King Charles Coronation latest LIVE: Commonwealth leaders gather for special reception with King Charles

·19-min read

King Charles III is meeting with the leaders of the Commonwealth on the eve of his Coronation.

There were 42 at the lunch, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, and prime minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins.

A smiling Sir Keir Starmer fresh from a local election landslide and First Lady Jill Biden arrived later at the event at Buckingham Palace.

It followed King Charles being spotted shaking hands and greeting members of the public on the Mall in a surprise appearance with the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The King went to one side of The Mall while William and Kate went to another to greet well-wishers around 2pm, who cheered and could be heard shouting “God save the King”.

It comes after royal fans caught a glimpse of the royal family from afar on Friday morning as they carried out a final coronation rehearsal at Westminster Abbey.

Saturday’s ceremony will see a parade through the streets of central London, before Charles and Camilla are crowned at the Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Huge crowds are flocking to the capital to witness the historic moment, while a mammoth security operation is underway.

Thank you for following our live coverage of the Coronation

20:01 , Barney Davis

Our coverage of the big day will resume first thing tomorrow

It will be a veritable Who’s Who at the Coronation tomorrow

19:58 , Barney Davis

The eyes of the world will be on Westminster Abbey tomorrow as two thousand special guests gather at the King’s Coronation.

Here is a definitive look at who the main players will be on the day and behind the scenes.

Who’s who among the key players at the coronation?

Singer-songwriter Freya Ridings has pulled out of the Coronation Concert “due to being unwell”

18:24 , Barney Davis

The BBC has said she will be replaced by British singer-songwriter Zak Abel, who has collaborated with Gorgon City, Kygo and Tom Misch in the past.

The 28-year-old said: “I am honoured and overwhelmed to be included in the Coronation celebrations.

“To have the opportunity to be part of such a historic moment is something I will forever be humbled by and will never forget.”

Freya Ridings pulls out of Coronation Concert ‘due to being unwell’

US first lady Jill Biden standing in for President at the Coronation

17:50 , Barney Davis

US first lady Jill Biden has joined Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife for an afternoon exploring veterans’ affairs and education before attending the coronation.

Mrs Biden and Akshata Murty met veterans taking part in a boxing session at Downing Street on Friday.

Akshata Murty meets with U.S. first lady Jill Biden (via REUTERS)
Akshata Murty meets with U.S. first lady Jill Biden (via REUTERS)

Ms Murty then accompanied Mrs Biden, who is a professor at a community college in the US, to speak with primary school pupils in central London.

The first lady has flown to the UK to represent her husband, US President Joe Biden, at the service at Westminster Abbey on Saturday.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

She is being joined on the trip by granddaughter Finnegan Biden, who accompanied Mrs Biden to No 10 on Friday.

Prince and Princess of Wales thank Royal superfans at The Mall

17:11 , Barney Davis

William and Kate joined the King for a surprise walkabout in The Mall meeting royalists who have staked their spot on the famous London thoroughfare.

The Princess of Wales has described the King’s coronation as a “great moment for celebration” as the Prince praised The Mall’s “party atmosphere”.

With Prince George set to play a starring role in the coronation and Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis expected to attend the historic event, the princess revealed her children were “a bit nervous” and “excited” and could not wait for the day.

First time? Charles III’s Coronation will be third for 93-year-old

16:56 , Barney Davis

Frances Knappett says: “It was a day I will never forget and I’m looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere a third time around.”

St John’s Ambulance volunteer, 93, to celebrate third coronation in her lifetime

If you don’t fancy a Coronation Quiche this weekend there are plenty of other official options

16:15 , Barney Davis

No matter the size of your dinner party, it’s time for a feast fit for royalty.

Fit for a King: The four official recipes for Charles’ Coronation

Hounslow drops another huge Royal mural

16:08 , Barney Davis

A West London family have unveiled another huge mural to the Royal Family months after their Queen street painting went viral.

Jignesh Patel and his younger brother Yash’s painting of the Queen in Kingsley Road, Hounslow has been seen by millions after going viral on Facebook and other social media sites.

King Charles meets his adoring throngs camping out in The Mall

15:50 , Barney Davis

The King shook dozens of outstretched hands as he walked along The Mall.

He laughed when one man asked if he was “nervous for tomorrow”, while another royal fan with a strong accent said: “Love you, I’m from Italy,” and a third told the King, “Good luck for tomorrow”.

Theresa Iredale, who turns 66 on Saturday, the day of Charles’ coronation, wore a plastic crown for her encounter with Charles.

The King goes on a walkabout on The Mall to greet well wishers (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)
The King goes on a walkabout on The Mall to greet well wishers (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)

She said: “He said, ‘thank you for coming’ and he appreciated it and I did say it was my birthday and he said, ‘oh, congratulations’.

