Salisbury Cathedral is screening the Coronation and the Coronation Procession live from 09.30 on Saturday 6 May.
This most historic of Anglican services, which dates back to William the Conqueror (the first monarch to be crowned in Westminster Abbey) is to be shown on the big screen in the Cathedral Nave and two 65” TV screens in the North and South Transepts.
The screening will be followed at 13.00 by an afternoon of music and dancing on the West Front (or in the Cloisters in the event of rain) with music provided by Swing Unlimited Big Band.
The programme, which includes the Alcock Sisters trio, features songs made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, with one or two Blues Brothers numbers to complete the list. Lindy Hop and Jive fans are welcome to join us, and a barbecue and bar will be provided.
Throughout the week of the Coronation (from Tuesday 2 May) the replica of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation robe created by a team of 24 Cathedral Flower arrangers will be on display in St Lawrence’s Chapel. First shown during the Cathedral’s 2022 Flower Festival, this gorgeous exhibit is made from dyed and natural pampas grass, with gilded ruscus leaves, ferns and helichrysum flowers.
Following its showing in the Cathedral, the replica robe will be taken to Sandringham, where it will take centre stage during the nine-day Sandringham in Bloom show, which runs from Saturday, 3 June and Sunday 11 June.
Normal visitor charging will be suspended during the morning screening but resumes in the afternoon.
Before the big day…
Preparations for Coronation Day begin the week before with daily Bunting Making activities for children and adults on the West Lawn (or in the Cloisters in the event of rain) between 10.00 – 15.00 from Saturday 29 April. The finished bunting will be hung in the Cloisters on Friday 5 May in time for the Coronation Day opening.
The Education and Outreach team are also offering Crown Making activities for pre-school children (Under 4s) in the South Nave Aisle of the Cathedral from 10.00 – 12.00 on Friday 5 May, complete with a Selfie throne for small kings and queens.
Crown Making and the Selfie Throne will also be available on Coronation Day (Saturday 6 May), when the team will be set up in the Cloisters.
There’s a special exhibition in the medieval Cathedral Library in Coronation week too.
Encounters with Kings features treasures that have connections to kings of the past from amongst the thousands of ancient books and documents held in the Cathedral’s Library and Archive.
Highlights include a description of King Edward IV’s admission to the confraternity (or religious brotherhood) of Salisbury Cathedral in the Chapter House on 24 May 1470, a book by King Henry VIII for which the Pope awarded him the title ‘Defender of the Faith’, and an illustrated account of the coronation of King James II and the feast that followed. You can also read about the legendary King Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain written in the 1100s.
The exhibition is open every day from 10.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 on Saturday 29 April to Friday 5 May. Sunday 30 April opening is 13.39-15.30 only.
Entry is included in the Cathedral admission but the number of visitors that can be accommodated at any one time in the Cathedral Library is limited due to space, so you may be asked to queue for entry during busy periods. Please also note that no dogs are allowed in the Library, which is accessed by 37 steps up a steep and uneven spiral staircase.
King Charles III is well-known to Salisbury Cathedral both in his capacity as Colonel in Chief of the Army Air Corps and a champion of the Spire Appeal in the 1980s and 1990s. Most recently, in December 2020, he took part in a service at the Cathedral to celebrate the 800th anniversary of its foundation, during which he unveiled a specially engraved stone, carved in the Cathedral Work Yard to mark the occasion.