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Why Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Coronation Arrival Was ‘Awkward’

Kate Middleton and Prince William were late to King Charles’ coronation on May 6, 2023, complicating logistics before history was written.

In his book The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, royal biographer Robert Hardman writes that King Charles and Queen Camilla inadvertently arrived early for their crowning at Westminster Abbey. The royal couple reportedly got there before pages like Prince George — and there was another snag in the schedule.

“Unbeknown to them, the Prince and Princess of Wales and their two younger children are running a minute and a half late. The Waleses are supposed to be there eight minutes ahead of the King and Queen. Yet they will now arrive after them,” Hardman writes in The Making of a King, published in January.

“Although the congregation inside the abbey don’t know it, there is an awkward scene unfolding outside as the King and Queen are in their coach. It is an added layer of stress that the couple really do not want or need on a day like this,” he writes. Recapping a lipreader’s translation of what King Charles said footage caught on a Sky News camera, Hardman writes that the monarch said, ” ’We can never be on time…There’s always something…This is boring.’ ”

“As with his irksome pen in the days after his mother’s death, it’s a snapshot of a man under extreme pressure in the full gaze of the world’s media,” the biographer writes in The Making of a King.

The author adds that sources have different conclusions on the root of the snafu. Some say that Prince William and Princess Kate’s decision to make a coronation video added “precious seconds” to their schedule while staff for William and Kate speculate that because the King reached the abbey early, the Wales’ car got caught behind his cavalcade when it should have been ahead.

Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales arrive at Westminster Abbey in central London

“It is unusual for the two most important arrivals at such a significant event, and over such a well-trodden route, to be so unpunctual. The result is some frantic rewriting of the running order,” Hardman writes of the entrance Prince and Princess of Wales made with Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. “There isn’t time for the Waleses and their two younger children to enter ahead of the King and Queen. They must now follow behind and bring up the rear.”

Prince William, Prince of Wales, Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales, Britain's Princess Charlotte of Wales and Britain's Prince Louis of Wales arrive at Westminster Abbey in central London on May 6, 2023, ahead of the coronations of Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort.
There were plenty of rehearsals for King Charles and Queen Camilla’s coronation ceremony, which otherwise seemed to run smoothly. Prince William’s pivotal place in the line of succession was emphasized when he knelt before his father to pay homage after he was crowned on May 6. Prince George also made history as the first future monarch to officially play a role in a coronation service by acting as a Page of Honor for his grandfather.
Later in the day, Prince William and Princess Kate appeared with all three of their children on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to support the King, reflecting their prominent position in a slimmed-down contingent.

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