As the patrons of many charities, the King and Queen invited 400 people to represent the youth of Great Britain at the Coronation ceremony. As a member of the NCS graduates, I am honoured to say that I was a part of that select group.
My NCS journey started back in the summer of 2022. My team’s social action project was working with Ukrainian refugees in our local area. The team began by contacting the headquarters of various firms to gain resources such as toiletries, food, clothing, and toys for children. With these supplies we were able to collate emergency relief packs for those in need. As a team we also helped set up and organise an activity day for Ukranian families in the local community hosted by the RGS in conjunction with GUkraine. This was definitely the highlight of my time on NCS as I was able to see the direct impact we had made. In addition to this, we raised over £1000 which was donated to GUkraine to provide further support to those who needed it most. I was chosen by my team to act as project manager and as a result was nominated for the Young Leader of the Year award. This success and the affirmation of the award was what quite literally got my name on the guest list.
I travelled up to London the night before the event to meet my team and make sure we were ready for the 4.00am start. Despite being bleary-eyed there was a definite buzz in the hotel lobby. As representatives of NCS and the young people of GB we were invited to breakfast at Lambeth Palace. From there we made our way over Lambeth Bridge to the heart of the action. We made our way through an extensive security search and then were faced with Westminster Hall. None of us knew we would be this close to the main event. We made our way into St Margaret’s church where we were informed of our role for the day: guests. That definitely had everyone in the room quite shocked! Next thing you know we’re getting goodie bags with an official invitation and program of service for the Coronation, identical to those in the Abbey next door!
We watched the ceremony similar to those of you at home on a big screen, however, there were frequent interjections providing insider knowledge surrounding each aspect of the coronation itself. We were then ushered outside, and unbeknownst to us, a section of the procession route had been reserved directly outside Westminster Abbey. There was a euphoric atmosphere amongst the crowd as we anxiously awaited the procession of royal coaches. We were honoured to be the first of the general public to see Charles and Camilla in the flesh post Coronation. As guests we then returned to Lambeth Palace for lunch where the final surprise was revealed – the Archbishop of Canterbury was there to greet us! He was surprisingly down to earth with a wonderful sense of humour. We had a great lunch and shared stories – the Archbishop’s gaining the most attention. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I was given and the people that I met. It will remain a very prominent and fond memory of mine for years to come.
Emily, Upper Sixth
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