At the Printing Charity, we’re very proud of our Royal connections, which stem back to the very beginning. To mark the King’s coronation on 6 May, we’re taking a look at some of our associations with the Royal family both from the past and into the present, and how print makes celebrations such as this special.
A long history of Royal support
In 1865 our Royal Charter was signed by Queen Victoria, who became our first Royal Patron. Many members of the Royal Family have also occupied the office of President, beginning with His Royal Highness Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, in 1840.
King Charles’s own connection to the Charity began in 1977, when, as Prince of Wales, he was president.
He also had a personal opportunity to see the charity’s work for himself when he opened our newly refurbished retirement development, Southwood Court, on 27th June 2001.
A visit from the future King
This memorable day for the charity was brought to life by Bob and Margaret, Southwood Court home managers at the time of the Royal visit, and now Southwood residents. They have clear memories from the day itself, proudly recalling the work that went on behind the scenes in the run-up to the event, and the success of the day itself.
According to Margaret and Bob, the King was keen to meet as many residents and staff from the home as he could during his visit, chatting to many of them individually and enjoying a cup of tea with them in the residents’ lounge. He also asked to visit one of the apartments so he could see for himself the work that had been done during the refurbishment.
Rising Stars and Royalty
Ben Wareing, recipient of a Rising Star Award (previously known as Print Futures) in 2020, is a successful freelance photographer whose work focuses on the British Royal family, politics and breaking news.
Beginning as a photojournalist in his mid-teens, Ben has photographed almost every member of the Royal Family, and five Prime Ministers. Many of the photographs accompanying this article showcase some of the fantastic images he has taken of King Charles.
Photo credits: Benjamin Wareing
Ben credits the grant he secured as a result of his award win with enabling him to build a successful photojournalism career.
He explained: “I’d been using my student loans to purchase camera equipment, lenses, memory cards, and more. Without this necessary kit I knew that I’d be out of photography and into a more ‘mainstream’ job, just working to save up for the lenses needed.
“The award funding allowed me to purchase the lenses, and gave me a lifeline that saved my career, no doubt about it.”
The print industry’s role in coronation celebrations
For King Charles III’s Coronation, print skills are woven throughout the planning and pageantry.
The Coronation invitations by Andrew Jamieson merge old and new print technology, featuring recycled card, gold foil detailing and invitee names hand-written in bespoke inks by calligraphy experts from London Scribes Calligraphers.
Official commemorative merchandise includes a printed keepsake programme. Fabric printed flags and banners will bring the streets of the UK to life, lining the procession route and brightening up street parties and other events.
For those celebrating with family and friends, there is a toolkit on the coronation website filled with print at home materials including bunting templates, street party invitations, recipe cards and kids’ activity sheets for anyone to use and feel a part of history.
And, of course, newspapers and magazines play a crucial role, communicating and commemorating the historic occasion.