“I was shaking. I saw his hand coming out to mine and I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m shaking the King’s hand’. A special moment.”

When one woman told William she had flown from Phoenix, Arizona, and would be camping out in The Mall overnight, he replied “No way, well done you.”

He added with a smile: “There’s not much sleeping going on around here, they’re all sat in their chairs. I think there’s a good party atmosphere.”

With rain forecast for Saturday he put his hands together and said: “I pray you guys stay dry.”

Charles photographed with Commonwealth leaders attending his coronation

15:37 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

 (Anna Gordon/PA Wire)
(Anna Gordon/PA Wire)

What is a coronation and why is it happening?

15:24 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

King Charles III’s coronation is the first to be staged in Britain for 70 years, and will see him crowned in a ceremony that begins at 11am tomorrow at Westminster Abbey.

Read more about the historic ceremony – steeped in 1,000 years of history – and why it is taking place by reading our full explainer here.

King greets Rishi Sunak at meeting of Commonwealth leaders

15:02 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

On the busy eve of his coronation, the King is now attending a Commonwealth Heads of Government leaders meeting and garden reception at Marlborough House.

He was pictured greeting prime minister Rishi Sunak as he arrived.

 (via REUTERS)

Watch: King Charles III greets crowds near Buckingham Palace

14:43 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Royal fan ‘absolutely ecstatic’ after meeting King on eve of coronation

14:36 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A royal family enthusiast was “ecstatic” after shaking the King’s hand the day before he is crowned.

Alison Cowburn, 62, from Derby, who arrived in central London this morning, was in the cheering crowd during Charles’ walkabout on The Mall, and shook his hand.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

She said: “I said it was very nice to meet him and he said ‘have you been camping?’

“I said no we are just down for the day and he said ‘nothing so rash as that then’.”

On how she felt after the encounter, she said: “Brilliant - so delighted. Absolutely ecstatic.”

Royals delight fans with surprise visit to the Mall

14:27 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The King and the Prince and Princess of Wales have appeared on the Mall to greet delighted members of the public.

The road leading to Buckingham Palace was cleared around 2pm and expectant royal fans eagerly lined the route.

 (James Manning/PA Wire)
(James Manning/PA Wire)

The King went to one side of The Mall while William and Kate went to another to greet well-wishers, who cheered and could be heard shouting “God save the King”.

One woman said “love you Charlie” to Charles, while others passed on their congratulations to him.

Kate and William posed for selfies with fans, while Kate even appeared to join a fan in a video call before also speaking on another person’s phone before handing it back.

‘I’ll grin and bear it,’ says dedicated royal fan ahead of potential downpours

13:53 , Bill Mcloughlin

A woman camping out to catch a glimpse of Saturday's coronation procession said she plans to "grin and bear it" through the intermittent torrential downpours.

A soaked but smiling Trisha Hollis, 71, from Hull, who has pitched a tent on The Mall, said: "It's history and I think at my age it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I think I was two when the Queen was crowned but obviously I have no recollection of that. I admire the royal family, I'm glad we have them. I think the Queen did a sterling job."

On Friday's rainy showers, she added: "What will be will be. It's 24 hours in my life. I will get dry and warm again sometime so I'll grin and bear it.

"If you come back to me at 2am I might not be saying it with such a smile. Maybe we'll have a nice day tomorrow but it did rain for the Queen in '53."

London set for ‘outbreaks of rain throughout the day’

13:36 , Bill Mcloughlin

King Charles III’s Coronation is set to be blighted by outbreaks of rain throughout the day on Saturday, Met Office forecasters have said.

Hordes of royal fans have been gathering along The Mall over the last week to guarantee a spot to witness Charles, and Camilla, Queen Consort as they head towards Westminster Abbey.

Although the capital has had a spell of warmer weather, Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon told the Standard, that weather fronts from the southwest will provide a more “cloudy and unsettled” outlook on Saturday.

Read our story here.

King Charles hosts lunch for prime ministers and governor generals

13:23 , Bill Mcloughlin

The King has joined a special lunch for realm prime ministers and governor generals at Buckingham Palace.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were also at the event, which took place 24 hours before the Coronation.


Completing the royal contingent were the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.

There were 42 attendees in total, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Prime Minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins.


Guests arrived in the white drawing room before a drinks reception in the music room followed by lunch in the blue drawing room.

Big Help Out: Faith leaders hail volunteers in Coronation legacy drive

13:17 , Bill Mcloughlin

Thousands of Londoners will join The Big Help Out on Monday to create a volunteering legacy from the Coronation weekend.

Organisers hope the day of volunteering on the special bank holiday will inspire the public to help out in their communities throughout the summer.

Buckingham Palace said the day “will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas”.

