Coronation ‘pavement’ tickets offered to appease MPs who miss out on prime seats
MPs and peers will be praying the rain will stay away on the day of the Coronation. Those not lucky enough to get a prime seat in Westminster Abbey will be offered a consolation prize of “pavement” tickets to watch the arrival of the King.
Parliamentarians have been in uproar after learning that only a minority will be invited to the ceremony itself. Members have been lobbying the Cabinet Office to argue their case, convinced that they have a right to attend.
Officials have now found a way to allow far greater numbers of MPs and peers to feel involved in the proceedings - by creating up to 400 tickets for them to stand in a cordoned off area of Parliament Square, just outside the carriage gate entrance of the House of Parliament.
From here, they will be able to see the King and his coronation procession coming down Whitehall and making its way into Westminster Abbey.
“This is an attempt to appease them,” one source involved in the planning told The Sunday Telegraph.
It was initially planned that just 20 MPs and 20 peers would get a ticket for Westminster Abbey.
These numbers have now been more than doubled, according to those with knowledge of the event. On top of this, there will be extra places also reserved for former prime ministers, Cabinet ministers and some members of the privy council.
An extra event for MPs and peers has been added to the coronation line-up - a special reception in Westminster Hall which will take place on the Tuesday before the Coronation and will be attended by the King.
“This will ease the pressure on tickets in the Abbey,” the source said. “It is one way of trying to say ‘look, the King is coming to see you’.”
While both the Government and the Royal household are determined to put on a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of “glorious” pomp and pageantry, the Coronation will be smaller in scale than Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953.
This is partly because there will be no scaffolding erected in Westminster Abbey this time around to accommodate such numbers as the close to 8,000-plus capacity of the late Queen’s coronation.
Last month The Sunday Telegraph reported that Buckingham Palace had been pleading with Westminster Abbey to secure more spaces with a source suggesting that the King was keen to get as many people into the Abbey as possible and looking at ways to maximise capacity.
King Charles is understood to want a diverse congregation to witness the historic event and will invite representatives from his many charity affiliations and a large cross section from the voluntary sector.
Even with the slight increase in numbers, only a small minority of politicians and peers will be present and far fewer members of the aristocracy than the vast numbers that attended Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
By comparison, the King is said to be determined to reflect modern, multicultural society and ensure that his ceremony is inclusive.
Alongside the many members of the public will be faith leaders, the King’s godchildren and both current and former prime ministers.
Foreign royals, world leaders and representatives from the Houses of Parliament will also join the extended Royal family for the occasion.