6 May, 2023 @ 11:13
2 mins read

OUR MAN AT THE CORONATION: Olive Press staffer selected for duty at King Charles’s big day

King Charles III Coronation
Cordon Press

A MEMBER of the Olive Press family will be proudly taking part in the procession today for the coronation of King Charles III in London along with 99 other members of the Royal British Legion (RBL). 

“It’s a huge honour to be representing Spain and expats in Spain for the RBL,” said Matt Jones, 48, who is a sales executive covering Malaga, Valencia and Mallorca. “It’s a fantastic thing for the Olive Press to be here, to see how it all works.”

This weekend will see people across the UK and the Commonwealth come together to celebrate the coronation of both Charles and Queen Camilla. 

As part of those celebrations, the RBL will be providing a Guard of Honour of 100 Standard Bearers to line the procession route in Parliament Square. 

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Matt Jones ahead of Saturday’s procession at King Charles III’s coronation.

The RBL is the only non-military organisation to be taking part. 

Matt has been based in Spain for 13 years working for local media, and became a member of the RBL soon after arrived in the country. 

He was flown over to London on Tuesday, where he has been put up in the Thistle Hotel in Marble Arch. Since then, he has been deeply involved in the preparations for the procession. 

“I’ve literally spent four or five hours just putting 50 coats of polish on my shoes,” he said.

“It’s taken that long to get them to shine properly. It’s a frightening level of work. I’ve never done anything like this, we are total outsiders – everyone else is military.”

On Tuesday night, Matt and the rest of the RBL standard bearers – including one other expat from Spain, a woman based in Calpe – took part in a dress rehearsal that started at 9pm and went on until 5am. 

“Top secret”

“It was all top secret, where we were going to stand, where we were going to march, what we were going to do,” he explained. “I’ll be five feet, no less, from the king and all the other dignitaries when they go past.”

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Matt poses with a statue of Charles II in London.

The rehearsal, however, was not easy.

“It was a real killer, it was freezing cold and you can imagine what it was like for me living in Southern Spain! I was so cold I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“We’ve had rehearsals every day, at least three or four hours a day, marching round, learning what we’ve got to do,” he continued.

“I even had my hair cut for this! It’s the first time I’ve had my hair cut this short in years, but I needed to get the beret to work.”

It might sound like a lot of work on his appearance, but it’s necessary: “The gear that we are given has to be perfect,” he said.

“We get inspected and so it’s really quite different to anything I’ve ever done before.”

Matt has brought two suits with him, one for use in the rehearsals and another – ‘which I got from Marks & Spencers in La Cañada in Marbella’ – that he will be wearing ‘just for the special day’.

“I had no idea what to expect and so I took no chances. All in all it’s an incredible honour and I’m looking forward to the big day,” he said.

“I’m very proud and I know my mum and all my family will be very proud that I’m there on Saturday.”

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