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Victoria Wilson

The Coronation Concert: release date, hosts, acts and everything we know

Windsor Castle pics for Coronation Concert

Following all the official pomp and ceremony of the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on Saturday, the party continues on Sunday, May 7 as some of the biggest names in music and entertainment take to the stage at Windsor Castle for The Coronation Concert. 

Here's what we know about the prestigious event including who will be performing and what time the show will start...

When is The Coronation Concert on?

The Coronation Concert can be watched live on Sunday, May 7 at 8 pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.

Who's hosting The Coronation Concert?

Introducing the performers will be Downton Abbey favourite Hugh Bonneville, who gladly accepted the BBC’s royal invitation…

"It’s an honor to be asked, though it was only after I’d said yes that I realised it’s quite a big gig," admits Hugh, best known for playing the ITV1 drama’s Earl of Grantham. 

"I've hosted a few concerts, but not on this scale, so I’m fairly nervous. My job is to talk to the crowd a bit and then get out of the way for the real performers. It’ll be a kaleidoscope of entertainment — and I don’t have to buy a ticket!"

Actor Hugh Bonneville will introduce the acts as they take to the stage. (Image credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)

In addition, Jordan Banjo and Clara Amfo will be backstage with the acts for BBC One, while Zoe Ball and Dermot O'Leary will be commentating for BBC Radio 2.

Where is it taking place?

The Coronation Concert will take place on the East Lawn of Windsor Castle.

"Having the extraordinary edifice of Windsor Castle as a backdrop and seeing all the acts performing in front of it, to a crowd of around 20,000 people, will feel very special on the night," says Hugh. "I may shed a manly tear."

The Coronation Concert will be held at Windsor Castle. (Image credit: BBC)

Which acts are performing?

Headlining the big gig will be Take That, Lionel Richie and Katie Perry.

Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli and Welsh singer Sir Bryn Terfel will perform as a duo, while singer-songwriter Freya Ridings will take to the stage accompanied by classical-soul composer Alexis Ffrench.

"I'm a man of a certain age, so seeing Lionel Richie up there will be a big moment for me," jokes Hugh. "I've also had the honour of meeting opera singer Bryn Terfel once but I've never heard him live. There really is something for everyone; everything from West Side Story to the Royal Shakespeare Company…"

Iconic US singer and Beaches star Bette Midler is rumoured to make an appearance.

At the heart of the concert will be a performance from the RSC featuring new Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa…

15th Doctor Ncuti Gatwa will perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

"I was at the RSC in the 1990s, so this strikes a chord with me," says Hugh. "King Charles has always been a great supporter of the RSC and the arts in general and this show also features The Royal Ballet, The Royal College of Art and the Royal College of Music. To showcase what this country does best, not only to His Majesty but to millions around the world, is exciting."

What else is happening?

The Coronation Concert will also feature a 300-strong choir, comprised of singing groups from across the UK coming together for a pitch-perfect performance fit for a King.

The choir was formed by TV choirmaster Gareth Malone in a special BBC programme, Sing For The King: The Search for the Coronation Choir, alongside Amanda Holden, Motsi Mabuse and Rose Ayling-Ellis as mentors. 

They have worked with an eclectic mix of singers including a group of  London  Cabbies, an all-deaf  sign performance group, a refugee choir and a troupe  of RNLI sea shanty singers  from  Portishead.

Gareth Malone has formed a Coronation Choir for the event. (Image credit: BBC)

The concert’s big finale is ‘Lighting up the Nation’, which will see UK landmarks lit up by projections, lasers, drone displays and other illuminations…

"That will be rather special," says Hugh. "It will cause a ripple effect across the nation where we can all join hands metaphorically to celebrate the end of a spectacular weekend."

How important is the Coronation — and the monarchy — for this country?

"Whatever your opinion of the monarchy, we can all agree it’s always been a unifying symbol," says Hugh. 

"We saw that with The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last year. That sense of community in, at first celebrating, then in grief at her passing and funeral. The Coronation marks a shift in the fabric of our society. 

"King Charles is now our monarch, leading us into the next chapter of our nation's history, which is to be written by us all."

The Coronation Concert will air live on Sunday, May 7 at 8 pm on BBC One.

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