The approximately 2,300 people who have been invited to attend the coronation ceremony for King Charles II of Britain on Saturday in London includes a mix of new faces, old lineages, world leaders, pop icons and a dash of controversy.
Among those to receive the invitation — a hand-painted card by an heraldic artist, reproduced and printed on recycled paper with gold-foil details — are Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain, Jill Biden, European aristocrats, Nobel Prize winners, the actress Joanna Lumley, and famed musicians like Lionel Richie and Nick Cave, but also a magician, a hairstylist and a Syrian refugee.
It’s a coterie that speaks to Charles’s efforts to embrace a modern, multicultural Britain, but also of the monarchy’s very identity as a traditional, in many ways anachronistic dynasty.
Royals From Around the Globe
The in-person audience at Charles’s coronation will be only about a quarter of the size of that in attendance for the crowning of his mother, Elizabeth II. But unlike previous such ceremonies, when it was uncommon for foreign monarchs to attend, several from around the world have confirmed their plans to be present this weekend.
Prince Albert of Monaco said in an interview with People magazine that he and his wife, Charlene, would be attending. He also said he expected the ceremony to be “very moving.” Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his wife, Princess Mary, confirmed their presence, as did members of the royal families of Belgium, Norway and Sweden.
Representatives from Greece’s glamorous but deposed royal family, now based on New York’s Upper East Side, will also be there. King Felipe VI of Spain, who ascended to the throne in 2014 after his father’s abdication, will attend, according to the Spanish news media.
Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, the grandson of the last king of Italy — and himself a winner of Italy’s “Dancing With the Stars” — told the Italian news agency Adnkronos last year that he would be attending, but he was not immediately available to confirm that this week.
Crown Prince Fumihito of Japan and Crown Princess Kiko, on behalf of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, will attend, according to the Japanese news media. The Maori royals from New Zealand are on the list, as are kings and queens from Thailand, Bhutan and Tonga, according to news media reports. And the sultan of Brunei, an absolute monarch who imposes a hard-line interpretation of Islam, will also be among the guests.
Lawmakers and World Leaders
Several members of Britain’s government will attend, as will about 100 heads of state from around the world, according to Buckingham Palace. But at a time when ties with fellow United Kingdom nations Scotland and Northern Ireland are strained, the invitations also caused some backlash.
Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s newly appointed first minister, who favors independence for the Scots and who has declared a wish to replace the monarchy with an elected head of state, elicited criticism when he confirmed his intention to attend. He was also denounced for escorting the stone of destiny, a 330-pound red sandstone slab that for centuries was used in the coronation of Scottish kings, as it was taken out of Edinburgh Castle to be transported to Westminster Abbey for Saturday’s ceremony.
In Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, who is vice president of Sinn Fein, the region’s largest party that wants to leave the United Kingdom and unite with the Republic of Ireland, said on Twitter that she had accepted an invitation to attend in recognition that “there are many people on our island for whom the coronation is a hugely important occasion.” Although the move reflected improved relations between Buckingham Palace and the Irish nationalist movement in the region, some commentators pointed to recent polls showing that zero percent of her party’s members supported the monarchy.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia and his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, will be there, according to news media reports.
Representing China for the occasion will be Han Zheng, the Chinese vice president, who has been denounced in Britain for his prominent role in the 2019 anti-democracy crackdown in Hong Kong, a former British colony. “Having this man here given his role is outrageous,” Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader, told the Telegraph newspaper.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. of the Philippines, the son of the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, also confirmed that he planned to attend.
Prince William, the heir to the throne, will be there along with his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and their children, as well as marques, dukes, baronesses, lords and earls.
Charles’s brother Andrew, who last year was forced to step back from royal duties over his multimillion-dollar legal settlement with a woman who accused him of raping her when she was a teenager and his association with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and sexual predator, will also be present, according to British news media reports.
Andrew is not expected to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the ceremony, however.
Members of the Public
Representatives of the Bahá’í, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths will be part of the procession into Westminster Abbey, the palace said.
Several people who have taken part in programs sponsored by the Prince’s Trust, a charity that Charles founded in 1976, will also attend, and 400 young people representing charitable organizations will be able to watch the service and processions from St. Margaret’s Church inside Westminster Abbey, the palace said.
Others on the guest list include a presenter of a BBC show about restoration and recycling, the owner of a sustainable fashion line, a young man working in a solar power start-up in Sierra Leone, and a leading British Ghanaian hairstylist.
The hairstylist, Charlotte Mensah, spoke at the Prince’s Trust gala last week in New York. “His Majesty couldn’t be with us tonight,” she said during the event. “I think he has something next week.”
Who Isn’t Going
Although Prince Harry will attend, despite a family rift that has played out in a highly public manner in recent years, his wife, Meghan, and their children will remain at home in California.
President Biden, who last month visited both Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, will not be there. Instead he is sending the first lady, Jill Biden, to be present “on behalf of the United States.”
Pope Francis will not be in attendance; the Vatican said on Thursday that its secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, would represent the pontiff at the coronation.
Buckingham Palace did not issue an invitation to leaders representing several countries, according to Reuters, including Afghanistan, Belarus, Russia and Venezuela.