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Eurovision 2023 officially kicks off in Liverpool as Frankie Goes To Hollywood reunite for opening ceremony | Ents & Arts News

Frankie Goes To Hollywood has reunited 36 years after they split up, performing in front of a 30,000 strong crowd in Liverpool in a concert to mark the start of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The band, who formed in the city in 1980 and acrimoniously parted ways seven years later performed just one song.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood's singer Holly Johnson performing in 1985. Pic: AP
Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s singer Holly Johnson performing in 1985. Pic: AP

Despite being most famous for number 1 hits including Relax, Two Tribes and The Power of Love, they instead chose to perform Welcome to the Pleasuredome which made it to number 2 in the charts in 1985.

Holly Johnson, Brian Nash, Paul Rutherford, Mark O’Toole and Peter Gill have not performed together since an argument before their final gig at Wembley Arena in 1987 is reported to have led to a fight backstage.

Other Liverpool-linked bands to perform at The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome outside St George’s Hall included Atomic Kitten, The Lightning Seeds and funk band The Real Thing.

Former Eurovision winners Conchita Wurst, who represented Austria in 2014, and Ukraine’s Jamala, who competed in 2016, accompanied by the United Ukrainian Ballet, also performed.

Liverpool has been transformed with public artworks and installations for the international music competition, which the UK is hosting on behalf of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

The competition kicked off in earnest on Sunday, with the 37 competing acts walking a turquoise carpet ahead of the song contest next Saturday.

Electronic duo Tvorchi, made up of producer Andrii Hutsuliak and vocalist Jeffery Kenny, will compete for Ukraine with their rousing song Heart Of Steel.

Kaarija from Finland are second favourite to win
Kaarija from Finland are second favourite to win

Last year, Kalush Orchestra swept to victory on a wave of support from the voting public.

Mae Muller, 25, will compete for the UK with her dance track I Wrote A Song, featuring tongue-in-cheek lyrics about a cheating ex-boyfriend.

Last year British TikTok star Sam Rider took second place in the competition.

Wild Youth will represent Ireland with their song We Are One.

Loreen from Sweden, Kaarija from Finland and La Zarra from France are the competition favourites.

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Mae Muller met the King in April

The Eurovision Village, at the city’s Pier Head, opened on Friday with a performance from last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra.

On Saturday, Scissor Sisters’ singer Jake Shears performed there after a screening of the King’s coronation.

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A total of 37 countries are set to take part in Eurovision this year, with Ukraine automatically qualifying for the grand final as 2022 winners as well as the so-called “big five” – the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who each get a free pass because of their financial contributions to the event.

The first Eurovision semi-final will take place on Tuesday, followed by a second semi-final on Thursday, and the grand final on 13 May.

Coronation robes revealed along with changes to languages and faiths involved in ceremony | UK News

A lavish new Robe of Estate, decorated with bees, a beetle and flowers, has been made for the Queen Consort to wear after her coronation.

Only small glimpses have been released, ensuring the whole ensemble remains under wraps until the big day.

Announcements have also been made about traditional languages forming part of the coronation service, and multi-faith elements, too.

A Robe of Estate is a long velvet garment worn by a British monarch after their coronation.

Camilla’s is embroidered in goldwork threads, drawing on themes of nature and the environment.

It has been hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, of which the Queen Consort is patron.

Incorporating delphiniums, it pays tribute to one of the King’s favourite flowers. It is also Camilla’s birth month flower.

It references the late Queen, too, by including her favourite bloom, the lily of the valley.

Camilla will wear the grand garment, which also includes her cypher, for her departure from Westminster Abbey.

Work being carried out on King Charles's Robe of State
Work being carried out on King Charles’s Robe of State

King Charles will wear his grandfather George VI’s Robes of State and Estate from the coronation in 1937, which are almost 90 years old.

They have been conserved and prepared for the occasion.

A Robe of State is worn by a British monarch on state occasions, such as during the State Opening of Parliament.

Robes of State are crimson while Robes of Estate are purple.

Camilla’s Robe of State, to be worn on her arrival at Westminster Abbey, is the one made for the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

It has been conserved – with adjustments – and has a 5.5 metre train.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “For the first time, insects including bees and a beetle feature on the Coronation Robe, drawing on the themes of nature and the environment and reflecting their Majesties’ affection for the natural world.”

