 12, Buckingham Palace announced that Harry, Duke of Sussex, was indeed attending the coronation of his father, King Charles. It marked the first time the public has seen Harry with other members of the royal family since the publishing of his bombshell memoir, Spare. According to a friend of Harry’s, he was eager to be there for his father on this monumental occasion. Since the Duke of Sussex is no longer a working royal, he didn't have an official role in the ceremony.
Princess Beatrice and Eugenie
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, 9th and 10th in line to the throne, respectively, were also there, along with their husbands. A pregnant Beatrice and her sister joined their cousin Prince Harry at Westminster Abbey for the big day. However, their mother, Sarah Ferguson, revealed that she was not invited. (More on that later.)
Princess Anne, Peter Phillips, and Zara Tindall
As the only sister of King Charles III, Princess Anne naturally was at his coronation. She is 16th in the line of succession to the British throne. Her son, Peter Phillips, also attended, and his sister, Zara Tindall, and her husband, rugby player Mike Tindall, were on the guest list as well.
The guest list for King Charles’ coronation was a long one, of course. Though, many of the royals there were not as well-known as their famous relatives. There was James Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl of Wessex, and his parents, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh — who was rumored to be one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite family members. Then Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret, and her husband, Daniel Chatto. Their children also received invites: Samuel and Arthur Chatto. But then there were the royals that traveled in from abroad.
While historically it has not been customary for other monarchs to attend the coronation of a British king, the coronation of King Charles III was different. This was a hugely significant break from tradition. At Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, there were no crowned foreign monarchs. According to The Telegraph, “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 did away with the tradition and invited his counterparts from around the world.” A few foreign rulers were in attendance.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco
Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, the current ruling monarch and consort of the Principality of Monaco, attended the coronation of King Charles. They told People magazine, “You know, I don't know how many coronations of an English monarch I'll see in my lifetime, so we'll try to take advantage of that.”
King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain
You may recognize King Felipe and Queen Letizia if you tuned in to watch the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022. The Spanish King and Queen, who are distant cousins of Charles, returned to British soil to witness Charles crowned as king.
A dazzling list of international royalty
Other international royals that made an appearance at this historic event were King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Other rulers who made the trip to see King Charles' coronation were the Emir of Qatar, the Ruler of Dubai, and Crown Prince Akishino and his wife Crown Princess Kiko of Japan.
Camilla’s family and friends
Camilla's family also played a role in the festivities, with several of her grandchildren taking part in official duties. The Queen handpicked her three grandsons and her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, to be Pages of Honor. This marked their first time in the limelight, as they assisted the Queen during the ceremony. Additionally, Camilla's six companions, who were appointed to support and accompany her on important occasions, were also in attendance. Overall, Camilla's family was given equal billing and recognition alongside the rest of the royal family during this historic occasion. Who else was on her guest list?
Tom Parker Bowles
If you’re a foodie, perhaps you’ve heard of Tom Parker Bowles independently of his connection to the royal family. Camilla’s son is a food critic — and a very successful one at that. He’s not only authored books about food, but he’s also popped up on food-related reality shows and contests. But Tom’s had a bit of a difficult past. He remembered to The Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2017, “I was naughty, partied a bit hard. When I was younger I got sacked all the time. But I loved eating and could just about string a sentence together, so I thought I could write about food.”
Laura Lopes, Camilla’s daughter, is also naturally attended her mother and stepfather’s coronation. Not much is known about her, and chances are she likes it that way. What we do know is that Laura is married to a former Calvin Klein model called Harry Lopes. So, she’s now Laura Lopes rather than Laura Parker Bowles, which helps her stay out of the public eye. Her wedding took place in 2006 — one year after her mother wed Charles. And it was a big society event, attended by at least 500 guests, including Prince William and Prince Harry.
Camilla’s grandchildren also attended the historic occasion. First, there are Tom’s children, Freddy Parker Bowles (the Queen Consort’s youngest grandchild) and Lola (the Queen Consort’s eldest grandchild). Then we have Laura’s children, Eliza, and twins Louis and Gus.
Representatives from the British government were in attendance. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt all turned up at the ceremony. Many others made the guest list, too, including former prime ministers Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Theresa May, Gordon Brown, and John Major.
Members of the public
More than 1,250 volunteers and young people were invited to participate in the ceremony or its related events, according to an announcement made on April 8. These included 450 "Covid heroes," people whose inspiring efforts during the pandemic were rewarded. For example, teenager Max Woosey attended the coronation. He raised over £750,000 for his grandma’s hospice during Covid. And chef Manju Malhi gave remote cooking classes during the pandemic.
As we know, the British royal family often brushes shoulders with Hollywood stars. They’re even good friends with some of them. As such, some A-listers made an appearance at King Charles’ coronation. Although not everyone who was invited could attend, some stars showed up to bear witness to the moment in history.
Dame Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley is famously friendly with the royal family, so it’s no surprise she was at the coronation ceremony. The Absolutely Fabulous star even admitted that she doesn’t like to watch The Crown because it’s too strange watching a show about people she knows. In 1995 the legendary actress was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and in 2022 named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), to honor her services to drama, entertainment, and charity.
David and Victoria Beckham
It was speculated that the Beckhams would attend the coronation. After all, David and Victoria have been known to run in royal circles over the years. They even made the guest list for Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding in 2018. The ex-footballer also waited in line for 12 hours to pay his respects to the Queen after her death. That’s dedication. But ultimately, they could not make it to King Charles' coronation and posted well wishes on Instagram.
