Long live the King!

Coronation fever crowned by cardies’ fabulous window displays


There’s been a right royal knees-up already in Wiltshire where the Highworth Emporium crowned the May Day celebrations with a fabulous balloon structure commemorating King Charles III.

And the event on Saturday, 29 April, kick-started this week’s proceedings in the lead-up to the new monarch’s big day, with Coronation fever taking hold once greetings retailers had got through Mother’s Day and Easter.

With demand ramping up in the run-up to the historic occasion at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May, here’s a round-up of wonderful windows and feedback from around the industry…

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Above & top: Highworth Emporium co-owner Aga Marsden and her team looked the part after creating a balloon crown for the village’s May Day celebrations – and Swindon Stilt Walkers made a fantastic royal guard.

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Above: At Stationery Supplies in Marple there was some quick work on Sunday, 30 April, to turn the window around ready for the coronation – and owner Sarah Laker has limited supplies of this special Paper Salad card.

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Above: The Sun has been shining on Kayleigh and Sinan Hisim’s coronation efforts as their Milford Cards & Gifts shop been featured in the national newspaper’s coverage of the big event and how people started to celebrate.

Snapper Chris Balcombe was commissioned by The Sun to find a shop for the feature, which ran in the 20 April issue of the paper, and he said: “I’d noticed the magnificent amount and variety of coronation stock their shop had after seeing photos she’d taken and posted on Facebook.

“The Sun were over the moon with the pictures, which had to be organised and shot within a few hours of the picture desk ringing me. The family was only too happy to help and were fantastic to work with. Their business deserves every success.”

Kayleigh – pictured with Sinan and sons Arif, 10, and Yusuf, six (picture credit: www.chrisbalcombe.com) – added: “It’s been really good, we were featured in The Sun and we’re hoping to be featured in our local paper too so that really helps with the unexpected advertising – and it’s free!

“We got in £1,500 worth of stock and the way it’s going we’ll sell out. It’s definitely the bunting that’s the most popular, I have bought a lot and I think it will sell out so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get some more in quickly.”

Coronation pic 5Above: Present Days, Warwick; House Of Cards, Birchington; and Morleys, Bexleyheath.

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Above: Wendy Jones-Blackett has sent an exclusive design to the King to mark his coronation, keeping up the tradition the publisher began with his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Wendy explained: “We’ve only made one of these cards as they’re not for sale, this is an exclusive design which we’ve sent off to Buckingham Palace!

“We’ve sent cards for the Diamond and Platinum Jubilees and also for royal weddings, PG editor Jakki Brown did mention years ago that she’d gone to see a display of Diamond Jubilee cards at the Sandringham and spotted ours in there!

“Whether you’re going full quiche-and-bunting or just looking forward to an extra day off, it’s a momentous day for the nation and, as a beneficiary of the Prince’s Trust, we wish King Charles and Queen Camilla all the best for the big day.”

Coronation pic 21Above: After Hannah Dale’s memorial artwork for Queen Elizabeth II went viral last year, the artist behind Wrendale Designs was happy to be inspired by the new King’s coronation.

“It was a real challenge to decide exactly how to approach this,” Hannah said. “I didn’t want to go down the route of reproducing the usual iconic royal imagery as I felt this wouldn’t be unique enough. I also felt the piece had to feature an animal of some description in order to be true to our brand.

“I decided to try to paint something subtle and reflective that attempted to capture his charm and character. I researched extra details such as his favourite flower being a delphinium and I knew King Charles was fond of the Jack Russell dog breed – he and Camilla have two rescue terriers, Beth and Bluebell – and this was the final piece of the puzzle.

“We’ve never attempted to create a commemorative gift collection before but the response we had to the artwork I painted in memory of the Queen was so overwhelming we felt it was something our customers would appreciate.”

Once Hannah was happy with the piece, the Wrendale team got to work to complete the collection of prints, mug, tea, tea towel, shopping pad, and cross stitch kit – most of which have already sold out.

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Above: Sean Austin, owner, Austin & Co Malvern: “As soon as our coronation-themed window went in, it seemed to wake people up to the fact the coronation was imminent. Lots of admiration from passers-by for its simplicity but also getting the message out.

“It certainly has driven sales of our only two coronation-themed lines – tableware and bunting from Talking Tables and, the star of the show, the Coronation Chicken soft toy from Best Years! Not on the same scale yet as the Platinum Jubilee last year but there was a late surge then when customers were scouring the town for bunting.

“If it’s not to be for the coronation, the bunting will be re-marketed for Eurovision parties the following week!”

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Above: Celebrations, Leominster; &Quirky, Berkhamsted; and House of Cards, Penkridge

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Above: Stephen McHale, co-owner, Bentleys & Maddison, Birmingham, Solihull, Harborne & Stourport: “We’ve all been looking forward to the coronation, as a workforce we are very patriotic. We’re wearing either Union Jack waistcoats or aprons as our uniform in the run up to the King’s coronation.

