5 May 2023

On Saturday King Charles III will be crowned King in Westminster Abbey in a ceremony steeped in the history of our nation with the constitutional monarchy at its head.

I shall be watching on television along with millions of others in this country and abroad.

The King has served the longest ever apprenticeship for becoming our Head of State. At the age of 76 most people are well into their retirement, but he is just at the start of his reign.

He has used his time well. In 1976 he founded the Prince’s Trust, a charity devoted to helping young people with their education or training to get them into employment. Over 1,000,000 people have benefitted.

He has travelled the world since 1966 representing our nation to help build relations with other countries and their people. He is one of the most experienced practitioners in international relations and diplomacy on the planet. This does not mean he is always the most tactful, but he uses his undoubted sense of humour and convening power to win over sceptics and get balls rolling.

He has promoted causes which transcend politics yet are of profound import. He has championed the environment for decades before it became fashionable to do so.

The King and Queen Consort visited Parliament on Monday spending a couple of hours chatting to many of the 2,000 MPs, Peers and parliamentary staff who wished to pay their respects.

It is a vital part of our constitutional settlement that Parliament and Monarch have mutual respect. There was no shortage of politicians of all political persuasion seeking to congratulate Their Majesties.

Our late Queen Elizabeth earned the respect in which she was held through her lifetime of dedicated service to her people. I feel sure that our new King, after his long apprenticeship, will do his utmost to continue to earn the respect and support of the British people.

He will offer leadership to the nation at important moments of commemoration and challenge. The Coronation will be a magnificent occasion, blending centuries of tradition with the modern times in which we live.

God save the King!