Like the Beckhams, Sandra Oh was rumored to be attending Charles’ coronation, though she didn't end up making the trip. The Killing Eve actress was present at Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, so many expected her to also be on the guest list for the coronation ceremony. The reason is that she has been appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honor for civilians.
Not attending: Meghan Markle, Prince Archie, and Princess Lilibet
On Wednesday, April 12, Buckingham Palace announced that although Prince Harry would be attending, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, would not be at the event. She ended up staying at their home in California with their children, Archie and Princess Lilibet, to celebrate Archie’s fourth birthday.
Not attending: Elton John
Famously a close friend of the late Princess Diana and now her son Prince Harry, Elton John seemed to be a surefire bet for the coronation guest list. However, although he was invited, he did not attend. Representatives have revealed that the singer had to decline his invitation to the event due to a scheduling issue. No further information was given.
Not attending: Sarah Ferguson
You’d think, given that she’s a member of the royal family, that Sarah Ferguson would be attending such a historic royal event. However, Ferguson, who was married to Charles’ younger brother, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, for 10 years, reportedly did not receive an invite. Fergie has revealed that she’ll still be celebrating on the day. She said on the TV show Loose Women, “I personally will be having a little tea room and coronation chicken sandwich and putting out the bunting.”
A slimmed-down coronation
Could some of these surprise no-shows have been down to a deliberate move to streamline Charles’ coronation? It was conveyed King Charles opted for a less extravagant and more streamlined event than coronations past.
The coronation planning committee operated under the grand name of “Operation Golden Orb” in case you were in any doubt about how seriously Britain takes these things. Everything involved in the coronation was held to the highest possible standards, and some of the things that Charles used on the day — not even just the jewels — are absolutely invaluable.
“A lot less fuss”
In February 2022, before Elizabeth had passed and Charles had become King, an anonymous source told the Daily Mail newspaper, “Compared to the last coronation, there will be a lot less fuss. Last time, special green chairs were commissioned, and guests were able to have them delivered to their homes afterwards. You won’t see that sort of thing this time.”
A more “streamlined” coronation
In October 2022, a month after Elizabeth II’s passing, royal editor Russell Myers talked about the coronation possibilities on British television. He told the ITV network, “King Charles apparently wants a very streamlined coronation, potentially to do with the cost-of-living crisis. He’s very aware of the fact that a man prancing around in a jeweled crown is probably not the best look when everybody is struggling to pay their bills at the moment.”
A very special throne
But there were still special chairs involved. In order to be crowned, Charles had to sit on an ancient seat called King Edward’s Chair, and when we say ancient we really do mean ancient. King Edward I had it made sometime around 1300 to house Scotland’s Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny. The stone was returned to Scotland in 1996 but it revisits England for coronations, and the chair itself has been used for crownings since at least 1399.
Charles may not have wanted to end up “prancing around in a jeweled crown,” but he didn't actually have a lot of choices when it came to the coronation regalia. Like his mother, he had to wear the St. Edward’s Crown, a 5-lb beauty of a headpiece that features 444 gems.
And the new monarch also had to wear the Imperial State Crown, which is arguably the one most associated with the late Elizabeth. Not only did she wear it at her coronation, but it was also placed on her coffin for her State Funeral. It’s one of the “newer” royal crowns, since it was only made in 1937 — but it’s a truly remarkable creation.
Also like Elizabeth, Charles had to wear a grand total of six robes, one for each stage of the coronation. The names of these, in order of appearance, are as follows: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture, the enthronement, and the homage. A couple of these robes were historic pieces, but most of them were actually made especially for Charles.
Other items, of varying weirdness, were made for the new King too. One of the best examples? A traditional food enjoyed by the royals at special events is the less-than-appetizing lamprey pie. This delicacy is a pastry filled with meat from eel-like fish called lampreys. These pies were provided at both the Queen’s 2012 and 2017 jubilees… though her reaction to them was sadly not recorded.
King and queen
Charles had more to worry about at the coronation beyond weird pies, though. For starters, his spouse was crowned alongside him, something Elizabeth never had to deal with. Prince Philip was a male consort, so the rules were different: rather than getting a crown, he simply had to pledge to be “liege man of life and limb” to his wife.
But the Queen Consort also got to wear a crown as well. But which crown? Well, predictions initially built some controversy ahead of the crown decision. Some royal experts have suggested Camilla would wear the Queen Mother’s Koh-i-Noor crown, named after a diamond with a very unpleasant backstory.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world, and once upon a time it belonged to Queen Victoria. But where she got it from is more problematic. She was given it during the time of British colonial rule in India, and for a long time now India has demanded its return.
“A stone that might have looked acceptable on the Queen Mother’s head in the Britain of 1937 would look utterly indefensible on Camilla’s, next May,” The Guardian wrote in October 2022. It’s hard to argue with that, but thankfully, Charles and Camilla opted not to include the diamond in the coronation day festivities.
Star of Africa
That’s not all. The Imperial State Crown and the royal scepter both hold pieces of a diamond called the Star of Africa, and that, too, was also a product of colonial rule. Immediately after Elizabeth’s death in 2022, groups in South Africa demanded that the gem be returned to its country of origin and not used for future British coronations.