Buckingham Palace reveals details of King’s coronation weekend
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Princess Anne and Prince Edward have been tipped to “be prominent” in the upcoming Coronation of King Charles. While siblings of the monarch and key members of the Royal Family don’t normally have a role to play in the sacred service, Dr George Gross – Visiting Research Fellow in Theology at King’s College London – believes the two working royals will play a key role during the Coronation.
Asked what role Anne and Edward could play at the Coronation according to past services, he told Express.co.uk: “In terms of paying homage, that would be the key role that they may play.
“I suspect they would be prominent. Whether they play a role… they don’t have to. There’s nothing that says they have to.
“Because there isn’t a particular moment in the service where they have to play a role besides the paying homage element.
“It’s not critical [to have members of the Royal Family playing a role during the service] partly because of course if you go back in time there would not always be those figures around [the monarch], the key figures tend to be bishops or other set figures rather than Royal Family members.”
While the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal may not play a pivotal role during the Coronation, taking place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey, the pair have already been given a new important duty by their elder brother just months into his reign.
After the Counsellors of State Act was given royal assent, Prince Edward and Princess Anne were added to the number of people who can act as stand-ins for the monarch whenever he is temporarily ill or abroad.
This move was undertaken to increase the number of working members of the Firm available to carry out Constitutional duties whenever needed and lower the chances non-working royals eligible for the Counsellors of State role – such as Prince Harry, Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice – would need to be picked.
During the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, her only sister Princess Margaret didn’t play an active role but stood next to the Queen Mother.
That service saw Dukes paying tributes to the crowned sovereign by kneeling before her.
King Charles, however, is believed to have decided against including this tradition in his Coronation service, the Sunday Times wrote earlier this month.
Dr Gross noted this decision would be beneficial on two fronts.
Firstly, this choice would avoid having the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex playing a prominent role during the service despite no longer being full-time working members of the Firm.
Cutting this part of the service would also help slash the duration of the Coronation, Dr Gross explained.
He said: “It’s one way of reducing the friction if they get rid of that element in the service, it’s not absolutely critical, I wouldn’t say that’s one of the most critical elements if they removed it.
“It would reduce the time and length of the service, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that bit was removed.”
While Buckingham Palace hasn’t yet confirmed how long the service will be, it has been reported it won’t be as long as the Queen’s Coronation, which lasted for three hours.
The Coronation will be the most important event part of a three-day extravaganza lasting between May 6 to May 8.
The Coronation Weekend will include a concert staged and broadcast live at Windsor Castle, street parties and royal appearances.
Dr Gross is leading with Dr David Crankshaw, Lecturer in the History of Early Modern Christianity at King’s, research on the “British Coronations Project c.973–present”, a comprehensive analysis of what these events reveal about our past, our present and about ourselves.
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