“Along with the usual bunting that’s available we have been selling high-quality stitched flags, cushions, handbags, door stops, tea cosies, draught excluders, mugs, key rings, pens, rugs, oven gloves and much more.

“ It’s the Bentleys 70th anniversary this year and we’ll have a window display but we’ll do this after the coronation, being a patriotic business that always flies the Union Jack on the front of the store.

“A lot of coronation product was bought back in September last year but it had all sold through before Christmas so we were more than happy to reorder. The sales have been predictably strong and are rising by the day. We’re happy to be promoting and selling goods that are patriotic and celebrate this great country – long live the King!!”

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Above: Donna Stocks, owner, The Beverley Card Company, Beverley: “I’ve had stock of Union Jack partyware since March. The King Charles bunting sold out weeks ago and was only £2! I am hoping to re-stock for the last-minute rush. Paper plates, napkins, flags, streamers and balloons have all literally flown out.

“The demand is not nearly as high as it was for the Queen’s jubilee but it’s certainly boosted sales on the rainy days we’ve experienced recently. My King Charles mug sets have all sold out and I only have a couple of single mugs left. Overall if the forecast is promising, I think people will be holding last-minute garden parties.”

Coronation pic 12Above: Jo Barber, owner, No14 Ampthill: “After the success of the jubilee, it was difficult to predict whether the coronation would have the same hype and excitement, but the excitement’s definitely building. What started slow, soon gathered pace and has been a great revenue injection into what would have been a quieter month.

“Having an additional bank holiday in May isn’t ideal, but will hopefully mean people are in a good mood, off work and looking to spend. We’ll be open all coronation weekend and hope there’s not too much of an impact on Saturday trading, it’s a rare event!

“Our decorations and table accessories have been super popular and restocked and our children’s books, Little People Big Dreams: King Charles and Paddington At The Palace sold out as soon as they arrived, thankfully we’ve just had a restock of those too. And one of our super-talented customers has written a beautiful book too, Angus and Nellie And The King’s Coronation.

“Online has been busy for coronation memorabilia too, we’ve been posting all over the UK, so that little lockdown project of building a website now employs one full-time person and continues to be a great revenue stream. I think I got my order quantities about right, any accessories left over will do for Eurovision parties the following week!”

Coronation pic 13Above: Kaye Thurgood, owner, Sincerely Yours, Shenfield & Hornchurch: “Our themed windows are attracting a lot of attention locally but in-store customers aren’t really engaging. We’ve sold bunting, flags, etc, and our coronation books for children are selling particularly well.

“Sad to say, it’s not particularly buzzing yet! Hopefully that will change as we go into the final week. Maybe our expectations were too high after the amazing jubilee set a precedent – after all, we’ve never experienced a coronation.”

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Above: Sally Matson, owner, Red Card, Petworth: “Our coronation bestseller is Anzu Cards’ Royal Crown, it’s handmade and decorated with sparkly Swarovski crystals. They also have a number of other crown cards which we’ve already placed reorders on.”

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Above: Libby Holden, owner, Lovely Libby’s, Rayleigh: “We’ve taken great pride in joining in one of the country’s most monumental occasions, it’s wonderful to see so many independent retailers embracing the celebrations and just shows how High Streets really are the heart of the community.

“Our coronation range from Sifcon has been particularly popular, especially the Union Jack aprons which we’ve been wearing in the shop to really get into the spirit.”

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Above: Cornucopia, Worcester.

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Above: Jon May, owner, Mooch Gifts & Home, Stourport-On-Severn & Bewdley: “The coronation has provided a much-needed sales boost following Easter with Sophie Allport’s range of mugs, trays and tea towels proving very popular along with party essentials from Talking Tables, in particular the royal carriage cake & treat stand.”

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Above: Greg Rose, co-owner, Maybugs, Bexhill-On-Sea, Eastbourne & Hailsham: “Coronation product is so hot at the moment; we simply haven’t bought enough! The gorgeous range from Wrendale Designs is almost a complete sell-out already, with the mug having sold out online before we’d even got the stock in, the stock for the stores never even touched the floor!

“We also have a great collection of memorabilia giftware from Widdop & Co with mugs, coasters, tins and tea towels, all of which is flying out the door.

“We really underestimated how popular coronation product would be – it seems everyone wants to have something as a keepsake. We’re expecting bunting sales to kick off now that town centres have started to be decorated, having learned our lesson from the jubilee we’ve stocked up massively.”

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Above: Pete Whiteman, co-owner, Dzodzo, Woodbridge: “At Amore and Dzodzo the bunting is up and it’s all hands to the crown. The public are still very interested in royal events and business is brisk.

“The stand-out items have been the mug and tea towels from Wrendale, which are all sold out – beautiful imagery as always. Also, the coordinated ranges from both Elgate and Lesser & Pavey. Roll on 6 May for a day of history, quiche, cakes and fizz!”

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At Cardies in Stevenage, owner Jo Sorrell and her team of canine meeters and greeters The Ponks have been busy making bunting and upcycling donated sweet tubs to decorate the railings outside the store.

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