• Sunday, June 11, 2023


Coronation of King Charles III: Rishi Sunak, wife Akshata to lead with UK flag

To celebrate diversity and inclusion, the ceremony will feature a procession of faith representatives from different religions as one of the first groups to enter the Abbey

Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty (Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Buckingham Palace has announced that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty will lead a procession of flag-bearers during the Coronation ceremony of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6. The UK’s flag will be carried by a high-ranking Royal Air Force (RAF) cadet.

The palace has also revealed that Indian-origin peers will take part in the ceremony to represent the Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim faiths. They will hand over important components of the royal regalia to King Charles.

To celebrate diversity and inclusion, the ceremony will feature a procession of faith representatives from different religions as one of the first groups to enter the Abbey.

“The first processions into Westminster Abbey will be made up of faith leaders and faith representatives followed shortly afterwards by representatives from His Majesty’s Realms,” the palace said.

“Flags of each Realm will be carried by national representatives accompanied by the Governors General and Prime Ministers. Bearing the flag of the United Kingdom ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mrs Akshata Murty will be Cadet Warrant Officer Elliott Tyson-Lee,” it said.

During the Coronation ceremony, the ceremonial roles will involve carrying the regalia in the procession and presenting the items to the King and Queen.

Lord Narendra Babubhai Patel, aged 84, will represent the Hindu faith and hand over the Sovereign’s Ring to Charles.

Lord Indrajit Singh, aged 90, will represent the Sikh faith and present the Coronation Glove, while Lord Syed Kamall, aged 56, who is of Indo-Guyanese heritage, will represent the Muslim faith and present the Armills or a pair of bracelets. Baroness Gillian Merron, aged 64, who is Jewish, will carry the Robe Royal to the King.

The palace has stated that these individuals have been selected for these historic roles in the Coronation Service to “recognise, thank and represent the nation due to their significant service, and include representatives from Orders of Chivalry, the military and wider public life”.

The individuals selected to present the regalia on the advice of the British government will be directed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Justin Welby, who will preside over the Coronation ceremony.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, a former children’s TV presenter born in Trinidad and Tobago, expressed her honour and privilege to be a part of the historic event.

She said, “To be selected to carry the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, which represents spirituality, equity and mercy, is for me very symbolic as it’s everything I stand for and sends out a clear message that diversity and inclusion is being embraced”.

The Coronation ceremony will feature not only dukes, bishops, peers, and retired generals, but also a farmer named Francis Dymoke, who will assume the role of the King’s Champion.

This role is steeped in royal tradition dating back to the 11th century. The palace revealed that the title of King or Queen’s Champion has been held by the Dymoke family since the Middle Ages.

In the past, the King’s Champion would ride on horseback into the Coronation Banquet and challenge anyone who doubted the right of the King or Queen to the throne.

According to the palace, the role of the King’s Champion has evolved since the last Coronation Banquet held by King George IV in 1821. Since then, the Champion has typically carried a flag or Royal Standard instead.

The palace has been revealing details about the upcoming grand ceremony, which will mark the first Coronation ceremony in Britain in 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II was crowned monarch in 1953.

The day will feature processions with gilded horse-drawn carriages and thousands of military personnel, followed by a long weekend of celebrations that will include a gala concert, street parties, and other displays of pomp and pageantry.

(With inputs from PTI)

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