There is no other event as glittering, rare and desired by the world’s powerful as a British Coronation.
Leaders and their entourages are flying to attend the first one in seven decades.
It is an opportunity for Britain to showcase its assets, and exude as much diplomatic soft power as possible at the beginning of the Carolean age.
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Since centuries, it has been a tradition that other crown royals not attend British Coronations. This time, no.
Four kings, queens, and several princes and Princesses will be attending. Ninety heads of state will attend.
Joe Biden, US president, is not attending the event. His wife, first lady, will be there in his place. Most presidents and prime ministers will be present.
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office says that 450 dignitaries from 200 countries, realms and Commonwealth nations will attend Westminster Abbey. This is a quarter.
To avoid offence, it is important to adhere to strict protocol when seating them.
Foreign royals will sit in the front rows, as well as representatives from the 14 realms that still view the king of their country to be the head of state.
Then, behind them, will be representatives of the overseas territories and then other Commonwealth nations, each with its own head of state. Other guests will sit behind them in strict alphabetical sequence.
This weekend, FCDO will host 220 foreign delegations.
List of countries that will not receive an invitation embossed from Buckingham Palace. Afghanistan, Belarus, Myanmar, Russia, Syria, Iran and Venezuela. North Korea was invited, but at the ambassadorial level. Nicaragua likewise.
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But China was asked. This has caused a lot of controversy, because the person Beijing is sending to Hong Kong is widely considered as an oppressor. China’s president Xi Jinping declined the invitation and sent his vice-president instead.
Han Zheng, a Chinese official, is responsible for the most part of the British-Chinese agreement on the former colony. He ordered a brutal crackdown against protesters and sent hundreds to prison.
The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation said to Sky News that it was “pretty disgraceful” that the architect behind Hong Kong’s decline had been invited to King Charles III’s coronation, while other partners, like Taiwan, with whom the UK enjoys a good relationship, were excluded.
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Iain Duncan Smith of the Conservative Party, who was sanctioned by China, said on Sky News that Han Zheng, the man responsible for the new brutal national security law, is the main culprit behind the crackdown against democracy activists in Hong Kong. Jimmy Lai is a journalist and the owner of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong.
Jimmy Lai, among others, have been deprived of their freedom.
James Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary, will meet Han Zheng before the coronation.
He will discuss “points” of criticism with the vice-president, according to his officials. Among the topics to be discussed will include China’s treatment towards the Uyghur minorities of Xinjiang Province and Hong Kong’s failure to adhere to commitments.
Former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten said that Han’s presence at the coronation showed that China doesn’t give a “two-hoot” about the UK.
Ministers take advantage of the fact that a number of dignitaries from abroad are in London to arrange less controversial meetings at the sidelines.
The Government will hope that the coronation is a powerful project of Britain’s soft-power – and not just because of the presence of internationally-known celebrities like Joanna Lumley, the Beckhams, or Mr Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson).