© Historic Royal Palaces

Schools across the UK have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the winners of the national Coronation Benches competition to be announced. Today, Historic Royal Palaces can reveal that fifteen winners have been selected from over 1,500 fantastic entries, to be developed with global public art producers Wild in Art and installed at the Tower of London during the Coronation celebration. Chair of GEM Caroline Marcus, who was invited to be one of the judges along with Alison Bowyer from Kids in Museums, and Catherine Ritman-Smith from Young V&A, shares her reflections about this brilliant project:

“It is wonderful to see young people given such an opportunity to contribute their voices to a significant moment in history, conveying their hopes for this new era at the Tower of London and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. The high quality of work submitted from children and young people across the UK made it a very difficult decision for the judges. I hope that when the winning schools visit this summer they feel incredibly proud to see their values represented at these famous landmarks.”

© Historic Royal Palaces

Children and young people from across the UK have designed their own illustrated Coronation benches, exploring their hopes for the future during the reign of His Majesty King Charles III. The benches have been designed in response to the use of the teaching resources that have been provided by the Historic Royal Palaces team to all schools, including those that didn’t enter the free competition. The resources, and the competition, are designed for young people at primary, secondary and SEND schools, and have been adapted appropriately for each group. This national competition to celebrate the Coronation has seen participating schoolchildren create designs inspired by their values and symbols that they wish to define the new era.

The winning designs share some insight into what matters to children and young people today, with themes ranging from unity and peace, to resilience and care for the environment. A number of designs reference the symbolic flowers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, animals and insects, and words that are important to young people, such as “community”, “friendship” and “courage”.


Do you have your own story to share? GEM is currently looking for contributors to the next edition of Case Studies, a biannual publication featuring the best practice examples in museum and heritage learning. The upcoming edition will be focus on Social Impact, follow the link to learn more and submit your proposal.