Big Ben to light up with projections every night to mark King Charles’s coronation

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The famous clock will be lit up every night until Sunday in honour of the coronation

Big Ben will be lit up with a series of projections every night this week to mark King Charles’ coronation.

The famous clock tower in central London will be illuminated with images of the national flowers of all four home nations - a rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock - in red, white and blue, the colours of the Union Flag.

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The words of the national anthem God Save the King will then appear across the landmark before the projection culminates with the coronation emblem, designed by British product designer and chancellor of the Royal College of Art Sir Jony Ive.

A late night rehearsal took place on Wednesday evening (3 May), giving onlookers a taste of what is to come throughout the week. Projections will light up Big Ben every night from Thursday to Sunday (4 to 7 May) at around 8.30pm until 11pm in honour of the coronation.

Images are projected onto the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster, central London (Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire)Images are projected onto the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster, central London (Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Images are projected onto the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster, central London (Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire) | Yui Mok/PA Wire

It comes as the King and Queen Consort met with guests at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for the first traditional garden party of Charles’ reign, three days before the coronation on 6 May.

The palace hosted around 8,000 guests on Wednesday afternoon, where attendees also had the chance to mingle with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent. Guests included “Coronation Champions”, exceptional volunteers recognised for their work by the Royal Voluntary Service, of which Camilla is the president.

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Lionel Richie, who is performing at the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday, also met Charles and Camilla who laughed and smiled in separate meetings with the singer. He told reporters: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To be a part of it is everything. I’ve known His Majesty for a couple of years, so it’s fun to be here.”

King Charles III with Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigi during a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace (Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire)King Charles III with Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigi during a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace (Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
King Charles III with Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigi during a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace (Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire) | Yui Mok/PA Wire

Richie, who has been involved with the Prince’s Trust as an ambassador since the 1980s, praised the King’s work, adding: “Believe it or not, he cares. He’s hands on.” Charles and Camilla, alongside the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children, also attended a coronation rehearsal at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday.

The royal family was greeted by the Dean of Westminster and shown inside the gothic church, where the King and Queen Consort will be anointed and crowned on Saturday in front of 2,300 guests and a global audience of millions.

The rehearsal came after a man was arrested after suspected shotgun cartridges were thrown into the grounds of Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening. Security minister Tom Tugendhat said police and intelligence agencies are mounting a “very complex” security operation around the ceremony, as the eyes of the world are set to be on the UK.

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Early morning rehearsals were also staged in the capital in the early hours of Wednesday morning as part of the final preparations, giving royal fans the first glimpses of the grandeur of the coronation processions.

Hundreds of soldiers, many on horseback, marched from Buckingham Palace past Trafalgar Square and Downing Street to Westminster Abbey shortly after midnight, and the diamond jubilee state coach and gold state coach was seen travelling down The Mall as part of the dry-run for the full event.

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