MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY TO ATTEND ‘TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS’ CAROL SERVICE AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Friday 8th December 2023
Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family, will attend the ‘Together At Christmas’ carol service at Westminster Abbey on Friday 8th December.
Spearheaded by the Princess, and supported by the Royal Foundation, the service is a moment to bring people together at Christmas time and recognise those who have gone above and beyond to help others throughout the year. Linked to Her Royal Highness’ Shaping Us campaign, the service will showcase the hope of new life and why it is so important to build supportive, nurturing worlds around children and the adults in their lives.
Combining traditional and modern elements to encompass people of all faiths and none, the service will see the world-renowned Westminster Abbey choir perform some of the nation’s most beloved carols, alongside musical performances by guests including Jacob Collier, Freya Ridings and James Bay, and a special duet from Beverley Knight and Adam Lambert. Poignant readings will be delivered by speakers including the Prince of Wales, Micheal Ward, Emma Willis, Roman Kemp, and Jim Broadbent. A specially commissioned poem written by Joseph Coelho, the Children’s Laureate, will also be read by Leonie Elliott.
The event will be broadcast as part of ‘Royal Carols: Together At Christmas’, a special programme, airing at 7:45pm on ITV1 and ITV X on Christmas Eve. The broadcast will feature additional content including an introduction from the Princess of Wales and films which bring to life the importance of early childhood and celebrate the remarkable contribution people in our communities are making to support the very youngest members of our society during those crucial early years. These will include contributions from Rio and Kate Ferdinand, Ugo Monye, Andrea & Virginia Bocelli and Dame Sheila Hancock.
The service will see Westminster Abbey filled with sustainable, eco-friendly festive decorations, providing a beautiful Christmas backdrop, nodding to the theme of children and families. New features this year include a Christmas Post Box located outside the Abbey for children to send handmade Christmas cards and best wishes to other children who might be struggling this year.
In addition, guests will be treated to carols and Christmas songs upon arrival from the Action for Children Young Carers Aloud choir, made up of 12 young carers, the youngest of which is just 6 years old.
Guests attending the service have been nominated by Lord-Lieutenants across the nation, in addition to charities associated with members of the Royal Family. They will be joined by those working in the early years space which is a key focus area of the Princess of Wales’s work through the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. It will also consist of those who may have had a challenging year, including children and families, or those who might find the winter period difficult.
• Cards posted to the Christmas Post Box will be distributed to a number of children’s charities following the service including Evelina London, British Red Cross, Child Bereavement UK, and East Anglia Children’s Hospice.
• The Action for Children Young Carers Aloud choir was set up in 2017 and sees children and young people from Wales, aged six to 19, come together for a deeper purpose as every member is a young carer who helps look after a member of their family. The charity protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. The Princess of Wales has been patron since 2019.
• Running in tandem with the service at the abbey, twelve community carol services will be taking place around the UK across December to provide a moment for people to come together and celebrate community work during the festive season. Hosted by Lord Lieutenants, and supported by The Royal Foundation, these events will be tailored to their local communities whilst also including elements of the Westminster Abbey service. Guests will also receive a special foreword written by the Princess of Wales.
These will be bespoke to each area and will be taking place in:
• Leominster Priory, Leominster, Herefordshire, Thursday 7th December
• Paces School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Tuesday 5th December
• St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool, Co Durham, Friday 1st December
• Chapel of Clifton College, Bristol, Wednesday 13th December
• Uppingham Parish Church, Rutland, Saturday 2nd December
• Ortu Hassenbrooks Academy Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, Friday 8th December
• St Mary’s Church, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, Friday 8th December
• Cheshire Zoo (The Square at the Zoo events space), Chester, Cheshire, Wednesday 6th December
• Newport Cathedral, Wales, Wednesday 6th December
• St Columbs Cathedral, Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Monday 11th December
• Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Scotland, Friday 8th December
• St Deiniols Cathedral, Bangor, Wales, Wednesday 6th December
These services have been supported by Hobbycraft and Co-op through the provision of items to enhance guest experiences and help to create magical community events, including refreshments and decorations.