The Kings Coronation
13th July 2023
It's been a little while since the coronation of King Charles III. Just over 2 months to be accurate.
However, a number of Kent Scouts were extremely lucky, and were invited to be part of this historical day back in May of this year. Kent Scouts were very proud to announce that 6 of our young people were to be representing the Scout Association as part of the Coronation of King Charles III.
Ashley Goldfinch from Thanet District had the honour of being 1 of only 3 Scouts selected from the South East to attend a private viewing of the coronation in Westminster (50 Explorer Scouts and Leaders were part of a group of 400 young people representing a range of charitable organisations with a long history of support from the Royal Family that were invited to this special private screening of the Coronation Service at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster).
In addition, James English and Lucy Morgan supported proceedings at Westminster on the day. Darcey Holmes, Mia Glyn-Jones and Jools Elliot were at Gilwell supporting the official Coronation Camp.
And now, here is their stories of the day!
(Plus check out their pictures from the day at the bottom!)
"The weekend was so much fun! On the day of the coronation I was stationed at St James's Park. Our job was to be generally helpful for those visiting, answering questions and pointing directions. We gave out loads of flags and lost children bracelets and welcomed visitors into the park. After setting our alarms for 3am our shift began at 5.30am and finished around 3pm. The day was exhausting and we got very cold and damp in the rain, but the atmosphere more than made up for it - especially when the procession up the Mall passed by us and we saw a glimpse of the golden carriage! As well as an opportunity to fulfill our Scout promise to 'do our duty to the king', the weekend was also a great chance to meet other Network-aged Scouts from all over the country (and commonwealth). They were all so like-minded and I hope that several of them will now be lasting friends." - Lucy Morgan
"As a Scout, part of my promise is to do my best but also to do my duty, and I think I succeeded in doing that this weekend. As one of the 450 Scout volunteers selected to support the Coronation in various roles and in whatever capacity we could. This was a surreal opportunity to work alongside so many truly inspiring individuals from across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Countries (including Canada, Australia, Nepal and Singapore of those I met) nominated to represent their country or region. It is something I will never forget and was an honour to be a part of a celebration which means so much to so many people.
Alongside the volunteers, 40 Explorer Scouts were chosen for a special viewing of the Coronation in St Margaret's Church, London. In preparation, and to support these Young People representing the Scout Association, myself and 2 other Kent Scouts, Mia and Jools helped the valet team to make sure everyone of the over 500 volunteers had the coronation badge sewn on their Scout uniform, and each Explorers badges were correct with new tabs for the following day's events. It was a huge endeavour, and meant sewing until the early hours of the morning. With a short turn around and power nap we were up and ready to make our way into London at sunrise, grabbing our seats to watch the Coronation together in St James's Park.
And what an experience it was, seeing the procession, the Gold State Coach and even the newly crowned King on the Mall.
We were representing the Scouts, visible in the crowd and ready to lend a hand where we could. It was wonderful and fulfilling to have so many heartfelt conversations with the public so happy to see us out in uniform supporting the special occasion. It is something I will be proud to talk about, sharing this historical experience I was so fortunate to be a part of." - Darcey Holmes
"What an experience! I was given the opportunity to represent 57,000,000 of the scouting community in the world. 500,000 in the uk. I was one of fifty chosen to attend a private screening of Their Majesty’s coronation.
A few highlights of the day were
- Having Breakfast and Lunch at Lambeth Palace
- The Archbishop of Canterburys dog joining us and tucking into some granola
- The Screening of the Coronation accompanied by some souvenirs
- The shout-out of the 400 of us in St Margaret’s Church from the Archbishop
- Priority to stand at the fences for the procession to pass us
- The King waving at us!
- The opportunity to meet some amazing people from the UK and across the commonwealth
It was such an honour to attend and represent so many. I’ve made so many memories and it’s something I’ll never forget!" - Ashley Goldfinch
CHECK OUT ASHLEY'S VLOG OF THE DAY BELOW!
"This weekend I was honoured to be part of roughly 540 Scouts representing The Scout Association in London for the coronation of HRH King Charles III. These members were made up of Scouts from across the United Kingdom and the commonwealth. This weekend truly allowed the Scouts involved to uphold our promises doing our ‘duty to the King,’ and ‘to help other people,’ through providing stewarding and route lining services in London on the Coronation Day.
My time supporting this event started on Thursday 4th May, when I travelled to Gilwell Park; I have to admit I was quite nervous as I didn’t know anyone else that had been selected. I did however find it reassuring that everyone else was in the same boat! No one else knew each other, and that made us all come together stronger throughout the weekend. I was introduced to my team and discovered that the 8 of us in the team would be in Hyde Park on coronation day, supporting the members of the public watching the coronation live on screen 3. The following day was spent listening to briefings, including safety briefings for Saturday. We then took part in lots of activities around Gilwell, in our team, such as climbing and other team building activities which allowed us to get to know each other.
