Students perform for King Charles III and Queen Camilla during Newtownabbey visit

Over 150 schoolchildren from across Antrim and Newtownabbey performed for KIng Charles III and Queen Camilla during a visit to the borough this afternoon (Wednesday).

Their Majesties visited Hazelbank Park to officially open a coronation garden, designed by Diarmuid Gavin to commemorate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on May 6.

The royal couple were greeted at the Newtownabbey beauty spot by over 150 children from primary schools across the borough who performed Invocation, a special hymn commissioned by the council, written and composed by Dr Philip Hammond for the coronation in collaboration with the Ulster Orchestra strings section and Northern Ireland Opera.

Following the official opening of the gates to the coronation garden, the party embarked on their tour led by garden designer Diarmuid Gavin.

Current and retiring councillors at Hazelbank for the visit of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.Current and retiring councillors at Hazelbank for the visit of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
Current and retiring councillors at Hazelbank for the visit of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

The royal couple met the design and creative team behind the garden, as well as a number of the CAFRE students who assisted with the some of the planting.

Their Majesties saw first-hand a bespoke coronation robe appointed by the local authority and created by local textile artist Angela Turkington who was delighted to explain the design concept of the robe which had the support of 22 local primary schools.

They also got the chance to speak with some of the school children who took part in the Microgreen Wildflower Planting project.

King Charles and Queen Camilla were then treated to a musical performance of dancing topiary and spinning conical trees, before making their way to the viewing balcony, where they enjoyed magnificent views of the garden and Belfast Lough.

The King and Queen then spoke to representatives from local community groups who were instrumental with the Big Help Out and the delivery of coronation events. They also met recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary services and The King’s Award for Enterprise, as well as young people who have received The Duke of Edinburgh Bursary and members of The Forget Me Notes - Dementia Choir.

Their Majesties met Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s elected members who supported the extensive programme to commemorate both the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation.

To conclude their visit, the King and Queen cut a special coronation cake before they were presented with a painting of the Coronation Garden created by Antrim-based artist Sorrel Wills and the Mayoress presented The Queen with flowers.

The royal couple then made their way outside to speak with the crowds of well-wishers.

Speaking after the visit, the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ald Stephen Ross said: “It has been an honour and privilege to welcome His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen to the coronation garden.

"We are so very proud of the amazing coronation garden created to mark the momentous occasion of the first coronation in 70 years. Our greatest hope when embarking upon this project was that a visit by The King and Queen would one day be possible.”

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King Charles and Queen Camilla open coronation garden at Hazelbank Park in Newto...

The coronation garden will open to the public from 10am tomorrow (Thursday, May 25).