British Embassy in Beirut celebrates coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla


The British Ambassador to Lebanon, Hamish Cowell CMG, hosted a celebration of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on Wednesday, May 10 at the Sursock Palace Gardens in Beirut.

The evening showcased the best of British and Lebanese talent.

Internationally-renowned Lebanese musician Guy Manoukian performed a blend of British and Lebanese music. The Royal Academy of Music’s Kyan String Quartet flew out from the UK especially for the occasion. And Lebanon-based British Artist Tom Young exhibited work about historic Anglo-Lebanon connections around the time of Lebanon’s Independence in 1943.

Guests were treated to classic British food and drink, including ‘Fish & Chips’ and ‘Coronation Chicken’, and traditional dishes from around the region cooked by ‘Soufra’, the kitchen founded by refugees.

The event was held in the presence of MP Fadi Alameh representing Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Minister of Environment Nasser Yassine, representing caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati. A wide range of dignitaries from the Government of Lebanon, the diplomatic corps, military officials, business leaders and media figures attended the event.

Addressing the guests, Ambassador Cowell, said: "I am delighted to welcome you here in the beautiful Sursock Palace to celebrate the coronation of His Majesty King Charles the Third. And, in my first year here, to celebrate the strong ties of friendship between the UK and Lebanon."

"The restoration of the Sursock Palace [after the port blast] is a symbol of Beirut’s renewal and how Lebanon can rebuild itself after terrible events. But Sursock is also a reminder that rebuilding from a catastrophe or a crisis is about more than just restoring the integrity of physical structures. It is also about restoring confidence in the integrity of state and public structures. That is why, like other international friends of Lebanon, the UK will continue to push for progress in the port investigation and for accountability and justice for all those affected," Cowell added.

"During his Coronation His Majesty The King promised ‘I come here not to be served, but to serve’. That commitment is particularly important in a country in a time of crisis, as Lebanon is. In my first year in Lebanon, I have been inspired by meeting those here dedicated to that same spirit of public service, including civil society groups working with the vulnerable, and public servants and security personnel working on a fraction of their salaries to keep their institutions running," the ambassador went on to say.

He added: "I am pleased that the UK has been able to help – from schools to security and from e-governance to the environment. But I think it is a legitimate question to ask why Lebanon, with its huge potential, with its extraordinary human capital which it exports across the world, with its legendary entrepreneurial spirit, should need that help? And why, three years on from the start of the economic collapse, Lebanon is still struggling to end it?"

Cowell also hoped that Lebanon’s leaders will "work urgently together in the public and national interest to resolve the economic and political crises."

"Like Lebanon’s many international friends, we stand ready to help. But it is first and foremost for Lebanon and its leaders to agree on the urgently-needed path to reform and renewal," he added

Guests were invited to make a donation to the ‘’Becky’s Button’’ campaign in memory of the British Embassy’s colleague Rebecca Dykes who was tragically killed in 2017. Becky’s Button is a safety alarm for women and girls, which is being distributed to some of the most vulnerable women in Lebanon. Food Blessed, a Lebanese NGO, collected leftover food and distributed it to families in need.

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