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‘Whole thing is ridiculous’: Adam Hills aghast at his coronation invitation

Flabbergasted comedian Adam Hills has let his feelings show as he prepares to join 2000 dignitaries, royals and celebrities at Saturday’s coronation.

Hills, who hosts The Last Leg on British TV and is also based in Melbourne for part of the year, is part of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s hand-picked Australian delegation for the glittering event at Westminster Abbey.

The 52-year-old TV presenter and disability campaigner joined the Australian contingent and Mr Albanese at Australia House in London on Thursday (local time). Hills, who has spent a decade living between Australia and Britain, and last year received an MBE for his services to Paralympic sport and disability awareness – couldn’t hide his disbelief at the invitation.

“This is ridiculous! This whole thing is ridiculous! I know I’m supposed to be, I’m very proud to represent Australia, [but] what? Westminster Abbey for a coronation, with Nick Cave and the royal family and Emmanuel Macron and Jill Biden,” he said.

“This is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Veteran rocker Cave is also among the group, along with Matildas captain Sam Kerr, soprano Yvonne Kenny, and Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Daniel Keighran. (See the full list here.)

Governor-General David Hurley and state governors are also attendees.

Elsewhere, Mr Albanese urged Australians to put aside debates on constitutional arrangements ahead of the King and Queen Consort’s coronation.

Mr Albanese met the King’s oldest son, Prince William, at Kensington Palace on Thursday before addressing the Australians invited to Saturday’s ceremony.

“You are representing Australia at what is an incredible event of historic significance,” he said.

A self-described “lifelong republican”, Mr Albanese said Australians did not expect him to attend the coronation to cause controversy and he would continue to follow protocol.

“I want to see an Australian as Australia’s head of state … I haven’t changed my position on that, but we have to respect the institutions which are there,” he told ABC News.

Advocacy group Real Republic Australia said Mr Albanese had taken a sensible approach to the coronation.

“Our current constitution means King Charles III is our head of state and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging and respecting that constitutional fact while advocating for change through the lawful, constitutional, and democratic processes available to us,” chair David Muir said.

Mr Muir said the republic debate should not be about attacking the royal family or denigrating its current role in the constitution.

“We need to engage with Australians and inform them of the reasons we should change the constitution to become a republic and a truly independent nation on the world stage,” he said.

Mr Albanese said regardless of what Australians thought of the constitutional arrangements, there was “enormous respect” for the royal family.

“One of the things that I certainly admire about King Charles and the Prince of Wales who is continuing that tradition, is their concern about the future,” he said in his speech.

“Their concern and outspoken views about climate change, about the need to protect our planet, about the urban environment, about a whole range of issues, including respect for Indigenous Australians, which is why the palace’s request – which was well received by a government such as mine – was so heartwarming.”

Mr Albanese told Prince William that he and other members of the royal family were welcome to visit Australia at a time of their choosing.

Coronation excitement builds

William pulls a pint

Earlier on Thursday, the Prince and his wife Catherine took their first trip on the Elizabeth Line of London’s Underground, named after William’s late grandmother Queen Elizabeth.

Mr Albanese said the Queen had been “a constant, reassuring presence in our lives … and when she passed away, there was a great deal of mourning for someone who we had affection for, but also incredible respect”.

He said the royal family had been born into public life and served their nation and the Commonwealth with commitment.

“Queen Elizabeth served for 70 years, a remarkable period of service and diligence and duty,” he said.

“Saturday will be the formal recognition of the fact that we have a new head of state under our system, so it will be a historic moment.”

King and Queen's special message for Tube commuters

Source: Twitter/Royal Family

The Prince and Princess of Wales took the Tube to a visit at a pub in  London’s bustling Soho entertainment district.

They spoke to a gathered crowd of hundreds at the historic Dog and Duck pub, where William went behind the bar and poured a pint of Kingmaker, a pale ale brewed to celebrate the coronation.

William joked he would have to watch how much he drank and “get back into work mode”.

Kate told well-wishers her eldest child, Prince George, was “excited” about the coronation.

The nine-year-old royal, who is second in line to the throne after his father, is expected to carry the King’s robes on Saturday as one of the monarch’s four pages of honour.

George and his younger siblings Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis attended a rehearsal for the ceremony alongside other members of the royal family on Wednesday.

-with AAP

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