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British Royals

A very special Big Lunch gets Coronation street party season going

The celebrations for the Coronation are under way as the first Big Lunch in celebration of King Charles III and Queen Camilla takes place just around the corner from the most famous royal palace in the world.

With just over a month to go until the Coronation, members of the Household Division held a Coronation Big Lunch at Wellington Barracks in London.

Mel Giedroyc hosted this first Coronation Big Lunch
(Victoria Dawe/ The Eden Project/ Coronation Big Lunch)

The Big Lunch is all about sharing food and time with neighbours so the Royal Household Foot Guards invited their Cavalry neighbours to a Coronation celebration.

They’ll be rather busy on Coronation weekend itself – the Foot Guards comprise His Majesty’s Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards and Scots Guards and as well as guarding famous royal homes including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, they also take a leading role in ceremonial events. Their rehearsals for the Coronation are already well under way so this was a chance to take a break from planning and celebrate the Coronation with sandwiches, tea, cake and chat.

They were hosted by actress and comedian, Mel Giedroyc, who invited them all to get the Coronation party started. She’s been involved with the Big Lunch for several years and played a leading role in bringing communities together to mark the Platinum Jubilee last year.

As the party unfolded, she also shared tips for those still planning their Coronation get togethers.

At this very special royal party, Mel Giedroyc said ”Our Big Lunch today shows how easy it is to invite your neighbours over and enjoy a few nibbles together.  It’s so important to take time out from our busy lives to meet and share friendship with the people you live alongside. When the serious Coronation ceremonies are over, everyone UK wide is invited to be part of the celebration with a Coronation Big Lunch, whether that’s joining in with a garden picnic, having a cuppa on your doorstep, or a party in your street.”

Every member of the military community joined the celebrations
(Victoria Dawe/ The Eden Project/ Coronation Big Lunch)

Captain Thomas Windsor-Clive from the Coldstream Guards was one of those enjoying the party. He said ‘‘Those of us here today represent different Regiments, come from different backgrounds and will have different responsibilities during this year’s special summer ceremonial season. But having all conducted hundreds of hours of preparations already, it was great for us to come together to take a moment for food and fellowship.”

The Big Lunch is an annual event, run by the Eden Project in Cornwall. Queen Camilla is their patron. Since 2009, Big Lunch Day has provided an opportunity for people to come together to share food and conversation. This year, Big Lunch Day is May 7 2023, at the centre of the long Coronation weekend although celebrations are expected to take place across the three days.

Peter Stewart LVO, Chief Purpose Officer at the Eden Project highlighted the role that the Big Lunch plays in bringing together people who might not always have time to chat, saying ”The Household Division is made up of separate groups who are all neighbours but don’t always get to spend time together.  Today’s event and the invite from Mel to come together for a Coronation Big Lunch shows us how easy it is to join in – it’s all about community, sharing friendship, food and fun! The Big Lunch gives people more than just a good time – people to feel less lonely, raise money for the things they care about, make new friends and go on to get more involved with their community.”

Thousands of Big Lunch celebrations are already being planned and there is plenty of time to organise your own celebration. There’s a free pack to download on the Big Coronation Lunch website which also has regular updates on how to make the most of your party.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.