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Greene King Relic from Abandoned Coronation to be Auctioned for Charity

Bottles of a rare ‘Coronation Ale’, originally brewed to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VIII in 1937, are being put up for auction by leading pub company and brewer Greene King.

The rare beer has been lying in storage in the Greene King cellar following the abandoned Coronation almost 86 years ago, after the prospective King abdicated the throne on 10th December 1936, before the event could take place.

To celebrate the upcoming Coronation of King Charles III, several crates of the unearthed beer will be auctioned off on 5thMay, with all proceeds going to the charity founded by King Charles III, The Prince’s Trust. The trust aims to support young people aged 11-30 from disadvantaged communities to develop essential life skills.

In 2020, Greene King announced a five-year commitment plan with The Prince’s Trust with the ambition to support 1000 young people into its workforce and lift the percentage of young people from minority ethnic backgrounds entering the business. The pub company and brewer also donated £20,000 to The Prince’s Trust Young Persons’ Relief Fund at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the auction process, Greene King is working alongside renowned Royal Historian and author, Professor Kate Williams, to delve into the history behind the cancelled coronation.

Royal historian and author, Professor Kate Williams said: “It is absolutely fascinating that these beers have been lying in the cellar for 86 years, having originally been brewed to celebrate the Coronation of Edward VIII on 12th May 1937.

“We know that when Edward succeeded his father as King in January 1936, there was already doubt in his mind that he wanted to proceed, due to his relationship with Wallis Simpson. At the time, members of the Royal Family weren’t permitted to marry divorcees, and this clearly weighed on his mind.

“The elaborate Coronation preparations took over a year to arrange, but by the time the event came around he had already abdicated, leaving the ceremony, and these celebratory beers, redundant.”

The beers were originally found in 2011 when work was undertaken in the south yard cellars of the impressive brewery site but have since been left untouched. The original recipe was 12% ABV and had a rich fruit flavour, using Barley & English hops.

Jack Palmer, Head Brewer at Greene King, said: “We know a thing or two about being a King and there’s nothing like a Royal event to bring the nation together, with thousands of Brits across the UK due to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III in their local pub next month. We’ve been brewing beer for over 200 years and creating special brews, such as the 1937 and the 2023 coronation ales, means we can capture moments in history to share with generations further down the line.”