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Diverse communities in London prepare for King Charles III's coronation

Members of the Brixton Chamber Orchestra rehearse for coronation weekend performances in London, Friday, April 21, 2023.
Members of the Brixton Chamber Orchestra rehearse for coronation weekend performances in London, Friday, April 21, 2023. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Feelings are mixed across multicultural London ahead of the King's coronation amid the UK's cost-of-living crisis.

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Towns, cities and villages across the UK are awash with Union flags and patriotic decorations to celebrate King Charles III's coronation this weekend.

While officials say the festivities will bring Britain’s diverse communities together, the event is viewed with a large dose of ambivalence by some, not least those with African-Caribbean backgrounds and other minorities for whom the British Empire’s past wrongs still loom large.

Musician Deronne White is a descendant of migrants from Jamaica, a former British colony and Commonwealth member that wants to cut its ties with the monarchy and called for Britain’s royals to address their historical ties to slavery.

He is a member of the Brixton Chamber Orchestra which is planning to parade through south London’s streets entertaining crowds with an uplifting “coronation carnival” set mixing Gospel, jazz, grime, disco and rap.

AP Photo
Flutist Deronne White, 25, takes part in a rehearsal with the Brixton Chamber Orchestra for coronation weekend performances in London, Friday, April 21, 2023.AP Photo

While White is excited about the gig, he said that some might find it hard to connect to the whole occasion.

“For some people, there may be a slight disconnection in terms of the actual event and maybe the history behind it that I think with music they can be that sort of connection,” he said.

With the UK economy on the precipice of recession, some question the cost of the ceremony.

Adrianna Forbes-Dorant, who plays the violin alongside White, said: "It is strange that this event would happen at a time when people don't really have the money to get by on."

Across the capital, Janpal Basran, the head of the Southall Community Alliance, raised the same point.

"Is it fair that there is so much attention and resource being put into a massive coronation celebration when people are in record numbers having to rely upon food banks, are facing poverty on an unbelievable scale?" he said. 

Southall, known as "Little India”, the west London neighbourhood is home to the largest Indian population outside their home country.

A street party will be organised by a group of local women that promises to feature Punjabi food, Punjabi dancing and singing.

Gulu Anand, who owns Southall’s Brilliant curry house and has cooked for King Charles III several times over the years, is one vocal supporter.

“(Charles) actually listens to you, wants to know from where you’ve come,” he said, recalling the royal’s demeanour when he ate at his restaurant.

“I think he is the people’s King."

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