UK PM Sunak, First Lady Akshata Murty host Coronation Big Lunch at Downing Street
Soon after he made history as Britain’s first Hindu Prime Minister to read from the biblical book at the Coronation ceremony of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London, Rishi Sunak and Indian First Lady Akshata Murty hosted a Coronation Big Lunch to celebrate the crowning of the monarch. The couple also marched as part of a Commonwealth Realms procession as the flag of the United Kingdom was trooped into the Abbey (pictured).
Sunak said: “Come rain or shine, thousands of friends and neighbours are coming together this weekend to put up the bunting, pour the tea and cut the cake at street parties and community events across the UK.
“I am proud to welcome Ukrainians forced to flee their homes and some incredible community heroes to Downing Street for our very own Coronation lunch to celebrate this historic moment. In England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – and across our Overseas Territories and the wider Commonwealth – people are marking this momentous occasion in the spirit of unity and hope for the future,” he said.
The event was one of an estimated 50,000 Big Lunches or street parties organised up and down the United Kingdom to celebrate the Coronation. Downing Street was adorned with bunting featuring the official Coronation emblem and the Union Flag. Crockery will be donated by Emma Bridgewater – the award-winning ceramics company based in Stoke-on-Trent – including a limited-edition King Charles III teapot.
Among the invitees was British Sikh entrepreneur Navjot Singh Sawhney, who won the UK PM’s Points of Light Award earlier this year for his eco-friendly hand-cranked Washing Machine Project, which is benefitting over 1,000 families without access to an electric machine in underdeveloped countries or refugee camps. Several other recipients of the Points of Light Award – volunteers that have made an outstanding contribution to their community – were also invited to attend the event.
Attendees enjoyed food sourced from all parts of the UK, including Loch Duart salmon from Sutherland in North West Scotland, soda farl from Northern Ireland, beef from Gloucestershire in South West England and ice cream has been sourced from Chilly Cow, a company based in Ruthin, Wales.
Ukrainians fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war and their UK-based sponsors also joined the event. They include Olga Breslavska who travelled to the UK as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and is currently studying an intensive English course. Caroline Quill – a Homes for Ukraine sponsor – has been instrumental in matching 250 families across East Sussex and Kent and will also join the lunch. Young people from organisations such as UK Youth and the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs have also been invited to mark the occasion.
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