Whether or not you believe the 21st century should still have monarchies, much of the world will be watching the coronation on May 6th of perhaps the most famous king alive today – Charles III. The event will take place in Westminster Abbey and will be attended by world leaders, celebrities, those who want to be world leaders or celebrities,those who pretend to be world leaders or celebrities, and a large number of other guests … including possibly a few ghosts. You can’t throw a stick or a coronation in London without hitting a few spirits, and the Abbey has some famous ancient ghosts who seem to have no place else to go, so they might be in attendance. Also, Charles III should probably be on the lookout for the presence of a few modern spirits with a personal connection to him. Let’s check out the possible ghostly guest list for the coronation of Charles III.
Founded in 960, Westminster Abbey has hosted coronations, weddings and funerals and is the burial place for at least 3300 people – both famous and infamous. One of the infamous kind who was buried there – and then not buried there – is John Bradshaw. Charles III might be wise to avoid Bradshaw’s ghost since this 17th century lord president of the high court of justice presided at the trial of King Charles I, which resulting in the beheading of the king. Charles lived in the Deanery at Westminster and later in a a small room in the triforium at the southwest end of the Abbey where his ghost is said to walk on every year on January 30th – the anniversary of the king’s execution. After he died on Halloween in 1659, John Bradshaw was buried in Henry VII’s chapel at Westminster Abbey … for a while. When Charles II was restored to the throne, he ordered that the bodies of Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw (and other regicides) to be exhumed from the Abbey, taken to the gallows at Tyburn and hung there. Bradshaw’s body had not been embalmed so this was indeed a gruesome event – culminating with the heads being displayed on spikes on Westminster Hall and the bodies buried beneath the gallows. That explains why his ghost is headless. Again, not a ghost Charles III wants to see at his coronation.
Another famous apparition of Westminster Abbey is the ghost of a soldier who appears at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior – a memorial to all soldiers who died during WWI. The unknown warrior is an unidentified soldier whose body was found on November 11, 1920 and given a royal funeral and burial at Westminster Abbey. Many witnesses who have been in the Abbey after visiting hours are over claim to have seen a ghostly soldier standing with head bowed next to the tomb before disappearing. Charles III is a veteran himself and the coronation won’t be at the tomb, so this ghost will probably stay hidden.
Another famous ghost of the Abbey is referred to as Father Benedictus. According to the legend, Father Benedictus was a 16th century priest or monk who was allegedly violently murdered in the Abbey during a botched robbery. His spirit is said to have stayed in the Abbey, possibly looking for his killer. Or perhaps he just likes it. Many witnesses claim to see a priestly spirit at around 5 or 6 PM just before visiting hours end. He is so realistic that many think he works there, which leads to the most famous ghost story surrounding Father Benedictus. It dates to 1900 when a group of tourists were given a tour by a man dressed in monks’ clothes who regaled them for over 20 minutes with tales of the Abbey. At the end of the tour, he was said to have slowly vanished into a solid wall. In 1932, two slow-moving American tourists claimed they were afraid they had been locked in the Abbey when a monk who introduced himself as “Benedictus” showed them to another exit. When they returned the next day to thank him, the staff said there was no such monk working there. There is no chance Charles III will get locked in the Abbey, so Father Benedictus will probably stay out of the way … unless an American dignitary wanders off and gets lost.
Those are the known ghosts believed to be residing at Westminster Abbey. However, ghosts have been known to visit the site for big occasions like these as well. The most recent one featured two names that might make appearances at Charles’s big show – his mum, Queen Elizabeth II, and his first wife, Princess Diana. Both were said by many to in the building on September 19, 2022 – of course, the queen was there to be buried, while a number of people believe Diana made her presence known in a very unusual way. That was during the funeral procession when the state hearse carried the queen’s coffin out of London. Many people listening to the coverage on ITV believe they suddenly heard a strange voice different from the announcers. They to hear a whisper say, “The death is irreversible. The fact that she’s trapped—”. Then the announced suddenly came back in. Some thought the princess was returning to make peace with her former mother-in-law. Could she show up again to make peace with Charles? How about with Queen Camilla? Or maybe she’ll chastise one of her sons. There were many who believed they saw Diana at the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Some psychics predicted she would appear as an orb or a butterfly, but many think that the fly buzzing Meghan during the long sermon was Princess Di. Trying to keep the bride awake? Reminding her to keep smiling? Meghan won’t be there … but don’t be surpsied if there aren’t a few Diana sightings.
Of course, the other spirit who could make a splash at this Abbey bash is the late queen herself. So far, the only person who has publicly claimed to have been visited by the queen’s ghost is Sarah Fergusen, the Duchess of York, ex-wife of Prince Andrew, and keeper of the late queen’s beloved Corgis, Sandy and Muick. She claims that the dogs often bark at nothing and she thinks they’re acknowledging that the queen is present. If Fergie is the queen’s channeler, that’s bad because the Duchess isn’t invited to the coronation. Ditto for the corgis. However, remembering the dignity that Queen Elizabeth II carried herself with, she may decide to let her oldest son have his moment in the sun and leave him alone. For now.
If you decide to watch the coronation, keep your eyes open for shadows in windows, orbs, bugs, monks, strange short judges and anyone else who looks like they don’t belong there. You may be witnessing a coronation ghost.