Stuart Andrew, minister for ceremonial events, said it was a tribute to “the King’s lifetime of public service and a wonderful way to begin this new age”.

Read our story here.

Akshata Murty meets Jill Biden ahead of Coronation

13:04 , Bill Mcloughlin

Akshata Murty welcomed the First Lady to Downing Street on Friday.

Mrs Biden, 71, will visit a local school on Friday afternoon along with the Prime Minister’s wife before meeting staff at the US embassy and King Charles at a reception in Buckingham Palace.


Pictured: Police patrol Westminster Abbey

12:57 , Bill Mcloughlin

A huge security operation will take place across London throughout the Coronation weekend.

More than 9,000 police officers are expected to patrol London on Saturday along with 2,500 law specialist members of law enforcement, including marine police, explosives experts and surveillance officers.

The Metropolitan Police also said it would use facial recognition technology in central London to spot wanted criminals among the crowds.

Ahead of the event, security minister Tom Tugendhat told Times Radio: “The police are, to put it mildly, all over it, and our intelligence and other security forces are extremely aware of the challenges that we face and ready to deal with them — as the police did quite brilliantly yesterday.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Fans tell of joy at spotting royals during coronation rehearsal

12:47 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Royal fans have spoken of their joy at spotting the King and Queen Consort from the Mall, as they carried out a rehearsal on the eve of the coronation.

Tom, who travelled to London from Redcar on the Yorkshire coast late on Thursday, told the Standard: “We’ve literally just seen the King and Queen go past, so if that’s a small inkling of what’s going to happen tomorrow it’s going to be a loud, fun day.

Royal fans Tom and Richard were soaking up the atmosphere on the Mall on Friday (ES)
Royal fans Tom and Richard were soaking up the atmosphere on the Mall on Friday (ES)

“People when I left work yesterday [to travel to London for the coronation] thought I was a nutter, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he added.

Asked what message he would like to give to the King, he said: “I’d say you have big shoes to fill, but you can do it.”

“And I wish you a happy and glorious reign,” added his friend Richard, who has travelled to the capital from Southend.

Rishi Sunak welcomes leaders of Australia, New Zealand and Qatar ahead of the Coronation

12:40 , Bill Mcloughlin

Ahead of the Coronation the Prime Minister welcomed Australia's Anthony Albanese and New Zealand’s Chris Hipkins at Downing Street.

While there, Mr Albanese said the relationship between the two countries had “never been stronger”.

Mr Albanese also added he was glad the free trade deal has been completed in time for the King’s Coronation, which he called a “historic event of enormous significance”.

Mr Hipkins himself praised ties as “the best it has been in a long time” as both Commonwealth leaders spent 30 minutes with the Prime Minister.

Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was greeted with a red carpet, said that the success of last year's World Cup was in part a reflection of the strong partnership with the UK.

Read: Timetable of events for the coronation weekend

12:21 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A star-studded concert in London and thousands of community street parties are among events being held to mark the coronation this weekend.

For a full timetable of celebrations scheduled from May 6-8, click here.

Fans’ hearts ‘racing’ after royal family spotted at Westminster Abbey

12:08 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A fan of the royal family from the Netherlands said her “heartbeat was racing” when the Prince of Wales waved from his car as he left Westminster Abbey after the final coronation rehearsal.

On seeing William, Judith Blomer, 36, a marketing manager from the Netherlands who travel by train to London on Thursday, said: “I was super excited and I couldn’t believe it that we were just here to walk around to prepare for tomorrow, and then this happened. I think I can already go home.”

‘The atmosphere is electric’ say Royal fans on the Mall

11:45 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Claire and her mum Jane, from London, are among crowds on the Mall where they describe the atmosphere as “absolutely electric”.

“We’ve just come down for the day to experience the atmosphere and to see everyone all dressed up and camping,” mum-of-two Claire told the Standard.

“And the King has just gone past with Camilla, so it’s very exciting.”

Mother and daughter Claire and Jane from London are among crowds on the Mall on the eve of the King’s Coronation (ES)
Mother and daughter Claire and Jane from London are among crowds on the Mall on the eve of the King’s Coronation (ES)

Her mum added: “What a day! The atmosphere is absolutely electric. Everybody is so proud. There’s so many nationalities. It’s just such a lovely atmosphere.”

They plan to watch the coronation itself from home tomorrow, with family and homemade scones.

“It’s just going to be lovely to see Britain in its finest with all the pomp and all the excitement,” Claire said, adding that they have been Royal fans “forever”.

BBC to film coronation festivities with 150 cameras

11:32 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The BBC will have 150 cameras covering the coronation festivities, including the procession to Westminster Abbey and the ceremony itself.

