Sunset Concert at Windsor Castle is Highlight of Coronation Celebrations

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Sunset at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK, photo by A Howse
Sunset at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK, photo by A Howse

Following the successful coronation church ceremony in Westminster Abbey that incorporated a full military parade to Buckingham Palace on Saturday 6th May, a big concert in Windsor Castle was held to celebrate the crowning of King Charles II and Queen Camilla. It was by great fortune that on Sunday 7th May that the beautiful spring evening was fine and dry, which was a complete contrast to the constant rain that drenched all involved (except the royals in their vintage gilt coaches) at the coronation procession, the previous day.

The British royal family has several castles across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and they also own a private estate in Wales. Traditionally the Queen Elizabeth II and family chose to be based at Windsor Castle when in London. Therefore, it was fitting that William the Prince of Wales took to a grand stage in front of the famous 11th century fortress and welcomed an audience comprised of his father, the newly crowned King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla and twenty thousand lucky ticket holders.

The show was a sellout musical extravaganza and featured artists primarily from the UK and all over the western world and also the commonwealth.

The pop stars singing live included Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Take That, Olly Murs, Nicole Scherzinger. Andrea Bocelli and Sir Bryn Terfel performed a charming and dramatic classical duet and there was choreography by Oti Mabuse the Latin dance champion.

There was a dazzling selection of metallic and bright costumes on show during the exciting show. Paloma Faith’s performance of ‘Firework’ was breath-taking as she appeared in a golden shining voluminous ballgown fit for a Disney princess. Nicole Scherzinger also looked and sounded amazing, wearing a sapphire velvet and lace asymmetric panel full length dress.

A royal orchestra and military band accompanied the wonderful tuneful acts. Legendary British disc jockey Pete Tong began the celebrations with a signature mix-up of lively tunes. Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey fame presented the acts who performed on a Union Jack flag shaped stage, with huge video screens arranged in the form of a crown beaming all the entertainer’s dancing moves clearly, to all who attended.

Songs, rhythms and beats from artists like Tiwa Savage and other Asian, African and Caribbean bands were woven into the variety of cabaret acts which lasted for around two hours. The celebrations were much more international, multi-cultural and ethnically diverse than the church of England service performed in Westminster Abbey the previous day.

A whole range of artists appealed to the audience who was made up of men, women and young people. Steve Winwood is a senior guitarist who entertained the crowd and Lucy Illingwood is an autistic and blind pianist who, at the age of thirteen, moved everyone with her inspiring performance for King Charles III and all his guests.

Royal fans Tom Cruise, Dame Joan Collins, Bear Grylls and Sir Tom Jones appeared by video message to wish the new King and Queen well and mark the occasion in their own styles.

The BBC’s Kirsty Young introduced the televised concert programme which was watched by millions and broadcast on iplayer soon after the event. A sign language version was also provided on BBC iplayer for those hard of hearing. (1) (2)

The Royal College of Art. The Royal Collage of Music, the Royal Opera and Royal Shakespeare Company collaborated with an inspiring and romantic mix of theatre, dance, art and music that delighted the onlookers.

A highlight of the extravaganza was the special version of Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” which alluded to a message reminding us all of taking care of the planet and all the creatures that live on this earth. This stunning visual spectacle was designed and coordinated by SkyMagic who following the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert, are now are well known for creating this type of multiple drone coordinated, sky simulated ‘fireworks and more’ experience.

“A total of 10 UK cities welcomed the celestial choreographies, including Blackpool, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Cardiff, where the country’s dragon symbol spread out 140 meters long across the sky. Other shapes formed were butterflies, bees, a lion, and a tiger.” Explained DroneDJ which is an online magazine specialising in all things drone. (3)

The colourful and technical sky art was set against many well-known tunes from the United Kingdom. The displays pleased the royal family who seemed to be having a great time and also thrilled many concert go-ers who all seemed to sing, wave their flags enthusiastically and thoroughly enjoy the special occasion. A great atmosphere was created in England over the weekend and many people’s spirits were lifted. The impressive coronation ceremony and procession and then the delightful musical concert celebrated all things emotionally positive, community orientated and creative.

This fun, upbeat and fabulous gig reflected King Charles III’s Royal Air Force background and sporting interests and also his musical ability and affinity for the arts. The evening focused on the important message of conserving the environment and also supporting people across the United Kingdom and beyond, to live their best lives. This accessible musical treat cleverly communicated to all generations, the new Kings passion for respecting and caring for nature and our land and seas.

(1) Coronation Party, BBC iplayer, 7th May 2023 Coronation Party, BBC iplayer

(2) Coronation Party with sign language, BBC iplayer, 7th May 2023 Coronation Party with sign language, BBC iplayer

(3) ‘Coronation drone shows light up Windsor Castle and 10 UK cities’ Bruce Crumley, DroneDJ online magazine, 8 May 2023 ‘Coronation drone shows light up Windsor Castle and 10 UK cities’ Bruce Crumley, DroneDJ online magazine, 8 May 2023