NHS staff had the opportunity to be part of history during the recent celebrations for the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
During the procession which took place on May 6 2023, 200 NHS staff had access to seats in recognition of the dedication, service and impact of hundreds of thousands of NHS staff and volunteers over its 75-year history – with a special grandstand set up near Buckingham Palace giving them a unique view of Their Majesties The King and Queen Consort leaving for Westminster Abbey, and returning in the Gold State Coach after officially being crowned.
More than 20,000 NHS workers entered the ballot for places at the procession and concert over the weekend of celebrations, with entries numbered and chosen at random.
One of those 20,000 workers was Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Clinical Research Facility (CRF) Nurse Associate Trainee Deanna Clare who was notified by email invitation complete with the royal insignia 2 weeks before the ceremony that she had been selected for a “Golden Ticket”.
A delighted Deanna provided a fantastic overview of her experience on the day:
“I chose my 18-year-old son Alfie a dental nurse student, to accompany me to the royal event. We caught an early morning train to Victoria station on the day, the atmosphere in London was electric and very patriotic with flags waving everywhere! We were greeted and escorted into the grandstand like VIP’s!
It was amazing to see elderly soldiers in their uniforms with feathers in their berets, Chelsea pensioners in their bright red coats; it was an incredibly special moment. We watched the Balcony being prepared for the royal wave and the flag lift on top of Buckingham Palace.
The procession left Buckingham palace the crowd cheering and waving, we got our first sighting at the new King. The soldiers were perfectly in line, the horses misbehaving and biting each other! We listened to the crowning ceremony from within Westminster Abbey over loudspeakers and joyfully shouted “God save the King” at the end.
We watched the returning procession which was magnificent to see. The marching band of soldiers, the royal carriages, an amazing sight to witness, the King waving directly at our stand.
By the end of the day, we were soaking wet, but immensely proud to have been selected to represent our NHS, to have been included in such a momentous occasion and be part of such a magical once in a lifetime experience, all with my son beside me.”
We are delighted that Deanna shared her experience of being part of history with us.