King Charles III's Coronation: A Multicultural Celebration includes a solid Greek presence

King Charles III

On May 6th, 2023, King Charles III of the United Kingdom and the other 14 Commonwealth countries were officially crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, England. The coronation ceremony, which began at 8 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, was attended by more than 2,200 people, including international delegates from 203 countries, community and charity workers, Nobel Prize winners, religious representatives, heads of state, and foreign ministers.

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Among the guests were 14 prominent Australians, including Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Linda, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon, Indigenous artist Jasmine Coe, and Matilda's captain Sam Kerr, who represented Australian women's football. The President of the Republic of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, was also present at the event as the official guest of the King of Britain, being the first citizen of Greece. Ms Sakellaropoulou attended the coronation at Westminster Abbey. She was immediately present at the reception organized by the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverley, for foreign guests at Church House in Westminster.

The coronation ceremony invited the public to swear allegiance to the monarch and his successors, a ritual released by the Archbishop of Canterbury's office. This invitation allowed citizens to pay tribute by joining a "chorus of a million voices," which was added from an old ceremony. All those who wished to do so, in the Abbey and elsewhere, said together: "I swear true allegiance to Your Excellency and to Your successors according to law. My God is my witness."

The coronation was attended by more than 400 young people representing charities who also participated in the processions through St. Margaret's Church, next to the Abbey. King Charles III wanted the ceremony to be much more austere than the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. However, there was a strong Greek presence among just 2,200 guests, a quarter of Elizabeth's invitees.

Former Queen of Greece Anna Maria, her eldest son Prince Pavlos and his wife, Marie Chantal, were at the coronation ceremony. King Charles III and Queen Camilla were joined by the Greek-born princely couple of Serbia at Westminster Abbey. The former prince, Crown Prince Alexander, whose mother was Princess Alexandra of Greece, daughter of King Alexander I of Greece and Aspasia Manos, was accompanied by his Athens-born wife, Princess Ekaterina, née Bati.

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece along with Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greearrive at Buckingham Palace for the Coronation Reception for overseas guests, hosted by King Charles photo from Greek Royal in Twitter

The British monarch's close connection with Orthodoxy and the Greek origin of his father, Prince Philip, who was born in Corfu, made him want to honour Orthodoxy with Greek Orthodox music at his coronation. Alexandros Ligas, a Greek-Canadian musicologist, expert in Byzantine music, and founder of the Cappella Romana choir, participated in Charles' enthronement ceremony. His father had found himself watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, and now, seventy years later, father and son were present at two iconic events of the British monarchy.

The coronation of King Charles III was a multicultural celebration showcasing the modern monarchy's diversity and inclusivity. The presence of international delegates from 203 countries, community and charity workers, Nobel Prize winners, religious representatives, heads of state, and foreign ministers demonstrated the British monarchy's global significance.

The attendance of 14 prominent Australians, including the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, and Matilda's captain, highlighted the strong bond between Australia and the United Kingdom. It was a momentous occasion for Indigenous artist Jasmine Coe, who was selected to represent Australian Indigenous culture at the coronation.

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