William praises the King’s dedication to service during musical extravaganza
The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the King’s coronation “pledge of service” as the newly crowned monarch’s life was celebrated by a host of stars.
William took to the stage during the Coronation Concert to speak about the pride he felt for his father, highlight Charles’ recognition of “people of all faiths, all backgrounds” and fondly remember his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
During a night of music staged in the grounds of Windsor Castle, actors, singers and entertainers came forward to praise the nation’s King – and Kermit the Frog managed to gatecrash the royal box.
Among them was Top Gun star Tom Cruise who paid the ultimate tribute to Charles, telling him: “You can be my wingman any time”.
Take That, billed as pop “royalty”, and Lionel Richie brought the house down and got the royal family on their feet and dancing – including Charles and Queen Camilla – during the 95-minute extravaganza.
William gave the most passionate tribute of the night, telling his father before 20,000 spectators: “Pa, we are all so proud of you.”
When he took to the stage he delighted his daughter Princess Charlotte, who could be seen pointing out her father to brother Prince George.
The future King made a poignant reference to his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, adding: “I know she’s up there, fondly keeping an eye on us.”
He told Charles: “She would be a very proud mother.”
The prince described how his father’s first words on entering Westminster Abbey for his coronation – when he responded to the official greeting by a young chorister – were a pledge of service.
“It was a pledge to continue to serve,” William said.
“Because for over 50 years, in every corner of the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world, he has dedicated himself to serve others, both current and future generations, and those whose memory must not be neglected.”
He praised the King’s campaigning to protect the natural world and heralded his establishment of the Prince’s Trust, before adding: “Perhaps most importantly of all, my father has always understood that people of all faiths, all backgrounds, and all communities, deserve to be celebrated and supported.”
William, a future king himself, also made his own historic pledge as he thanked the millions who serve in the military, schools, NHS and local communities, saying: “I commit myself to serve you all. King, country and Commonwealth.”
The concert hosted by Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville saw the King’s life celebrated, from his service in the Armed Forces to his passion for the arts and his charitable work.
A host of celebrities recorded messages for Charles or highlighted little known facts, and Hollywood star Cruise delivered his pre-recorded tribute while at the controls of his Top Gun Warbird plane.
Highlighting the fact that Charles was qualified as a helicopter pilot, he said: “Pilot to pilot, Your Majesty, you can be my wingman any time”, before saluting and banking off.
During the show colourful images to accompany the acts were projected onto Windsor Castle and the royal residence increasingly became as stunning backdrop to the show as night fell.
Footage from Charles’ life was shown during the tributes from celebrities who included actors Hugh Jack and Pierce Brosnan, former Strictly Come Dancing dancer Oti Mabuse and adventurer Bear Grylls.
Hollywood stars Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy tried to gatecrash the royal box and appealed to Bonneville, with the actress telling the Paddington actor “King Charlsey Warlsey” was expecting her beau Kermit.
The green-coloured star eventually made it into the royal enclosure and was seen waving a union flag while stood in front of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was joined by his family.
Katy Perry was a hit with the crowds and Charlotte was spotted singing along to her song Roar that had mum Kate swaying.
The American singer dedicated her song Firework to the King “and the work that we get to do together with the British Asian Trust and their Children’s Protection Fund.”
She told the crowd she got to “stay in Windsor Castle” – before joking: “No big deal.”
Take That’s finale got the royal family on their feet with their hit Shine, with Charlotte and George madly waving union flags.
In the final performance, the band, who have not performed together for four years, ended with Never Forget – as Kermit the Frog danced along.