Bongbong Marcos becomes 1st PH president to attend UK coronation
WASHINGTON—President Marcos will become the first incumbent Philippine President to attend a coronation of a monarch of the United Kingdom when King Charles III is enthroned at Westminster Abbey in London today.
The last time the United Kingdom held a coronation was almost 70 years ago when Charles’ mother, Elizabeth II, who died on Sept. 8, was crowned on June 2, 1953.
At that time, then President Elpidio Quirino was busy campaigning against his popular defense secretary and eventual successor, Ramon Magsaysay.
Elizabeth succeeded her father, George VI, who was crowned on May 12, 1937, when the Philippines was still a commonwealth.
But for Marcos, who wasn’t even born when Elizabeth was crowned, his UK visit goes beyond the historicity of the place and moment.
“I will land [at] Gatwick Airport because I will look into its airport operations to see the ‘lessons learned’ and their best practices that we could apply in the Philippines,” the President told journalists before leaving the United States.
London Gatwick, 47 kilometers outside London, is the second busiest airport in the United Kingdom, after London Heathrow, and the eighth-busiest in Europe.
The President made the remark after an eight-hour power outage that resulted in the cancellation and delay of several flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on May 1.
Gatwick Airport is just a few kilometers from Worth School in West Sussex, where the President lived and studied in the 1970s.Meeting with UK PM
Aside from the airport visit, he is also set to meet with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the coronation.
“I believe [Sunak] would want to strengthen our [relations]. The UK’s economy is struggling so we might also talk about how to improve our trade cooperation,” the Chief Executive said.
“I’m sure he will also ask if they could hire more health-care workers from the Philippines because Filipino health-care workers really became more prominent because of the pandemic,” he said.
Other world leaders, he claimed, had also requested to sit down with him.
“It will all just be very casual, very informal,” he said. “But we should not belittle these kinds of meetings because sometimes the things you don’t expect to happen actually happen.”
Marcos, however, admitted that he, like the 2,800 others who are on the official guest list, was also excited to attend the coronation because he personally knew the British king even before he became President.
“I have known him even when he was still ‘Prince Charles,’” Marcos said.
“And since we could not come to the wake of Queen Elizabeth … it’s important for me to attend his coronation as the king of the United Kingdom,” he added.