Two hundred NHS staff have been offered "prime seats" for the procession on Saturday 6 May to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. They are the lucky winners chosen at random from among over 20,000 NHS workers who entered a ballot for places at the procession and concert this weekend. NHS England (NHSE) said the allotted places were "in recognition of the dedication, service and impact of hundreds of thousands of NHS staff and volunteers over its 75-year history".
The NHS representatives selected "will be part of history", NHSE said, and will be seated in a special grandstand set up near Buckingham Palace. This will afford them "a unique view" of The King and Queen Consort leaving for the coronation at Westminster Abbey, and returning in the gold state coach after officially being crowned, as well as a view of the appearance of the royal family on the palace balcony and the armed forces fly past.
NHS Chief to Attend Coronation Ceremony
Also representing the NHS, Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard will attend the coronation ceremony itself. She said: "It is an extraordinary honour to be asked to attend the coronation service on behalf of the NHS. For so many health service staff to be invited to be part of this historic occasion shows the huge amount of respect and admiration the royal family has for the NHS and the work our dedicated staff do.
"As we start a new chapter for the country with the coronation of His Majesty King Charles, we are also looking to the future of the health service and the opportunities ahead of us, while reflecting on the incredible history and achievements of our organisation – and our staff and volunteers – over the past 75 years.
"From Britain’s first heart transplant in 1958, pioneering new treatments such as bionic eyes and, in more recent times, the world’s first rapid whole genome sequencing service for seriously ill babies and children, and rolling out the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in NHS history during the Covid pandemic, the health service has always adapted to meet the changing needs of the country, and will continue to do so to ensure local care is fit for the future."
King Charles Expressed 'Profound Gratitude' to NHS Workers
King Charles was reported last month to have said that he had offered the coveted coronation spots to NHS workers and armed forces veterans as a mark of "profound gratitude" for their work .
Fifty more NHS staff have been invited to the post-coronation concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday evening (7 May), with a performer line-up including Take That, Olly Murs, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Tom Cruise, and Winnie the Pooh as well as a 300-strong choir that will include members of Hull's NHS choir.
Ten thousand members of the public who won tickets through a public ballot will also attend the concert , which will also see guitarist Steve Winwood performing with a virtual choir of singers located across 40 different commonwealth countries. Other celebrities with a role in the proceedings include Dame Joan Collins, Sir Tom Jones, and adventurer Bear Grylls.
Many trusts around the country will be holding their own screenings of the coronation and concert, including tea parties, lashings of coronation quiche, and miles of bunting decorating hospital corridors and receptions.
The NHS asked patients to "choose services" appropriately over the bank holiday, to attend any planned appointments unless contacted otherwise, and to use 111 online as the "first port of call" for health needs, reserving 999 for life-threatening emergencies.