HomeCultureMusic

King Charles III's favourite songs, from pop divas to opera

BY Becca Inglis

25th Apr 2023 Music

King Charles III's favourite songs, from pop divas to opera

Ahead of King Charles III's coronation, we dig into his favourite music, featuring greats through the ages from Hubert Parry to Diana Ross and Craig David

His Royal Majesty is a famously ardent supporter of music—he counts among his patronages the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal College of Music and the English Chamber Orchestra—and his eclectic taste is set to make a centrepiece in his coronation ceremony.

Viewers can expect to hear compositions from Baron Lloyd Webber, Patrick Doyle, Shirley J Thompson, and more, all personally handpicked by King Charles III himself.

If you’re compiling your own coronation playlist at home, there’s plenty to go on. When King Charles curated a collection of his top songs for the NHS in 2021, he revealed an impressively diverse list of favourites.

Dance anthems

Edith Piaf’s devastatingly romantic “La Vie en Rose” appears next to Eighties icons Barbara Streisand (“Don’t Rain On My Parade”) and Diana Ross (“Upside Down”). But it’s the deliciously funky “Givin’ Up Givin’ In” by disco trio The Three Degrees that gives HRH “an irresistible urge to get up and dance”.

"If Craig David is to be believed, he is also a fan of garage"

And it's not just retro dance music that gets HRH moving—if Craig David is to be believed, he is also a fan of garage. When David received his MBE from the king in 2021, he revealed that the king often presses him on, "What's the new thing? I like that!"

"He's like, 'cool, I know about 'Fill Me In' and '7 Days', I like this, but what's the new stuff man?'" David told Planet Radio.

Melancholic folk

Leonard Cohen is another favourite for the contemplative king. “He’s remarkable. The orchestration is fantastic and the words, the lyrics and everything,” he told his sons in a television interview—“Is he a jazz player?” was William’s response (honestly, Will).

"I find it very moving. The words are so extraordinary, sort of Salvador Dalí-like"

HRH later chose “Take This Waltz” as his top Cohen song, telling BBC Radio 3, “I find it very moving. The words are so extraordinary, sort of Salvador Dalí-like.”

Lovelorn opera

No King Charles playlist would be complete without a nod to his love for classical.

On Classic FM, he shared how much he enjoys being a classical DJ at weddings—he made sure that Sir Hubert Parry’s “I Was Glad” made it into Will and Kate’s setlist.

"Do you know those bits of music that put a spring in your step again?"

One of his favourite compositions, though, is an impressively obscure opera, Jean-Marie Leclair’s Scylla et Glaucus, about the doomed love between a nymph and a sea god.

“Whenever I hear it, it always makes me feel better,” he said. “Do you know those bits of music that put a spring in your step again when you’re feeling a little bit down?”.

Banner credit: Dan Marsh, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter

*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...