World-famous Christmas Eve carol service to go ahead, says college

Sam Russell, PA
·2-min read

The world-famous Christmas Eve carol service at King’s College in Cambridge will go ahead this year, the college has said.

A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols was first held in 1918, first broadcast in 1928 and is now broadcast to millions of people globally.

It marks the start of Christmas for many, and the opening carol is always Once In Royal David’s City.

King’s College choristers make they way to the chapel for rehearsals in previous years
King’s College choristers make they way to the chapel for rehearsals in previous years (Chris Radburn/PA)

The Dean of King’s College Chapel, Stephen Cherry, wrote on the college’s website that the service would go ahead but that King’s was unable to have a congregation in the chapel this year.

This was a precaution to ensure the service was safe, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“One feature of the Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols that is especially important to the college has always been the participation of the congregation of college members and members of the public,” Mr Cherry said.

“We regret to say that this year we are not able to have a congregation in the chapel.

“We are sorry to disappoint those who were thinking that they might like to attend.

“We hope that you will be able to enjoy the broadcast and to assist with this we will be publishing the order of service on this website.”

A King’s College spokesperson said on Thursday: “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 December 18 to facilitate people joining in at home.”