Coronation of King Charles III: Mumbai Dabbawalas, Sonam Kapoor, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar & Indian-origin chefs to attend ceremony

The coronation ceremony of King Charles III will be a star-studded affair. The new king will be crowned alongside his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, in a religious service at Westminster Abbey.The coronation will be marked by a series of grand events over a celebratory long weekend in the UK between May 6 and May 8, including much pomp and pageantry and street parties. Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit London to experience the historic moment.

More than 2,200 people, including members of the royal family, have been invited for the three-day jamboree. The high-profile guest list will include international representatives from 203 countries, approximately 100 heads of state, charity champions, and religious community members, among others, according to the Buckingham Palace.

A number of renowned Indians have been invited to attend the celebrations. Here’s a look:

Jagdeep Dhankhar
President Droupadi Murmu will give the coronation a miss during the weekend. To build India and Britain’s historic relationship further, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar will represent the Indian government and attend the coronation in the UK.

It is not known if Dhankhar will travel alone or has been asked to get a plus one to the grand event. It is left to be seen if Dhankhar’s wife Sudesh will join him on Saturday.

In 2022, Murmu visited London on September 17-19 to offer her condolences to the late Queen Elizabeth II and attend the State Funeral.

The last coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was attended by the then-PM Jawaharlal Nehru – almost seven decades ago in 1953.

Sonam Kapoor
Bollywood’s well-known fashionista Sonam Kapoor Ahuja will also mark her attendance at the coronation on Saturday. She will join the likes of Hollywood star Tom Cruise, adventurer Bear Grylls, cartoon character Winnie the Pooh and singer Tom Jones, among others, to give a spoken word performance.

According to the entertainment website Variety, said that the actress will be a part of a series of pre-recorded video tapes where she will reveal one of the “little-known facts about the new king” at the coronation.

It is unclear what her performance will be excatly about, but it is expected to be something about the royal family. As fans eagerly wait for a confirmation from the actress, it remains to be seen if her businessman-husband Anand Ahuja – who is a British citizen – will join her.

The couple have a beautiful home in London’s Notting Hill.

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy
The UK’s India-origin Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and First Lady Akshata Murthy will attend the coronation during the weekend.

If The Daily Mail report is to be believed, Sunak is the only Cabinet member who was asked to get a plus one for the coronation.

While the UK PM has roots in India, his wife Murthy was born and brought up in the country. The UK First Lady is the daughter of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy and author-philanthropist Sudha Murty.

Mumbai Dabbawalas
It is believed that the two Mumbai dabbawalas, who will represent the world-renowned lunchbox delivery system of the metropolitan city, will witness King Charles III’s much-awaited coronation during the weekend.

The ANI report said that the British Consulate and the British Embassy (in India) sent an exclusive invitation to the dabbawalas. To honour the new king of the UK, the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai bought a thoughtful gift – ‘Puneri Pagadi’ (Pune-style turban) and a shawl made by the Warkari community – on Tuesday.

“Mumbai Dabbawalas have had good relations with British royalty. Two dabbawalas were invited to his wedding. It was an honour for us. He is about to become the King. So, we want to present King Charles with Puneri Pagadi and a shawl of the Warkari community,” Mumbai dabbawalas Spokesperson Vishnu Kaldoke was quoted as saying to ANI.

Charles visited the Dabbawalas in in November 2003, during his India tour. They were also invited to Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’s wedding in London on April 9, 2005.

Manju Malhi
Indian-origin chef Manju Malhi, who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) by the late queen for services to the community in London during Covid, is one of the 850 BEM recipients who has been invited to the coronation.

British-born Malhi, who works with a senior citizens charity in the UK, grew up in north-west London and specialises in Anglo-Indian cuisine. She spent several years of her childhood in India, where she explored and experienced the vast and varied cuisines of the country of her heritage.

Sourabh Phadke
Pune-born architect and teacher Sourabh Phadke, who has been working with King Charles’s charity, will also be part of the congregation during the weekend.

The 37-year-old is a graduate of both The Prince’s Foundation’s Building Craft Programme and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. He was part of the cohort of students who completed the “live build” of the summerhouse at the heart of Hillsborough Castle’s walled garden in 2018-19.

“Before arriving to study at Dumfries House, Sourabh led a nomadic existence, moving from one community to another to lead education in science and social studies and using his architecture degree and skills in earth building to help communities plan and build housing and school facilities,” the Buckingham Palace statement read.

India-born Gulfsha, who was awarded The Prince’s Trust Global Award in 2022 for participating Get Into programme in India, will also attend the coronation service on May 6.

Delivered by The Prince’s Trust International partner Magic Bus India Foundation, Gulfsha completed the Get Into programme after she heard about it at college.

“Learning via an online environment, Gulfsha honed a range of workplace skills and successfully interviewed for her first-ever job. She now works for a consultancy firm, providing price estimates for construction projects,” the Palace said.

Jay Patel
Indo-Canadian Jay Patel, who completed the Prince’s Trust Canada’s Youth Employment programme in May 2022, is also among the invitees to the coronation ceremony.

The Palace describes him as “a resilient individual who overcame isolation and low confidence after moving from India to Canada in 2021.”

After completing the Prince’s Trust Canada’s Youth Employment programme in May 2022, Patel secured a job as a cook at Toronto’s iconic CN Tower – one of the city’s most famous landmarks. “Now on his way to becoming a chef, Jay is passionate about inspiring others to find the same kind of support network that helped him achieve success,” the Palance statement read.

The coronation service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Across the coronation weekend, there will be further opportunities for people to come together in celebration of the historic occasion.

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