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Carols from King’s to go ahead with no congregation





Choirboys from King’s College Cambridge in September, attending their first rehearsal since the March lockdown. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography
Choirboys from King’s College Cambridge in September, attending their first rehearsal since the March lockdown. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography

The pews will be empty for world-renowned King’s College carols service this year, interrupting a tradition that has been taking place for more than a century.

‘A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ has been a calendar staple - with a congregation - for more than 100 years, and the service has been broadcast every year since 1930, including during the Second World War. Millions have enjoyed the transmissions, which is seen as being as much a part of the festive period as Christmas presents, turkey and the Queen’s speech. But 2020, as we all know, has disrupted everything, and there will be no respite for this iconic celebration of the Christmas tradition as the historic chapel, built in the reign of Henry VI in 1446, succumbs to the era of social distancing and all the other safety measures adopted during the most virulent pandemic in living memory.

The choristers parading into King’s College Chapel in September. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography
The choristers parading into King’s College Chapel in September. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography

The University of Cambridge said: “King’s College is looking forward to sharing the joy of its annual Christmas services with the world this year on radio and television. There will be no congregation in the Chapel this year as part of the necessary precautions that the College is taking to ensure that the services are safe. Orders of service will be made available online from 18 December to facilitate people joining in at home.”

The service will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service at 3pm on December 24 and will be repeated at 2pm on Radio 3 on Christmas Day.



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