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Sheep sector showcased as part of Coronation celebrations

3rd May 2023

From the thousands of finely crafted woollen military uniforms to lamb as the feature ingredient on the official Coronation menu, the best of the produce from the nation’s sheep farmers will play an important part of the celebrations for King Charles III’s Coronation this weekend.

King Charles' support of UK sheep farmers and his love of lamb and mutton are well documented and so it comes as no surprise to the National Sheep Association (NSA) that it has been chosen as part of the official celebrations.

The King has been a strong advocate for lamb and especially so for mutton - sheep meat produced from older animals. In 2004 King Charles, alongside NSA, launched the Mutton Renaissance campaign which promoted the eating of quality mutton, aiming to elevate the meat to the levels of enjoyment and consumption of lamb. The campaign brought farmers, abattoirs, chefs and retailers together and set minimum standards for ‘Renaissance mutton’ ensuring its excellent eating quality and traceability.

It is also reported that the King regularly requests sustainably produced sheep meat be served in his royal residences, and it is lamb, used in a recipe from celebrity chef Ken Hom that is to be enjoyed as part of the coronation menu.

The sustainable farming methods used to rear sheep in the UK are in tune with the King’s environmental values. It has produced sheep breeds that are adapted to their local conditions and so maintain and enhance that environment for us all to enjoy. This celebration of sustainability, agricultural heritage and culture are also key elements of the British Heritage Sheep project, run by NSA.

Bob Kennard from the project comments: “King Charles’ support for British lamb and mutton has shared a positive message on behalf of the farming community. His Majesty has also championed small local abattoirs, which have been in long-term decline, yet are essential to the short supply chains which enable farmers to tell the story of their meat. His awareness of rural issues such as this will be highly appreciated by the communities living in these areas.”

King Charles is also a Patron of the Campaign for Wool. As highlighted by this campaign, wool will be a feature of many parts of the Coronation. The fibre’s many beneficial properties including its sustainable nature, it’s natural fire resistance, and its hard wearing qualities make it well suited as a traditional fabric for military uniform, religious cloths, and its use in instrument casing linings.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “Once in a lifetime events such as King Charles’s Coronation are occasions to enjoy the very best and so it is fitting that produce from UK sheep farms will be on display during the impressive celebrations. All at NSA are looking forward to a wonderful weekend and would urge the great British public whilst enjoying the festivities also to consider adding a delicious lamb dish to their coronation lunch menus, or to maybe pull out a British wool blanket for warmth and comfort when joining community picnics and activities taking place.”