Having so many reigning kings and queens is the result of King Charles’ decision to break a 900-year royal tradition that prevented crowned royals from attending the Coronation. Among the 2,000-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey will be representatives from nine European monarchies; the royal families of Bhutan, Jordan, Tonga and Thailand; the Māori king from New Zealand; the imperial house of Japan; as well as the former royal houses of Bulgaria, Romania and Greece – to name a few.
The reception at Buckingham Palace allows some of those who did not attend the service to still share in the historic moment of the Coronation of King Charles. Former Dutch queen Princess Beatrix, for example, will not be able to join the congregation at Westminster Abbey but Princess Catharina-Amalia will be with her tonight. Tomorrow, the Dutch royal family will be represented by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. Willem-Alexander, Máxima and Beatrix all attended the Queen’s funeral.
A similar approach will be taken by the Belgian royal family. Princess Elisabeth, the 21-year-old queen-to-be and Oxford University student, joined her father, King Philippe at tonight’s reception. Tomorrow, he will be with his wife, Queen Mathilde.