Britain will receive an extra bank holiday for King Charles III’s coronation after concerns about the effect on the economy were put aside by Downing Street.
Rishi Sunak has designated Monday May 8 as an official day of rest – two days after the coronation and just a week after the May Day bank holiday at the start of the month.
It is understood that the decision to hold a bank holiday was taken by Downing Street, not by Buckingham Palace, and sources in the Palace declined to comment on the news last night.
But Mr Sunak said the day would be a “unique moment for our country” and encouraged the public to use the long weekend to celebrate.
The bank holiday will apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The Coronation of a new monarch is a unique moment for our country. In recognition of this historic occasion, I am pleased to announce an additional bank holiday for the whole United Kingdom next year,” Mr Sunak said.
“I look forward to seeing people come together to celebrate and pay tribute to King Charles III by taking part in local and national events across the country in his honour.”
Plans for pared-back ceremony underway
Preparations have already begun for the coronation, which is set to be “glorious but not ostentatious” according to those close to discussions, and designed to reflect the “national mood” and economic turmoil.
A pared-back ceremony in Westminster Abbey will feature a shorter guest list than would otherwise be expected, while King Charles is “unlikely” to undergo as many outfit changes throughout the day as his predecessors.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP, has previously said the event should not be slimmed-down and must be “sufficiently dignified for our sovereign”.
“The last coronation was for a reign that lasted for 70 years,” he said last month, adding: “This is not something that happens often, it needs to be done properly.”
Officials were said to be concerned about the effect that another day off would have on the economy, as ministers prioritise economic growth and the Bank of England warned of the longest recession in 100 years.
Sources close to Mr Sunak said the economic effects were “not a major problem” and that he “thinks it’s a really important occasion for the country to celebrate with their family and friends”.
Several government departments are involved in the coronation planning, including the Ministry of Defence and Department of Culture, Media and Sport, with the Cabinet Office coordinating efforts.
Oliver Dowden, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the coronation “combines the sacred and the solemn but it is also celebratory”.
“This bank holiday will once again give people across the United Kingdom the opportunity to come together as families and communities to welcome His Majesty to the throne as we mark this important day in our nation’s long history,” he said.
Earlier this year Britons enjoyed a four-day weekend after the May bank holiday was moved and an additional day off created to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
The Government also proclaimed an additional bank holiday on September 19 to mark the state funeral for the Queen.
A national day of celebration was announced when the late Queen took the throne for her coronation in 1953.
Seven thousand spectators watched the ceremony in Westminster Abbey and another 27 million watched on television in the UK alone.
Source : Telegraph.co.uk