Rishi Sunak gives UK extra bank holiday day to mark Charles’s Coronation | Politics | News

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has proclaimed an additional bank holiday for Monday May 8 to mark the event, with the coronation taking place in Westminster Abbey two days earlier. It will allow families across the country to come together and celebrate, as they did when a bank holiday was declared for the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Royalist Rishi chose to give the nation a day off, even though the King had privately made it clear he was not insisting on it.

The Prime Minister said: “The Coronation of a new monarch is a unique moment for our country.

“In recognition of this historic occasion, I am pleased to announce an additional bank holiday for the whole United Kingdom next year.

“I look forward to seeing people come together to celebrate and pay tribute to King Charles III by taking part in local and national events across the country in his honour.”

Buckingham Palace is responsible for the coronation and it’s understood Charles chose to hold the event on a Saturday to avoid putting the Government under pressure to proclaim a holiday.

The King was determined not to do anything that might threaten economic recovery as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, insiders say.

But Mr Sunak chose to press ahead with a nationwide day of celebration, which is expected to provide a huge windfall for shops, pubs and restaurants.

Oliver Dowden, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The Coronation combines the sacred and the solemn but it is also celebratory.  

“This bank holiday will once again give people across the United Kingdom the opportunity to come together as families and communities to welcome His Majesty to the throne as we mark this important day in our nation’s long history.”

It comes in addition to the usual May Bank Holiday on May 1.

Millions of people are expected to watch the Coronation on television and online in the UK, with billions watching across the world.

It follows the Queen’s funeral in September this year, which was viewed by 32.5 million people in the UK, more than half the population aged four and over.

The first Coronation for almost 70 years will see the Archbishop of Canterbury crown both the King and Camilla, the Queen Consort, in a ceremony that Buckingham Palace says will “look towards the future” while being rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry.

The King will swear an oath in which he pledges to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms “according to their respective laws and customs”.

A likely break with tradition is the inclusion of other religions alongside Christian elements, marking his commitment to serving people of all faiths.

Music to accompany the grand event will include Handel’s “Zadok the Priest”, which has been performed at every coronation since 1727. The King will be given emblems of his royal role including an orb, a sceptre and a ring, and a procession will be held in London.

Preparations are to be overseen by a Privy Council “Coronation Committee” chaired by the Duke of Norfolk, the most senior Duke in the land, who has the title of Earl Marshall.

Mr Dowden will represent the Government.

World leaders from across the globe will attend the ceremony. More than 8,000 guests were present at the Coronation of Charles’ mother the Queen, but next year’s event is expected to be scaled down significantly. 

Reign or shine, Kate’s all smiles

The Duchess of Wales was cheered by England rugby fans on Saturday, writes Benjamin Russell.

Kate was a ray of sunshine on a very wet Wigan pitch as she met the teams before the Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Papua New Guinea. The crowd responded noisily as the Princess entered the DW Stadium for her first match since taking over from the Duke of Sussex as patron of the Rugby Football League.

Wearing a red coat over a long-sleeved burgundy top and pleated skirt, Kate, carrying an umbrella to shield her from the rain, also chatted with the game’s young mascots.

She then met officials including TV presenter and RFL president Clare Balding – and they later shared a laugh in the stands.

Kate spoke to representative volunteers from the World Cup Social Impact Programme which provides help for host communities.

They then presented her with gifts including knitted hats.

Kate told Susan Hill, who made them: “I tried knitting once and I was terrible at it.”

Ms Hill, who is profoundly deaf but could lip read her words, replied: “It’s easy when you know how.”