The countdown to the Coronation of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday May 6 and, to mark the historic occasion, the Palace has promised a concert with performances from “global music icons” and “contemporary stars”.
The late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party at the Palace saw industry titans Diana Ross, Queen and Rod Stewart take to the stage – while Elton John delivered a pre-recorded rendition of Your Song. Which big entertainers can we expect for the King’s Coronation weekend?
Along with plans for a star-studded line-up, the concert will also incorporate the monarch’s love of classical music. A royal source said of those arranging the event: “There is no doubt that they want to put something on that the King, as well as other members of the Royal family, will enjoy.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the Coronation concert.
When is it and who can attend?
The concert will be held in the grounds of Windsor Castle on the evening of Sunday May 7, the day after the Coronation. Ten thousand members of the public who obtained tickets via ballot will join volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s various charities in the audience. The remaining tickets will go to organisations supporting young people, the military and the environment, as well as local communities and the wider Commonwealth.
The public ballot has now closed and those who have won free tickets will be notified by late-April. Exact timings for the concert have not yet been announced.
Who might be performing?
While no acts have yet been confirmed, speculation has been rife about who will feature in the final line-up.
Reports suggest the Palace has booked Lionel Richie to open the event. The 73-year-old Dancing on the Ceiling singer has met the monarch a number of times over the years and became the first global ambassador for his charity The Prince’s Trust in 2019.
It is also rumoured that Sir Paul McCartney has been approached to form the centrepiece of the concert, while the three remaining members of Take That – Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen – are also in talks with the Palace. Barlow organised the Diamond Jubilee concert for the late Queen in 2012 and led his bandmates in a performance at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony so Britain’s original boyband certainly have the experience needed to headline another historic British event.
Olly Murs has publicly spoken about his desire to take part in proceedings. The pop star, who has six platinum albums, told Good Morning Britain: “I’m here if I’m needed…I’m on tour so the dates work; if the royals need me I’m around. Lots of artists would be so honoured to be singing so it would be amazing.” The X Factor runner-up has even thought about which songs he’d select for the occasion. “I’d love to see the royals [dancing to] Dance With Me Tonight…[and] a bit of Troublemaker.”
Kylie Minogue, who performed at Elizabeth II’s 92nd birthday, had been linked to the event but a spokesperson for the pop idol told the Mirror: “Kylie unfortunately won’t be able to perform at the Coronation as she will be out of the country at that time.”
Elton John also reportedly won’t be able to make an appearance because of scheduling conflicts. The Coronation comes in the midst of his Farewell Tour, with a Berlin date booked in for the following day (May 8) so a live performance seems unlikely. Likewise, pop superstar Harry Styles is said to be busy with his international Love On Tour.
What to expect from the Coronation concert
Some of the world’s “biggest entertainers” will lead the festivities with musical classics, accompanied by a “world-class orchestra” and dancers. But the concert won’t just feature famous faces. The Coronation Choir representing “the many voices of the country” – including singers from refugee, NHS, LGBTQ+ and deaf signing choirs – will also perform on the night. They will be joined by the Virtual Choir, made up of voices from across the Commonwealth.
“It will be very orchestral. Party at the Palace for the Platinum Jubilee had such an eclectic line-up and the performers appeared with their own instruments and brought their own bands,” a source told The Telegraph. “This will be different but equally magical.”
But could the orchestral arrangements so integral to this show be under threat? It is understood the Musicians’ Union could organise a boycott of major events – including the King’s Coronation celebrations – as part of a dispute with the BBC regarding the Corporation’s proposals to axe its choir BBC Singers and cut its orchestras.
Aside from the music, the Palace has confirmed that the centrepiece will be a light show involving projections, lasers, drone display and illuminations at various important locations across the UK.
Unsurprisingly for an event celebrating a monarch so devoted to the literary and performing arts, spoken word sequences will feature and will be delivered by “stars of stage and screen” who are yet to be announced.
How can I watch?
For those who missed out on the ballot and plan to watch or listen from home, the Coronation concert will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
This article is being kept updated with the latest information