King Charles found a special way to honor his late father Prince Philip on his coronation day.
As the May 6 ceremony approaches, Buckingham Palace continues to release details regarding the big day, this week announcing that an original composition honoring the Duke of Edinburgh will be played at Westminster Abbey
at the monarch’s request. The palace said in a statement, “His Majesty The King has personally commissioned the new music and shaped and selected the musical program for the Service At the request of His Majesty, in tribute to his late father His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Greek Orthodox music will also feature in the Service performed by the Byzantine Chant Ensemble.” Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99, was born in Greece and baptized in the Greek Orthodox church. When he married Queen Elizabeth in November 1947, he converted to Anglican as his new wife was supreme governor of the Church of England.
The palace previously said that the coronation will merge both traditional religious elements and modern aspects to create a ceremony unique to the new king. “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry,” they said in a previous statement. To add that contemporary angle, King Charles has commissioned 12 new pieces of music to be performed by artists from throughout the UK and Commonwealth. It will also feature a new Coronation Anthem written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the legendary musical composer behind smash hits such as Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. Webber said in a statement, “I am incredibly honoured to have been asked to compose a new anthem for The Coronation. My anthem includes words slightly adapted from Psalm 98. I have scored it for the Westminster Abbey choir and organ, the ceremonial brass and orchestra. I hope my anthem reflects this joyful occasion.” The coronation service will be sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey and The Choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, along with choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College, Belfast and Truro Cathedral Choir. The Ascension Choir will also perform, as will The King’s Scholars of Westminster School.
It’s clear that music will play an important role in the coronation as King Charles and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, also recently released a royal playlist. Earlier this month, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport debuted the new coronation website filled with all the information the public might need about the forthcoming ceremony, as well as a two-hour “Coronation Celebration Playlist” on Spotify. The 27-song list begins with The Beatles’ “Come Together” and goes on to feature predominately British bands and artists, including Coldplay, David Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Harry Styles, Queen, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Sam Ryder, the Spice Girls, The Kinks, The Who and Tom Jones. The playlist also appropriately ends with the song “King” by Years & Years.
The coronation weekend will also conclude with the Coronation Concert broadcast live from Windsor Castle in celebration of the new king. The lineup of performers has yet to be announced, but according to the website, iconic locations across the UK will be lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays, and illuminations. Tickets to the concert will also be given away to the public via national ballot and the evening will also be attended by volunteers from some of the king and queen consort’s favorite charities.
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