Queen Camilla Announces Exciting Coronation Initiative Following COVID-19 Diagnosis

The Queen Consort is searching for exemplary volunteers — and winners will be invited to an event surrounding King Charles III's coronation

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall decorates the Clarence House Christmas Tree virtually with children from Helen & Douglas House Hospice, on December 16, 2020 in London, England.
Queen Camilla. Photo: Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty

Queen Camilla has a new mission before the coronation on May 6.

The Queen Consort, 75, unveiled the Coronation Champion Awards on Monday. Queen Camilla launched the initiative in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service to recognize exemplary volunteers across the U.K., who will be invited to attend one of the official coronation celebrations this spring.

"I am delighted to be launching the Coronation Champions Awards with the Royal Voluntary Service, to shine a light on the herculean efforts of our nation's volunteers. Up and down the country, millions of unsung heroes are contributing to their local communities, giving generously of their time and their talents to enhance the lives of others," Queen Camilla said in a statement. "If you know a volunteer who is making a difference, please be sure to share their story. We would love to hear about them!"

The Coronation Champions Awards are now accepting nominations for volunteers dedicated to eight categories: supporting the elderly, supporting youth and children, crisis and welfare, community, sports, culture, and heritage, health and care, sustainability and the environment and animal welfare. Organizers plan to recognize those who have "overcome adversity or discovered creative ways to support their local communities," according to the website.

In the coming weeks, 500 nominees will be selected as "Coronation Champions" and receive royal recognition — a pin and certificate signed by Queen Camilla, plus an invite to an official festivity of the crowning ceremony weekend, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or Coronation Garden Party.

The program is open to those over the age of 14, with a special "Young Coronation Champions" category created to recognize the efforts of teens between the ages of 14 and 18. Nominations close on April 2, and one star is already voicing endorsement — Dame Judi Dench.

"The upcoming Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort will be a joyous moment in our nation's history," the Oscar winner, 88, said in a statement.

"The Coronation Champions Awards are not only a fitting tribute to Their Majesties' own public service, but they are also a superb opportunity to pause and show our appreciation for the people who are achieving marvelous things through volunteering," added Dench, who has been tapped as a Coronation Champions Awards supporter.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on November 22, 2022 in London, England. This is the first state visit hosted by the UK with King Charles III as monarch, and the first state visit here by a South African leader since 2010.
King Charles and Queen Camilla. Chris Jackson/Getty

The awards are the latest and greatest example of King Charles III and Queen Camilla using the coronation platform to elevate the efforts of volunteers across the U.K. Buckingham Palace previously announced that volunteering would be a key theme of the three-day coronation weekend, which kicks off with the official coronation ceremony of King Charles, 74, and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6.

The following day, citizens across the U.K. are encouraged to gather with neighbors for the Coronation Big Lunch. Originally conceived by the Eden Project, the event is intended to "boost community spirit, reduce loneliness and support charities and good causes."

The Coronation Concert will also be broadcast live from Windsor Castle on Sunday, May 7, where some lucky Coronation Champion Award winners will have the chance to see "global music icons and contemporary stars" perform alongside a world-class orchestra and dancers. The lineup has yet to be announced.

On Monday, May 8 people across the U.K. are invited to join the Big Help Out and volunteer in their local community to make a positive difference. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak designated the day as a bank holiday in November 2022.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, waves as they leave Dunfermline Abbey, after a visit to mark its 950th anniversary, and after attending a meeting at the City Chambers in Dunfermline where the King formally marked the conferral of city status on the former town on October 3, 2022 in Dunfermline, Scotland.
King Charles and Queen Camilla. Andrew Milligan - Pool/Getty

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Queen Camilla's latest initiative comes one week after Buckingham Palace announced that she tested positive for COVID-19. Courtiers subsequently canceled the Queen Consort's planned public engagements for the week.

"After suffering the symptoms of a cold, Her Majesty The Queen Consort has tested positive for the Covid virus," the palace said in a statement released on Feb. 13. "With regret, she has therefore cancelled all her public engagements for this week and sends her sincere apologies to those who had been due to attend them."

King Charles briefly commented on his wife's health while visiting Milton Keynes last Thursday. During a walkabout outside Church of Christ the Cornerstone, well-wisher Tazmin Farrington asked the King how Camilla, 75, was doing.

"She's getting better," the sovereign said, according to Hello! magazine.

King Charles III visits Milton Keynes; Camilla, Queen Consort, gives a speech as she visits the S.T.O.R.M Family Centre
Samir Hussein/WireImage; Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The news came nearly a year to the day that Queen Camilla's first COVID diagnosis was announced. On Feb. 14, 2022, a spokesman at Clarence House said, "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating. We continue to follow government guidelines."

The palace added at the time that Camilla was tripled-vaccinated.

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