God save the king: Here are 6 things we learned from King Charles’ coronation invitation

Buckingham Palace is gearing up for King Charles III’s and his wife Camilla’s coronation next month.

On Tuesday, the palace released a colorful, hand-painted invitation for the grand event which is set to take place at Westminster Abbey on May 6. Designed by Andrew Jamieson, a heraldic artist and manuscript illustrator, the invite’s gouache design will be printed and distributed on recycled cards to more than 2,000 guests. A full guest list has not been released yet, nor has the lineup of performers for Charles’ Coronation Concert.

The historic weekend will take place almost 70 years after the late Queen Elizabeth II was anointed in June 1953. Additional festivities in Charles’ coronation will include a Coronation Big Lunch, which promises both food and fun, followed by a volunteering event called the Big Help Out. An image of the invitation, along with Queen Elizabeth II’s invitation and illustratedd designs for the previous coronation tickets can be seen in the royal family’s Instagram account below.

While the invitation is certainly a colorful piece of artwork, its contents include a wealth of information if you look closely. Not only is it filled with significant titles and language, but the images contain symbols with rich significance. All that from a mere invitation!

From Camilla’s updated royal to the slated guest list, here’s everything we learned surrounding the king’s coronation invitation:

Camilla, who was previously addressed as “Queen Consort” shortly after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, has been named Queen Camilla for the very first time.

“The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla,” the letter reads. “By command of the King the Earl Marshal is directed to invite [name] to be present at the Abbey Church of Westminster on the 6th day of May 2023.”

The grand title underscores Camila’s bombshell transformation from hated “homewrecker” and “Charles’ wife” to her various consort designations and finally Queen. Charles and Camilla’s relationship garnered significant media attention during the former’s tumultuous marriage to Princess Diana. In an interview with the BBC in 1995, Diana referred to her husband’s affair, saying, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”   

Charles and Camilla eventually tied the knot in 2005. As Prince Harry noted in his memoir “Spare,” he and brother William wanted their father happy, as long as Charles didn’t actually marry Camilla. They weren’t alone. At the time, just 7% of Britons believed Camilla should become queen. That changed in 2022, when the late Queen said she wanted Camilla to be known as queen consort when Charles became monarch. “It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” Elizabeth wrote.

Since then, Camilla’s popularity amongst the British public has steadily increased. A poll from the Daily Mail found that 55% of Britons supported the Queen’s decision while 28% were opposed.

Camilla will be crowned alongside Charles at the coronation.

Prince George attends Wimbledon in London (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

George, the eldest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the eldest grandchild of Charles, will be part of the procession down the nave of Westminster Abbey during the coronation. George will accompany three other pages of honor for his grandfather: Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, Nicholas Barclay and Ralph Tollemache.

Camilla will also be accompanied by four pages of honor: her grandsons, Gus and Louis Lopes and Freddy Parker Bowles, as well as her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot.

George’s inclusion in the event signifies his growing role in the royal family as the grandchildren of British monarchs typically don’t take on official roles in coronations. George is second in line to the throne behind his father, Prince William.

At first glance, the intricate illustrations on the invite may be dismissed as merely spring-themed decorations. But a closer look reveals that they actually carry royal meaning.

Take for example the Green Man, which appears at the bottom center of the invite. Coined by Julia Somerset, Lady Raglan in 1939, the Green Man is “an ancient figure from British folklore, symbolic of spring and rebirth, to celebrate the new reign,” per Buckingham Palace. “The shape of the Green Man, crowned in natural foliage, is formed of leaves of oak, ivy and hawthorn, and the emblematic flowers of the United Kingdom.”

The border of the invite includes a British wildflower meadow with six flowers that have royal significance. There are the Lilies of the Valley, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite flower, which represent the return of happiness. There are the cornflowers, which represent love and hope; wild strawberries, which represent the royal dessert of strawberries and cream; dog roses, which represent pleasure and beauty; bluebells, which represent gratitude and a sprig of rosemary, which represent remembrance.

The four national flowers of the U.K. are also included. There’s the thistle, the national flower of Scotland; clovers, a symbol of Northern Ireland; yellow daffodils, the national flower of Wales; and the Tudor Rose, the national flower of England.

Most of the flowers appear in groups of three, which Buckingham Palace says signifies “the King becoming the third monarch of his name.”

There’s also acorns at the bottom of the invite, which Town & Country Magazine notes could represent the acorns featured on Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales’ coat of arms.

A bee, butterfly, ladybird, wren and robin all appear on the invite’s border to symbolize the beginning of spring and Charles’s dedication to sustainability.

Several animals that appear on the royal coat of arms also appear on the invite. There’s a lion, which symbolizes courage and strength; a unicorn, the national animal of Scotland; and a boar, which is from Camilla’s coat of arms and the crest of her father, Major Bruce Shand.

At the top left of the invite is King Charles’ coat of arms. His arms includes the three Lions for England, a Lion rampant for Scotland and a stringed Argent for Ireland. At the top right is Camilla’s coat of arms, which include the royal lion, boar and the Garter, which was added following her appointment as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter in June 2022. At the bottom right corner is the Earl Marshal’s coat of arms. The current Earl Marshal, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, is responsible for organizing major ceremonial state occasions, including the king’s coronation.

Meghan and Prince Harry at 2022 Ripple of Hope Gala (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

While the the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be invited, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wanted. A source close to the royal family toldEntertainment Tonight (ET) that Harry and Meghan’s attendance “could overshadow the coronation.”

“No one wants to see the focus taken away from King Charles with the press focused on Harry and Meghan and past family squabbles,” the unnamed source said. “The fear is — if they do come — more private matters could be made public, so efforts are being made to prevent that.”

Last month, a source close to the royal family told ET that Charles “very much wants Prince Harry and his grandchildren at his coronation.” This came after a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan told ET that the pair was invited via email:

“The duke has recently received email correspondence from His Majesty’s office regarding the coronation. An immediate decision on whether the duke and duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time,” the rep said.

President Joe Biden and Jill Biden at 2022 Kennedy Center Honors (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The First Lady will travel to London next month to represent the United States at Charles’ coronation, per CNN

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke with Charles over the phone to congratulate him and inform him of his wife’s attendance.

“The President congratulated the King on his upcoming Coronation and informed him that First Lady Jill Biden looks forward to attending on behalf of the United States,” a White House readout of the call said.

At this time, President Biden will not attend the coronation, even though dozens of world leaders are slated to be in attendance. The news upset several critics, including brash English broadcaster Piers Morgan.

“Not impressed that President Biden @POTUS has reportedly turned down his invitation to King Charles’ coronation,” Morgan tweeted on Saturday. “Huge moment in British history, and whatever you think of him, I’m certain Donald Trump would have gone if he were still President.”

Biden made it clear in his Tuesday call that he plans to meet with Charles in the future. Both Biden and his wife traveled to London in September to attend the late queen’s funeral.

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