UK queen to charge entrance fee for anniversary fair

Mike Collett-White
Reuters Middle East

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - In a break with tradition, people

will be charged to enter the gardens of Queen Elizabeth's London

residence where a trade fair and series of concerts will be held

to commemorate the 60th anniversary of her 1953 coronation.

Members of the public are regularly treated to the large

green space behind the imposing Buckingham Palace, but they

usually go free either as invited guests to garden parties or on

special occasions like the Diamond Jubilee picnic earlier this


But next July, up to 60,000 visitors will be able to enter

the gardens if they manage to buy tickets to a trade fair

organised by the Royal Warrant Holders Association (RWHA) which

decides which companies receive the coveted Royal Warrant.

The Coronation Festival will be held from July 11-14, and

people wanting day tickets to visit trade stalls set up in the

palace gardens will pay 30 pounds ($48) while those wanting to

attend one of three evening galas will pay 90 pounds each.

There will be no concessions and tickets go on sale from

Dec. 16. The July 11 events are by invitation only.

"This will be the first time we've run an event of this kind

in the gardens of Buckingham Palace," David Walker, Master of

the Royal Household, told reporters at a briefing held at the

palace on Tuesday.

Asked whether the royal family should be charging people to

use the garden, he added: "This has got to stand on its own two

feet commercially and is a very expensive event to stage."

Companies with the royal seal of approval must pay to have a

stall at the fair, and RWHA secretary Richard Peck said the

event was designed to celebrate innovation and excellence in

British industry and to boost exports and investment.

"We want to dispel this myth that craft has no relevance in

modern industry," he said. "In fact, it underpins modern


Walker said he could not say which royals would attend the

concerts, but that there was a "reasonable expectation" that

members of the family would be present.

Asked which performers would take the stage, he replied:

"There will be some very big names."

He added that the ticket prices were in line with comparable

events, and that any profit would be shared between the royal

household, the RWHA and Media 10, the private events company

helping to stage the fair.

The royal family would invest its profits in up to 10

apprenticeships in British industry.

The Coronation Festival is one of several events likely to

be staged for the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's

coronation in Westminster Abbey.

But they are unlikely to match the scale of this year's

nationwide Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking her accession to

the throne on the death of her father King George VI which were

attended by millions of people.

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