King Charles III‘s coronation prep is underway — including the music for the crowning ceremony.
Buckingham Palace announced last month that new music will be performed at King Charles and Queen Camilla’s May 6 coronation at Westminster Abbey. The musical talent from across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth includes soloists Sir Bryn Terfel, Roderick Williams and Pretty Yende.
Yende, a South African opera singer, shared her excitement at the announcement on her social media pages.
“It’s hard to put into words how honored and blessed I feel to receive an invitation to perform at The Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6th of May 2023,” she wrote.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the English composer behind theater hits such as The Phantom of the Opera, Evita and Cats, will pen a new Coronation Anthem.
He 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.”
King Charles, 74, also personally requested a composition honoring his father. Prince Philip, who died at age 99 in April 2021, was born in Greece and baptized in the Greek Orthodox church, converting religions before his wedding to Queen Elizabeth II in November 1947.
“His Majesty The King has personally commissioned the new music and shaped and selected the musical programme for the Service,” the palace said in a statement. “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.”
While the music for the coronation is set, the performers for the Coronation Concert taking place on the day after the crowning ceremony have not yet been announced.
Produced, staged and broadcast live from Windsor Castle’s East Lawn by the BBC and BBC Studios, the Coronation Concert will feature a lineup of “global music icons and contemporary stars” supported by a world-class orchestra and dancers, according to the palace.
According to reports, Adele, Harry Styles, Robbie Williams and Elton John all turned down the gig. Rolling Stone reports that the singers’ teams declined to comment on the matter except for John, “who confirmed he was asked but couldn’t play due to scheduling issues.” Other artists may have conflicts in their schedules as well — after all, tours are planned years in advance while the date of King Charles’ coronation was only announced in October.
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At the Platinum Party at the Palace, which took place in June to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s historic 70 years on the throne, the royal family (including Kate Middleton and Prince William with their two eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte) sang along to acts such as Queen + Adam Lambert, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Lin-Manuel Miranda with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diana Ross.