British ambassador to Saudi Arabia sees coronation as opportunity for Britons to bring history to life
RIYADH: King Charles III will be officially declared Britain’s new monarch on May 6 in a grand ceremony broadcast worldwide from Westminster Abbey in London.
“This is the first coronation in my life. My mother is 87 and she told me about the coronation,” British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton told Arab News.
The ambassador visited Arab News headquarters in Riyadh on Thursday to celebrate the coronation with Arab News reporter and deputy editor-in-chief Nour Ngari.
Crompton highlighted some of the ways people celebrate the coronation in Britain, and also detailed the festivities hosted by the British Embassy in Riyadh.
“Most people watch it live on TV, and a lot of people go to London and line up in the streets, but usually at a royal event like this, a large community gathers and throws a street party. It’s great to get together at the table, cake and flags and kids running around.”
In Saudi Arabia, the British Embassy will host friends who have supported bilateral ties between the two kingdoms, as well as Saudi graduates from British universities, at a reception celebrating the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
“Clearly this is a very important day for the UK and British embassies around the world,” the ambassador said.
A British reception to celebrate the coronation will also be attended by former Saudi ambassadors to Britain and Saudi businessmen and women with close ties to Britain.
Emphasizing the current state of relations between Saudi Arabia and the UK, the Ambassador said:
“But I think our partnership has become very modern. With changes like Brexit, we have an exciting reform programme, Vision 2030,” he said.
Crompton said Prince Charles is expected to continue the legacy of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, while also defending his own interests and engaging in interfaith dialogue, youth development and environmental protection. Added.
“I expect there to be a lot of continuity in that we have a constitutional monarchy, so the emphasis is on monitoring continuity. I think everyone is looking forward to seeing it because it brings a little different interest,” Crompton told Arab News.
Among the King’s continuing interests is his work in promoting harmony and respect among different religions and cultures, and his work in the Arab world.
“He (King Charles) has made seven official visits to Saudi Arabia and, of course, there are old ties between the two royal families,” Crompton said.
“King Charles has always had an interest in the Arab world, especially in matters of faith and Islam,” the ambassador added.
“He was always interested in interfaith dialogue.”
One of King Charles’ commitments is to continually strengthen and build bridges between diverse faiths and cultures.
“I remember King Charles giving a famous speech or lecture in Oxford called ‘Islam in the West’ in 1995, shortly before I joined a foreign embassy. It got a lot of recognition,” Crompton said.
The Ambassador envisions the King continuing a new legacy along these themes while adding an interest in youth development programs.
Many dignitaries from around the world will attend the coronation ceremony scheduled for Saturday, and thousands of Britons will surround Westminster Abbey to experience it.
As previously announced, Prince Charles’ coronation will differ in certain aspects from Queen Elizabeth’s procession, which was attended by more than 8,000 guests, with more than 8,000 guests attending the ceremony.
King Charles’ procession will be shortened to 1.3 miles and will be attended by 2,000 guests.
When asked what he was most looking forward to at the coronation, the Ambassador said: That’s what the ceremony is for. ”
The ambassador added that many of the ornate ceremonies at the late Queen’s funeral were something people had never seen before, and that it was an opportunity for Britons to see history come to life.
“We’ve learned a lot and re-learned a lot about our history, which is something we’re looking forward to,” Crompton said.