We had a very early awakening on Saturday morning, at the early hour of 2am, to get into our uniforms before travelling into London. Our team was positioned on one of the football pitches in Hyde Park, supporting the public watching the coronation on screen 3. As well as representing The Scout Association, our duties involved stewarding and directing members of the public who came to watch the coronation. Us wearing out uniforms and purple high vis vests made us recognisable and approachable to the public, along with other scout leaders who were there enjoying the event. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. We didn’t let the rain dampen our moods! It was so special to watch everyone celebrate this momentous occasion.
Before we all departed Gilwell on Sunday, the entire camp came together for the first time, for a Scouts Own, and reflection, led by various members of the UK Leadership Team. It was only when they put it into perspective, we realised actually how lucky we were to be there, and to have supported this event. I am so grateful to have met some amazing friends from across the UK, who I very much hope to stay in contact with. These friends were a huge part of making this event so special to me. Since this weekend, I myself have reflected upon how proud I am to be a part of The Scout Association, and the amazing 4th Milton Regis Scout Group, and Dragon Explorer Scout Unit that I am part of. I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for Scouts, and this weekend has really shown the impact that we have on out communities, and the Young People we support. I wouldn’t change it for the world." - James English
"It was an absolute honour and privilege to carry out my first duty to the King this weekend as one of the six young people selected from Kent to represent the Scout Association as part of the Coronation of King Charles III, fulfilling my scouting promise.
The weekend was a fantastic occasion to meet new and like-minded people from across the country and the Commonwealth, who understood the scouting values and the importance of what it meant to be part of the weekend. As described by someone at the Coronation camp, "As scouts, we have the ability to work together like we've known each other our whole lives even when we have just met" and no truer words could have been spoken to encapsulate what it feels like to be part of the worldwide family of scouting.
A memory I will always cherish will be myself, Jools and Darcey, two of the other Kent representatives, who stayed up through the night with the Valet team to ensure every uniform that was to be worn over the series of Coronation events had the correct badges sewn into place. With just under an hour's total of sleep, waking up and headed into London running on solely adrenaline and excitement to watch the crowning of our new King and Queen. The atmosphere of the day was mesmerising, regardless of the rain and something that I will always remember!" - Mia Glyn-Jones
"After arriving on Thursday and being briefed on the latest plans, we split into our shifts for the weekend.
On Friday we were briefed on ‘Operation Golden Orb’ and what to expect when we were in London. This was followed by a day of teambuilding and other activities. Mia and I joined our shift at the campfire circle for some fire-lighting, then we met up with the UK Youth Shaped team and Youth Commissioners from around the country for an impromptu Youth Forum. It was great to meet so many friendly and enthusiastic scouts and learn about their experiences making scouts more youth shaped.
No camp would be complete without a campfire, and the Coronation Camp was no exception. Scouts from around the world gathered to share their favourite campfire songs, then we headed up to the Buffalo Lawn for the UKYCs’ quiz.
41 Explorers joined the camp on Friday afternoon as the 'King Charles III Coronation Explorer Scout Unit'. They, along with around 350 other young people, would attend a special private screening of the Coronation in St. Margaret’s Church, followed by lunch at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury. To support them representing The Scouts as they did, Mia, Darcey, and I put our skills for life into practice, helping the valet team with the colossal task of sewing on ESU name tapes and Coronation occasional badges. (And moving some badges to the right places!) It took a while, but we eventually finished off the last of the 500+ uniforms - with a whole 45 minutes to spare before it was time to put on our own uniform and make our way into London with the sunrise.
First stop was St. James’s Park, where we gathered with many other Scouts to ensure the movement had a visible presence at the Coronation. It was amazing to see so many scouts in their countries’ uniforms throughout the crowds, doing their duty to the king, ready to help other people wherever they could. The excitement of the crowds, both scouts and non-scouts, was really noticeable - even the rain didn’t stop everyone from gathering to watch the King’s Procession and the coronation service.
During the Coronation Procession back to Buckingham Palace, a smaller group of us were stood near one of the viewing areas on The Mall. We were swept down to Buckingham Palace by the crowds hoping to see the balcony appearance and the Red Arrows’ flyover. It was wonderful to be able to attend such a significant event in person. I’m proud I was there to represent Kent Scouts and the wider scout movement.
Before leaving Gilwell Park on Sunday, the whole camp gathered in one place for the first time to hold Scouts’ Own and a Closing Ceremony where we reflected on the events of the last 72 hours and thanked those who made it possible. Then it was time to strike camp and return to Kent ready for the Big Help Out the following day.
It was an incredible weekend, and I’m so grateful to have been able to be a part of it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent Scouts at such a historic event, and I’m pleased I was able to play a small part in helping to make it a success." - Jools Elliot