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MaltaToday 3 May 2023 MIDWEEK

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15 WORLD maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 26 APRIL 2023 What is planned for King Charles III's coronation? THE history of British royal cor- onations in London date back around a thousand years. Over that period, numerous rituals were developed, with many to feature during the coronation of Charles IIIand his wife, Camilla, on May 6. Some rituals are almost as old as the ceremony itself, such as the royal headgear. Other as- pects, like picking a signature dish — in this case, the "coro- nation quiche" — are modern additions. Here are seven essential things to know about King Charles III's upcoming corona- tion ceremony. 1. Why is it taking place on May 6? The royal family and the British government together picked a date that was deemed appropriate for the ceremony, yet no official reason for the May 6 date was given. Nonetheless, the British press has pointed out how the date marks several royal family mile- stones. May 6 is the birthday of Charles' grandchild Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Wind- sor, the eldest son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who was born in 2019. It is al- so the anniversary of the 1910 death of his great-great-grand- father, King Edward VII. Was it the best idea to have the ceremony on his grand- son's birthday? Maybe not. Daughter-in-law Markle, who is staying in Los Angeles with the kids during the coronation, is reportedly planning an extra special birthday party for her son as he turns four. 2. Why Westminster Abbey? There presumably wasn't any debate about the choice of location: British queens and kings have been crowned at Westminster Abbey since 1066, when William the Con- queror vanquished England with his army. Since then, 38 coronation ceremonies have taken place in the cathedral. Incidentally, William the Conqueror was notably crowned on Christmas Day in 1066. December 25 was good timing as kings were then con- sidered God's representatives on earth. Charles III reportedly wanted a religious date, but his wish appears to have been ignored. His mother Elizabeth II al- so performed her coronation in the summer, having been crowned on June 2, 1953. 3. Which crown will be used? The royal family owns several crowns. Following coronation tradition, Charles will wear St. Edward's Crown, the oldest of the British royal crowns and the centerpiece of the so-called Crown Jewels. It was made in 1661 and first worn by King Charles II. The previous medieval crown had been melted down, as many royal jewels were sold or de- stroyed when England became a republic (1649-1660) under the leadership by military dic- tator Oliver Cromwell. After the restoration of the monarchy, a new crown had to be created that closely resem- bled its predecessor. According to the Royal Col- lection Trust, the crown weighs around two kilograms, is made of pure gold and adorned with rubies, amethysts and sap- phires. It is estimated to be worth around $40 million (€36 million). The crown is named after St. Edward, the last Anglo-Sax- on king of England, who ruled from 1042 until his death in 1066. 4. And which crown was cho- sen for the queen? On May 6, Camilla, currently Queen Consort, will become Queen Camilla. She will be wearing the crown made for the 1911 coronation ceremony of Queen Mary, con- sort of King George V. Accord- ing to The Guardian, this will be the first time since the 18th century that a queen consort's crown is "reused" for a corona- tion. Ahead of the ceremony, an important gem will be re- moved from the crown: the Koh-i-noor diamond, which has recently caused controver- sy as it came into the posses- sion of the British royal family under dubious circumstanc- es. Four countries are trying to reclaim the diamond from Great Britain: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Instead of the Koh-i-Noor, Camilla's crown will feature some of Queen Elizabeth II's favorite stones — a tribute to the late monarch, according to the official statement. 5. What about the souvenirs? No royal celebration takes place without the appropriate merchandise: To commem- orate the coronation of King Charles III, an entire series of collectible gifts are availa- ble for fans of the royal fam- ily, whether tea towels, spe- cial coins or fridge magnets. The face of the new king even adorns British biscuit tins. The British press has how- ever noted that there appears to be fewer souvenirs marking the coronation than, for ex- ample, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Beyond the official royal merch, one fan developed in his free time a special design for cereal boxes, as reported by the New York Times. The back of the boxes of the "Corona- tion Flakes" designed by Imran Haq, a surgeon for Britain's National Health Service, fea- ture a cutout mask of Charles' face. 6. What's for lunch? The "Coronation Big Lunch" is also to take place on coro- nation weekend. This is not a state banquet, but an initiative inciting communities, clubs, friends, families and neighbors to meet for self-organized "Big Lunches" to celebrate the cor- onation of their king. Tradi- tionally, money is collected for charitable purposes. King Charles III and Queen Camilla have also provided their recipe suggestions for the "Big Lunches." The "Cor- onation Quiche" was selected as a convenient dish that is inexpensive to make and can be served both cold and hot. The royal couple recommends eating a green salad and boiled new potatoes with the quiche, characterized by "delicate fla- vors of spinach, broad beans and fresh tarragon." For those who feel a spin- ach quiche isn't spectacular enough, there are three oth- er suggestions: lamb with an Asian marinade; a recipe by American-Chinese celebrity chef Ken Hom; the "corona- tion aubergine" by British bak- er and columnist Nadiya Hus- sain; as well as a very special dessert by London's prominent star chef, Adam Handling. 7. Who is performing at the traditional coronation con- cert? There will be a concert at Windsor Castle on the Sunday after the coronation. Big stars such as Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and opera singer Andrea Bocelli, who will sing a duet with Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, are expected. English pop group Take That, singer-songwriter Freya Rid- ings, and hip-hop inspired classical pianist Alexis Ffrench will also be performing at the televised coronation concert. The service will include a new composition by musical legend Andrew Lloyd Webber (known for works such as "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita" or "Cats"). The composer had already performed for the royal family for Queen Elizabeth II's Plati- num Jubilee. In addition to the big super- stars, there will also be a so- called "Coronation Choir" on stage, combining local choirs from all over the country. They will also be joined by a virtual choir, brining together sing- ers from across the Common- wealth. … Oh, and is Harry attending? After falling out with Buck- ingham Palace, King Charles' youngest son, Prince Harry, is expecting a rather cool recep- tion. Having officially left the royal family, he has neverthe- less agreed to attend the event. He will, however, not be sitting in the front row like the rest of the royal family during the ceremony, but will have to sit further back. Harry has not confirmed whether he will attend the cor- onation concert on the follow- ing day. It is believed that he will be returning to California to his family as soon as possi- ble to celebrate son Archie's fourth birthday with Meghan and the children. Westminster Abbey is the site of many other important services attended by the British royal family

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