I am very much looking forward to the Coronation of King Charles III this weekend, and I’m delighted to be attending the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. It was an honour to be selected and I will be proudly representing my constituents in Croydon Central.
This Coronation marks the beginning of a new chapter for our country, and a chance to come together to celebrate our nation. I’ve been travelling around the country in the last few weeks campaigning – in Darlington, in Great Yarmouth, in Kent, and in Brighton – and in every town and village I’ve been proud to see bunting and flags. I know that people hold different and deeply held views on the monarchy. I respect those views. Nonetheless, I hope that this celebration is a chance to come together across differences, and prove that we have more that unites us than divides us.
When I first became an MP, I pledged my own allegiance to the Crown, and will do so again tomorrow in the Abbey. I’ve been lucky enough to meet the King on several occasions. As the Prince of Wales, Charles held a knife crime summit at St James’ Palace. I attended as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Knife Crime.
Prince Charles showed sensitivity and a real awareness of the issues. He cared deeply about what could be done to prevent the needless and tragic loss of young lives. More recently I spoke with him St James’ Palace, at a reception for MPs. On both of those occasions I was struck, as I am now, by the years of steadfast public service that the King has given and will continue to give to this nation and its people.
The first words that Charles III will say in Westminster Abbey tomorrow are these: ‘I come not to be served, but to serve’. The model of selflessness that the late Queen displayed in such abundance was an inspiration to me, and I will continue to look to the King as a model in that regard.
In Croydon around 50 individual celebrations and parties are being held on estates, parks and roads around the borough. I hope that the sun shines, and I wish you all a very happy weekend.