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matthew price at coronation 75
Gorleston vicar’s Coronation experience

Rev Matthew Price, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene Church in Gorleston, was invited to the King’s Coronation in London on 6 May, and he describes his amazing experience.

Matthew Price Coronation 500ATHe had been notified a few weeks earlier that he would be receiving an invitation to the Coronation as one of the recent recipients of the British Empire Medal. But when the ornate command arrived he was awe-struck. It was on thick, heavy card which was gold edged and the illustrations and script were beautiful. Even the post-lady exclaimed “I think it’s from the King!” as she delivered it. 
Matthew takes up the story:
“When the invitation arrived, I was completely blown away. But little did I know that it was the beginning of what would be an extraordinary few weeks in my life.
“The day itself started early with a good deal of excitement. I stayed in London the night before, so I was up at 5.30am, in central London before 7am, and queuing to go through security by 7.15am.
“When I got off my train at Vauxhall station to walk to the security I bumped into two other men in morning dress. We quickly established we were going to the same place and ended up spending the rest of morning together. It turned out one of my companions was a member of the House of Lords and the author of the book House of Cards which has been turned into both British and US television series.
“Once inside Westminster Abbey, at about 7.40am, there was a buzz of excitement. I found it hard to believe we had entered via the Great West Door where a few hours later the King and Queen would walk. Celebrities were mixed in with “normal” people and there was no seating plan – I ended up five seats along from Lionel Ritchie and just across from Ant and Dec!
“The music was extraordinary, especially with the wonderful acoustics in the Abbey. We were treated to almost two hours of performances as we waited for the arrival of the King and Queen. As 11am approached, dignitaries began to arrive and walk through the Abbey – foreign and commonwealth heads of state and government, members of foreign royal families, and then our own royal family.
“Then just before 11am we could see that a gold-roofed coach had arrived at the door of the Abbey. A hush of expectation descended which was broken by a trumpet fanfare, and then it all began. I felt a shiver go down my spine as the jewels were carried past in procession, followed first by the Queen, accompanied by our own Bishop of Norwich, and then the King, both in all their finery!  I couldn’t really believe how close I was - just three rows back from the aisle!
“During the service, what struck me most was the humanity of the King – at times he almost seemed vulnerable, especially as he prepared to be anointed, in the face of the extraordinary role and task he was being called to. There might have been pageantry and priceless jewels, but at the heart of the ceremony was a man pledging to serve us for the rest of his life, just as his mother had done before him.
“It was an extraordinary day which I will remember for a very long time – and that comes after the amazing media frenzy that whipped up around my invitation. When I posted a picture of my invitation on twitter it was viewed almost 400,000 times and ultimately led to me being interviewed live on CNN at their outside broadcast! All very surreal.
“But, just as I had received the BEM on behalf of the whole incredible team that volunteered out of our church during the pandemic, so I saw the invitation to the Coronation in the same way - I was representing our whole community at the Abbey, and it was a privilege to do so.”

Read our previous story about Rev Price’s Coronation invitation.
This story is based on an article on Network Yarmouth
The photos are courtesy of Rev Matthew Price.



TonyRothe150Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in East Norfolk?  

If so, e-mail tony.rothe@networknorwich.co.uk with details and, if possible a suitable picture. 

Tony Rothe, 16/05/2023

Tony Rothe
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