Broadcasting from temporary studios in London and Windsor, the corporation will also be at the 10 sites of its Lighting Up The Nation event.

There will be also choreographed lasers, projections and drone displays over historic bridges and buildings, including Blackpool seafront in Lancashire, as part of the Coronation Concert on Sunday.

Prince William arrives at Westminster Abbey

11:05 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The Prince of Wales has arrived at Westminster Abbey for the final rehearsal ahead of the coronation. He joins King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, who arrived shortly after 10am.

Amanda Holden spotted with Royal fans in The Mall

11:04 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

 (Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)

Searches for London hotels jump by more than 4,000% for Coronation weekend

10:40 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Hotel finding website Expedia has revealed searches for London hotels jumped by a huge 4,285% following the announcement of the Coronation weekend.

Looking at hotel demand over the last three months on Expedia, travellers from the US top the list of visitors to the capital, followed by people from the UK, Canada, Germany, France and Australia.

King and Queen Consort arrive at Westminster Abbey for final rehearsal

10:16 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The King and Queen Consort have arrived at Westminster Abbey for a final rehearsal ahead of the coronation.

Charles waved from the car window as he arrived.

Police outriders on motorcycles arrived ahead of the royal motorcade.

A crowd of onlookers had gathered at a metal barrier outside the Abbey in drizzling rain to catch a glimpse of Charles and Camilla.

Rishi Sunak holds talks with prime ministers ahead of coronation

10:06 , Miriam Burrell

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has held meetings with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts as part of a number of head-to-heads ahead of the King’s coronation.

Mr Sunak first welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Downing Street on Friday morning. Directly after their meeting, he greeted New Zealand’s Chris Hipkins outside No 10 in his second bilateral discussion of the morning.

Anthony Albanese (AFP via Getty Images)
Anthony Albanese (AFP via Getty Images)
Chris Hipkins (Getty Images)
Chris Hipkins (Getty Images)

Giant 16ft replica crown installed at Marble Arch

09:19 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A giant 16ft bespoke replica of the St Edward’s Crown that will be used in King Charles III’s coronation ceremony on Saturday has been installed at Marble Arch.

 (Marble Arch London BID)
(Marble Arch London BID)

The replica crown – weighing 300kg and incorporating 36 different coloured glass stones – is on display until Thursday (May 11), as part of a project by Marble Arch London BID.

The bespoke crown is located at Marble Arch, near Speakers’ Corner, a short stroll from the Hyde Park screening sites where the ceremony and procession will be shown on four large screens tomorrow.

Royal fans gather in the Mall to secure prime spots

08:33 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Royal watchers have been gathering in the Mall, with some camping out for several nights to ensure they have a prime spot for tomorrow’s coronation.

Here are two fans spotted there this morning, smiling and decked out in Union Jacks...

 (Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)

Retailers report ‘unprecedented’ demand for coronation mementoes

08:05 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Sales of coronation memorabilia have attracted “unprecedented” demand as consumers seek a lasting memento of the occasion.

Luxury ceramics maker Halcyon Days said it expected sales of more than £1 million of its collections created to mark the occasion and had increased its workforce by 20 per cent since January to create an additional 150,000 products.

Boss Pamela Harper said: “We have seen unprecedented demand for our coronation collections.

“As a royal warrant holder and the sole historical suppliers of objets d’art to the British royal family, we have always seen our sales surge during royal occasions.

“However, the King’s coronation is truly a momentous occasion and we have been overwhelmed by demand.”

Lord Mayor of Westminster says he hopes coronation will bring people together

07:42 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The Lord Mayor of Westminster said the King’s coronation will “share a new Britain” and is “looking forward” to the historic event.

Councillor Hamza Taouzzale, 23, the youngest person and first Muslim to be Lord Mayor, will be donning his blue and gold ceremonial robe at Westminster Abbey to represent the city of Westminster on Saturday as well as attending plenty of street parties in the lead-up to the event.

He said the “once-in-a-lifetime experience” will be “really good fun”, and hopes the coronation will help bring people together.

“I hope the ceremony shares a new Britain,” he said. “Whether you agree or don’t agree with the monarchy is another story but if the coronation is able to bring people together, then I think it’s done its job.”

King Charles tells Tube passengers to ‘mind the gap’ in Coronation recording

07:20 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Tube passengers may be surprised to hear King Charles III telling them to “mind the gap”, in coming days.

Charles and Camilla have recorded a special message that will be played across all 2,570 UK rail stations, and the 270 London Underground stations over the Coronation weekend.

It includes the King playing the role of station announcer to issue the most famous of all Tube warnings: “Please mind the gap.”

Read more here.

The eve of the Coronation dawns

07:17 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s Coronation live blog.

We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates throughout the day, as London prepares for the crowning of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort.