Britons will be encouraged to spend a day volunteering in their communities to mark the King’s coronation. The Big Help Out will take place on Monday 8 May and is intended to create a “lasting legacy” of the coronation weekend.
Buckingham Palace said it hoped to convince as many people as possible to “join the work being undertaken to support their local areas” on the day, which has been designated as an extra bank holiday.
Details of the volunteering drive were announced as part of plans to mark the King’s coronation weekend, which include street parties, drone displays and a concert at Windsor Castle featuring “global music icons”. It is part of a concerted effort by Buckingham Palace to portray Charles as a more modern monarch.
“Iconic locations” across the UK will be lit up using projections, lasers and drones as part of a Lighting up the Nation event, and a specially formed choir including refugees, NHS workers and members of LGBTQ+ and signing choirs will perform.
The weekend’s events will begin on the morning of Saturday 6 May when King Charles III is crowned in a service at Westminster Abbey. The King’s wife, Camilla, will also be crowned Queen Consort in the service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Ahead of the coronation, the King and Queen Consort will arrive together in procession from Buckingham Palace. Afterwards they will return to the palace in a coronation procession, joined by other members of the royal family. The day will culminate with an appearance of the royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
The following day, Sunday 7 May, a Coronation Big Lunch will see parties and community lunches held in streets, gardens, parks and public spaces across the country, with people invited to eat together in a “nationwide act of celebration and friendship”.
A coronation concert that night will be broadcast live from Windsor Castle by the BBC, which the palace says will bring together “global music icons” and “contemporary stars”. Details of the artists have yet to be announced but there will also be a “world-class orchestra” playing interpretations of musical favourites, the palace said, as well as spoken word and dance performances.
The concert will be attended by a public audience including volunteers from charities affiliated with the King and Queen Consort. Thousands of pairs of tickets will also be available for members of the public to apply for via a forthcoming BBC ballot.
The palace said the coronation was a time for solemn religious service as well as pageantry and celebration. It is a symbolic formality that does not signify the start of the king’s reign, which began when he assumed the throne immediately after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022.
At the time of her death, Elizabeth II had been queen for 70 years and 214 days, making her the longest-reigning British monarch. Her coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.