Close friend tells of the King’s love for Yorkshire

In 1953, the King’s mother Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in a ceremony replete with aristocracy.

Earls, Dukes, Countesses and Hons donned their finest to pay homage to the 26-year-old young Queen, with coronets and trimmed ermine robes a necessity.

Some 8000 people crowded into Westminster Abbey to witness the historic proceedings.

But nearly 70 years later, King Charles III is planning a very different sort of coronation, where charity representatives and civic heroes will take precedence over the landed gentry.

Ceremonial dress, including coronets and ermine robes is being actively discouraged, with a “toned down dress code” being favoured to fit the public mood during the cost-of-living crisis.

One peer who will be in attendance is Lord Halifax, who owns the Garrowby Estate, which is in the Yorkshire Wolds but has land across Yorkshire.

Lord Halifax has been a close friend of the King for more than half a century.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post earlier this week, he said: “Lady Halifax and I shall be attending the Coronation in Westminster Abbey on Saturday.

“In 1953 I watched the Coronation procession from a stand in the rain. My grandfather (then The Earl of Halifax) attended Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation.

“However, in 1999 the entitlement of most of the hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords was removed. On Saturday I believe my wife and I shall be attending as friends of both the King and Queen Camilla for over 50 years.

“Both the King and Queen Camilla much enjoy their visits to Yorkshire. The King first stayed at Garrowby in 1970 for the Gimcrack Dinner at York Racecourse.

“The King is a truly remarkable human being. A man with a strong sense of duty – down to earth, compassionate with a good sense of humour - he loves Yorkshire and Yorkshire loves him.”

After the coronation tomorrow Lord Halifax is due to attend a civic service of celebration at York Minster on Sunday.

Some of Yorkshire’s other key aristocrats, including the Earl of Harewood, David Lascelles, and Bolton Abbey owner Peregrine Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire - who served as a page to the Queen in 1953 - have remained tight-lipped as to whether they are recipients of the prized invitation, which was designed by heraldic artist Andrew Jamieson.

Lord and Lady Fitzalan-Howard, of Carlton Towers, have also not confirmed their attendance, but plans are afoot at the stately home near Selby to hold a lunch in the state rooms for members of the public to watch the service.

Lord Fitzalan-Howard’s brother is the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, who is tasked with the organisation of the Coronation.

The duke, whose family has had the responsibility of organising state occasions since 1483, said: “This is a proud moment in our national history.

“During the coronation, the King will swear before God and the nation to serve our country as head of state, upholding our laws and maintaining justice for all.

“But this is also a time to remind ourselves of the pride we have in our great country and our unwritten constitution, which has served us so well for over 1,000 years during our long history.

“The late Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned for 70 years and who dedicated her life to service, earned the admiration and respect of the world.

“Now we have the continuity of a new King who will follow in her footsteps, but do it in his own way with his wife and family carrying out their loyal service alongside His Majesty.

“It is a system which has constantly evolved over time, helping to secure the freedom we enjoy today.

“The coronation is an opportunity to bring our great nation, the realms and Commonwealth closer together, plugging into the power of the past, promoting our shared values to the wider world with all that we have to offer.”