Charles, 74, and wife Queen Camilla were officially crowned during a lengthy ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6, surrounded by several members of the royal family, including sons Prince William and Harry, 38. The historic occasion — the first coronation since that of the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 — was overseen by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attempted to put a modern spin on the royal tradition.
During the service, a group of eight singers handpicked from the Kingdom Choir — dubbed the Ascension Choir — performed a rousing rendition of “Alleluia (O Sing Praises).” The musicians were led by Abimbola Amoako-Gyampah and dressed in all-white ensembles as they paid homage to the monarch.
Saturday’s performance marked the first time a gospel group has been included in coronation festivities, but the Kingdom Choir has participated in past royal milestones. When Harry and Meghan, 41, tied the knot in May 2018, the same group sang Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
The Sussexes reflected on their romantic nuptials during their 2022 Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan. “You know, the world was watching us,” the prince said. “But when we were actually at the altar, as far as I was concerned it was just the two of us.”
Meghan’s pal Serena Williams, who attended the ceremony at St George’s Chapel, noted the significance of the gospel choir’s performance. “To have [Meghan’s] culture represented in that wedding, it was amazing. I loved it,” the former tennis pro, 41, told the cameras. “I thought it was really courageous and breaking boundaries but not trying to.”
Harry and his wife — who share son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 23 months — stepped down as senior working royals in 2020 and moved to California. The duo have continued to face ups and downs with the royal family in the years since, but the Spare author put the drama aside to attend his father’s coronation on Saturday. (The ceremony occurred on the same day Archie turns 4.)
Meghan, meanwhile, remained on the West Coast. “As much as Meghan appreciates the invite to the coronation, she wouldn’t miss her son’s birthday for the world,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly last month after Buckingham Palace announced her planned absence. “Despite being the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan is a mom first.”
A second source told Us at the time that Charles was “sad” he wouldn’t be able to see his daughter-in-law. “Charles was hoping the coronation would be a chance to better connect and maintain healing between them,” the insider added.
The former Prince of Wales, however, was “thrilled” that his youngest son would be making the journey overseas, per the source.
Us confirmed on Friday, May 5, that Harry had touched down in the U.K. He arrived at Westminster Abbey the next day alongside his cousins Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice and their respective husbands, Jack Brooksbank and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and took a seat in the third row of the church. The Archewell cofounder wore a morning suit instead of his military uniform.
While William, 41, had an official role in the ceremony, Harry did not formally participate. Charles and other senior royals returned to Buckingham Palace after the coronation to make their appearance on the balcony, but Harry wasn’t with them in the car procession.
Royal expert Nick Bullen previously predicted that Harry’s visit abroad would be brief. “I think it’s pretty clear that he’s gonna minimize the amount of time that he’s in London,” the editor-in-chief of True Royalty TV exclusively told Us in April, noting that the prince wanted “to be back for Archie’s birthday” as soon as possible.