Those closest to King Charles III had front-row seats at his Coronation ceremony on May 6.
As well as his much-loved family members, some of the monarch’s longest-serving aides had prime positions during the service.
Hello!’s royal editor Emily Nash noted the “special” seating choice on the most recent episode of the publication’s A Right Royal Podcast, which delved into the details of Saturday’s event.
“I thought it was lovely that on his way into the Abbey and out, he had genuine, very warm smiles for people who were in the crowd,” the commentator said. “And a lot of his very close, long-serving aides were in the front row.
“I think that was deliberate because he was able to see very familiar faces as he walked through — both he and Queen Camilla. You could see them catching people’s eyes and acknowledging them. I think that was really special.”
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Several members of the King and Queen’s household were among the 2,200 guests at the Coronation ceremony.
Five of the Queen’s Companions, whose roles are similar to ladies-in-waiting, were part of the congregation. Sitting in the Abbey were Sarah Troughton, a former lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Kent and a longtime friend of Camilla, Jane von Westenholz, a long-standing friend, Lady Sarah Keswick, Lady Katherine Brooke, the daughter of Lady Susan Hussey, who was a long-serving lady-in-waiting to the late Queen, and Baroness Carlyn Chisholm, a former British politician and member of the House of Lords.
Meanwhile, members of the King’s household included Jo Churchill, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Segrave, Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, and Marcus Jones, Treasurer of the Household.
He was promoted to Private Secretary with responsibility for foreign and Commonwealth affairs in 2009, and after serving as ambassador to Morocco from 2012-15, he returned to Charles’s household as Principal Private Secretary.
In 2020, Sir Clive reportedly played a key role in the negotiations of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s exit deal. It has been suggested that he came up with the infamous phrase, “recollections may vary”, in response to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive Oprah Winfrey interview.
Also involved in the procession was Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Thompson, of the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, who serves as King Charles’s equerry. His role makes him responsible for the detailed planning and execution of the King’s daily programmes.
Since Charles ascended the throne in September 2022, Lieutenant Colonel Johnny has consistently been at his side. At the Coronation, he served as Groom of the Robes, whose duty is to bring forward the robes and other items of ceremonial clothing worn by the monarch at various points in the service.
Johnny, who has built up quite a fanbase after being thrust into the spotlight last year, attracted the attention of several royal fans throughout the ceremony.
One took to Twitter to say: “Our favourite equerry is getting some prime time!!”
While another said: “Our Johnny Thompson has a major role in all this. Making sure the Pages get it right and everything runs smoothly…”
Other members of the procession included Sophie Densham, Private Secretary to the Queen, Lord Parker of Minsmere, Lord Chamberlain of the Household — the most senior member of staff at Buckingham Palace — and Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, Master of the Household.
It is Charles’s tight-knit group of aides who ensured the King’s smooth transition from prince to monarch. As royal commentator and The Daily Telegraph’s associate editor Camilla Tominey wrote last year, “meticulous planning has also gone into how Charles will rule as King”.
As well as mentioning the significant impact of Sir Edward Young and Sophie Densham, Ms Tominey noted the extent of Sir Clive’s influence. She quoted a former royal aide who described Charles’s Private Secretary as someone who “maximises impact and minimises risk”.
They said: “Clive is the architect of everything behind the scenes. He is someone who has a deep understanding of the constitution and can anticipate issues that can arise in these big moments; his technical knowledge is extremely valuable.”