As the world watched the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and Queen at Westminster Abbey, the City came out to celebrate.
Union flags flew across iconic Square Mile sites, and Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the Mansion House, and Guildhall – the City of London Corporation’s headquarters – were specially lit in red, white, and blue.
Residents held street parties, and our Business Improvement Districts ran a BIG Picnic in the Fleet Street Quarter, a traditional cockney knees-up at Leadenhall Market, and a Big Coronation Lunch at Aldgate Square.
And there were celebrations across the City Corporation’s open spaces, including a party honouring volunteers at Burnham Beeches, and a community festival at Hampstead Heath. The City has always been a loyal supporter of the Monarchy, and our residents, workers, and visitors came together to celebrate in style, supporting our Destination City vision of the Square Mile as a seven-day-a-week leisure destination.
This was a vitally important moment for the nation, and I am proud that the City of London Corporation played a valuable role.
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Lord Mayor Nicholas Lyons followed in the footsteps of his predecessors by walking in the Coronation procession at Westminster Abbey. Lord Mayors have represented the City in Coronations of new monarchs since at least the 14th century.
And I was delighted that the City Corporation, in partnership with participating Livery Companies – the City’s ancient trade guilds – gifted the bespoke fabric ‘anointing screen’, which enshrouded King Charles III as he was anointed in holy oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The screen, which replaced the canopy used in previous Coronations, was inspired by a stained-glass window in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace installed for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. It features a striking central design of a Commonwealth Tree, depicting the 56 Commonwealth countries as leaves.
Our inclusion in this most special of events reflects the Square Mile’s continued importance in the life of the nation.
Today, the City drives the national economy, generating over £85bn in economic output annually, and over £1.1bn in business rates. There are 587,000 workers here in the Square Mile – home to one of the youngest, most highly skilled, diverse, and international workforces across the country.
The Coronation marks the beginning of a new era for the UK and the Commonwealth.
And it is clear to me that the monarchy underpins the attractiveness of London and the UK as a place in which to live, work, and visit.
Through the ages, the Royal Family has provided political stability at home, and soft power overseas. They reinforce our national values of the independence of the judiciary, and respect for the rule of law, which make the UK such an attractive place to do business.
King Charles III now occupies a role he’s been working towards his entire life. And I know that under his leadership, the City and the Crown will remain as close as ever, reflecting our ancient partnership, for the benefit of the whole UK.
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