There are also national emblems – the rose, thistle and shamrock.

Read more from Sky News:
Stone of Destiny arrives in London for King’s coronation
The weird and wonderful products used to mark the crowning of Charles

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after their coronation in May 1937
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after their coronation in May 1937

Changes to languages and faiths involved

Organisers have also announced changes to the languages being used at the coronation ceremony, as well as the faiths involved.

The coronation congregation will hear three Celtic languages – Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic – alongside English.

As a young man, the King travelled to Aberystwyth University to learn the Welsh language from Welsh nationalist Dr Edward Millward.

That was prior to his investiture as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.

There will also be a multi-faith element, visible from the opening moments, with representatives taking part in a series of processions into Westminster Abbey that will culminate with the entrance of the King and Queen Consort.

Among them will be leaders and others from the Jewish, Sunni and Shia Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities.

When the regalia is presented to the King, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish peers will take part, handing over items which do not have Christian meaning or symbolism.

The following religious leaders will take part in a greeting to the King at the end of the coronation service:

• Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis, KBE (Judaism)

• The Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala (Buddhism)

• The Rt. Hon. The Lord Singh of Wimbledon, CBE (Sikhism)

• Radha Mohan das (Hinduism)

• Aliya Azam, MBE (Islam)

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Coronation flypast rehearsal

The leaders will tell the newly crowned King: “Your Majesty, as neighbours in faith, we acknowledge the value of public service.

“We unite with people of all faiths and beliefs in thanksgiving, and in service with you for the common good.”

The King will acknowledge the greeting.

King’s coronation: Farmer and former children’s TV presenter given major roles in ceremony | UK News

A farmer and former children’s television presenter will play major historical roles in the King’s coronation as Buckingham Palace announces more details about the Westminster Abbey ceremony.

Francis Dymoke will act as the King’s champion during the 6 May coronation – an ancient duty that involves carrying the Royal Standard.

The former accountant turned farmer is the 34th generation of his family to run the Scrivelsby country estate in Lincolnshire – with the King’s champion role unusually attached to the land rather than his family.

The role began in William the Conqueror’s reign and involved riding a horse into Westminster Hall during the coronation banquet and challenging anyone who denied the sovereign’s right to the throne to fight.

The Prince of Wales speaks with Baroness Floella Benjamin (centre) during the annual Commonwealth Day Reception hosted by the King and the Queen Consort at Buckingham Palace in London for the Commonwealth Secretary-General, High Commissioners, Foreign Affairs Ministers and other members of the Commonwealth community. Picture date: Monday March 13, 2023.
The Prince of Wales spoke to Baroness Floella Benjamin last month

Meanwhile, Floella Benjamin, who is now an author and peer, will carry King Charles’s sceptre – traditionally known as the Rod Of Equity And Mercy – which represents his spiritual role.

Baroness Benjamin, who used to present Play School, said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be part of the historic coronation ceremony.

“To be selected to carry the Sovereign’s Sceptre With Dove, which represents spirituality, equity and mercy, is for me very symbolic as it’s everything I stand for and sends out a clear message that diversity and inclusion is being embraced.”

More on King’s Coronation

Buckingham Palace has released details of the dukes, bishops, peers and retired generals who are set to take on ceremonial duties when the King and Queen Consort are crowned, from carrying regalia in a procession to presenting the items to the royal couple.

The order of procession into Westminster Abbey has also been revealed, with faith leaders and representatives going first followed by governors-general, prime ministers and flag bearers from each of the 15 realms where the King is head of state.

Read more:
The nine key figures in King Charles’s coronation ceremony
The meaning of the crowning ceremony explained

Some of these countries, including Belize and Jamaica, have previously indicated they will move to become a republic.

Ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty, the UK’s flag bearer will be Cadet Warrant Officer Elliott Tyson-Lee.

Rishi Sunak with his wife, Askhata Murty outside 10 Downing Street
Rishi Sunak with his wife, Akshata Murty

The King and Queen Consort’s procession will follow, led by the Marquess of Anglesey, the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Caledon and the Earl of Dundee, who will carry the Standards of the Quarterings of the Royal Arms and the Standard of the Principality of Wales.

Buckingham Palace said: “Those undertaking these historic roles in the service have been chosen to recognise, thank and represent the nation due to their significant service, and include representatives from orders of chivalry, the military and wider public life.”