Celebrate King Charles III's Coronation with royal West End shows
Mark the momentous historical occasion by visiting the theatre. See quintessentially British shows including Six and The Play That Goes Wrong.
The Coronation of Charles III and Camilla is fast approaching. On Saturday 6 May, at Westminster Abbey, Charles will officially be crowned King, and Camilla, currently the Queen Consort, will become Queen. The royal pair will travel to the abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach and return to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach.
On Sunday, there’s the Coronation Big Lunch, followed by an evening Coronation Concert held on the grounds of Windsor Castle, featuring musical stars like Take That, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Andrea Bocelli, Bryn Terfel, Freya Ridings, and Alexis French.
If you’re looking for fun activities to mark the Coronation weekend — which, don’t forget, also includes a special Bank Holiday Monday on 8 May — then check out our guide to the best royal London shows that you can book for now. After all, the Coronation itself is all about theatre, so why not get in the spirit with a magnificent West End production?
Andrew Lloyd Webber previously announced that, per tradition, Her Majesty’s Theatre – home to long-running musical The Phantom of the Opera – will be renamed His Majesty’s Theatre from 6 May in honour of Charles III. The original 18th-century building was named The Queen’s Theatre, after Queen Anne, and became The King’s Theatre in 1714 when George I took the throne.
The current building was Her Majesty’s Theatre for Queen Victoria, then His Majesty’s Theatre for Edward VII, and reverted to “Her” for the late Queen Elizabeth II. So, if you see The Phantom of the Opera at His Majesty’s Theatre on Coronation weekend, you’ll be part of royal history — and enjoy a West End musical favourite. Plus, what better way to celebrate such a grand occasion than with a masquerade ball?
Book The Phantom of the Opera tickets on London Theatre.
Granted, this particular king doesn’t come across all that well, but Henry VIII is still a key part of royal history, as I’m sure our current monarch would agree. Six might also suit those of us who feel slightly ambivalent about the Coronation — it keeps that history alive, while questioning some of the dodgier aspects of it, and asks how we should tell our national stories and whose voices should be heard.
Or you can have a brilliant night out at Six, a perfect hybrid of pop concerts and musicals. You’d need a heart of stone not to get in the party spirit at Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow’s diva-tastic show as you get down with these incredible queens. Might Camilla give us her best Beyoncé at the Coronation Concert? Don’t say “No Way”…
Book Six tickets on London Theatre.
Six isn’t the only West End musical to give you a taste of what it’s like to be queen — the good and the bad. In fact, it’s partly the pressure of her coronation (majestically evoked in the production’s beautiful design and staging) that leads to Elsa losing control of her icy powers, as she passionately articulates in her new song “Dangerous to Dream.” At least Charles won’t have to worry about accidentally freezing his sceptre.
The Disney tale also shows how tricky it can be to balance royal formality with a goofy personality, via well-meaning but accident-prone Princess Anna. A rebellious red-headed younger sibling… Hmm, might Prince Harry, who’s attending the Coronation without his wife Meghan, also wonder if “Love Is an Open Door”?
Book Frozen the Musical tickets on London Theatre.
Just as the monarchy is a proud British institution, so too is Bake Off. In fact, you can combine the two by making the official Coronation Quiche, and whipping up a Victoria sponge for dessert. Or you can watch a group of talented bakers strive for perfection in this loving musical parody of the TV series.
As with the real Bake Off, you get to know a range of contestants, all eager to impress the judges — a thinly veiled Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. It’s the perfect patriotic outing for Coronation weekend: at once traditional and contemporary, silly and sincere, competitive and kind. Just make sure you’ve sorted your post-show snacks — you’ll work up an appetite.
Book The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets on London Theatre.
“I just can’t wait to be king!” sings lion cub Simba in the classic Disney movie-turned-hit stage musical. A sentiment that long-standing royal heir Charles could presumably relate to. But Simba must learn several life lessons before he’s truly ready to lead — an element that Julie Taylor’s gorgeous, award-winning production takes seriously.
Of course, there’s also plenty of fun to be had here, not least via Elton John and Tim Rice’s catchy songs, from “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and the show’s jaw-dropping puppetry. It’s the perfect family theatre outing for the Bank Holiday weekend.
Book The Lion King tickets on London Theatre.
Now, I’m definitely not hoping that anything goes wrong at the Coronation itself — but we Brits do rather enjoy chuckling at the odd and unexpected moments during a formal occasion. Think Prince Louis firmly covering his ears during the Platinum Jubilee flypast on the royal balcony, something which might happen again this year as the family congregates for another flypast.
Or perhaps you want a release from all that solemnity during the Bank Holiday weekend – in which case, head straight for Mischief Theatre’s side-splitting farce, which sees an amateur theatre company attempting to stage a murder mystery. Everything goes wrong in the most perfectly hilarious way in this enduring West End comedy.
Book The Play That Goes Wrong tickets on London Theatre.
Photo credit: Six (Photo by Pamela Raith)
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