3 May 2023

Griffith's King Charles crowning service to feature Coronation Chicken Curry

| Oliver Jacques
Start the conversation
priest hanging up British flags

Cathedral curate Fr Frederik Le Mesurier prepares for the coronation celebration. Photo: Supplied.

Griffith’s St Alban’s Anglican Cathedral will hold a special service and supper at 6 o’clock on Sunday (7 May) to mark the coronation of King Charles III, which takes place in the UK a day earlier.

The lavish Buckingham Palace ceremony marks the crowning of Charles III as the official head of state of both Great Britain and Australia, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

READ ALSO The life of a female priest in the Riverina

Australia’s youngest Anglican dean, 41-year-0ld Father Thomas Leslie, will preside over the service. As an extra touch, he’ll be cooking his own version of Coronation Chicken – the 1953 Queen’s crowning signature dish – which will be shared with patrons after the Mass.

“The idea of having a signature dish is to give a focal point to the celebrations that will inevitably happen,” Fr Thomas said. “It gives the event a communal feel.”

priest holding Queen's portrait

Father Thomas was also the celebrant for the Mass marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

In 1953, the Queen chose a dish known as Poulet Reine Elizabeth, a chicken dish made from an Indian-inspired creamy curry sauce.

“It was a recipe that uses curry powder and mango chutney,” Fr Thomas said.

”It would’ve been very exotic at the time of 1953. I’ll be cooking for a lot of people, but thankfully we have a big kitchen. I’ll be making it the day before in batches.”

King Charles has controversially chosen a Coronation Quiche of spinach, broad beans and tarragon as his signature dish, a decision that was ridiculed on social media for being insensitive with the UK experiencing a chronic egg shortage and a cost-of-living crisis. One media outlet also suggested it was too feminine and that men would be embarrassed to eat it.

Fr Thomas says he hopes a Griffith version of the Coronation Quiche will be made for Sunday’s local event, without controversy.

“We can understand why there are conversations in England, but we don’t have problems with eggs here.”

Chicken curry and rice

Fr Thomas will be making Coronation Chicken Curry himself. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The service itself will follow the ancient pattern of Evensong – the sung evening prayers offered in many Anglican cathedrals around the world. A pattern of songs, readings and prayers will be led by a Solomon Islands choir, a local choir and several ”ring-ins” from St Peter’s Church in Leeton, including organist Frances Tsoukalidis and trumpeter Ian Bull.

READ ALSO First Nations couple get married in miraculously refurbished century-old church building

Choir director Robyn Galloway has ensured that music chosen for the occasion involves pieces used at other royal events of the 20th century, including the 1953 coronation.

Leeton’s Fr Robert Murphy, the Archdeacon of Riverina and a former history teacher with an expansive knowledge of the royal family, will give the sermon.

Fr Thomas said: “Cathedrals are often witnesses to unique events in the life of their cities, as venues for civic celebrations, art exhibitions, concerts, or cultural events, as well as spaces for religious services.

”And a service to give thanks for the coronation of a king is about as unique as it gets for this cathedral, particularly when we are more than 16,700km away from the coronation! My hope is that, since this is Griffith’s cathedral, everyone knows they are welcome to join us for this wonderful occasion.”

Griffith Mayor Doug Curran will attend the service, as will several other Griffith councillors.

The Mass will be followed by a royal supper in the parish hall, where Fr Thomas’s Coronation Chicken Curry will be served along with a cake made in the shape of a crown. People of all faiths are welcome to attend both the service and the supper.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.