On Saturday the 9th of May I attended the Coronation of King Charles.

I found out I had been invited via email about 2 months before the big day, but initially I thought it was a spam email, as nobody gets invited to a Coronation via email!! When I eventually realised it was real, I did not really appreciate how few people would have had this invite.

There were just 2000 people on the guest list, 850 of these people were BEM (British Empire Medal) recipients for their work in the community. This is how I managed to find myself on the invite list. In January 2022 I was named on the Queen’s New Year’s honours list and was awarded the BEM for services to Maritime Policing and my work in conservation.

In 2019 I rowed solo and unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from Gran Canaria To Barbados in 52 days. In the process I raised £20,000 for marine conservation and also did a lot of talks in local schools and groups, talking about plastic pollution and hopefully inspiring young people to follow their dreams.

A couple of weeks before the Coronation I received the actual invite. It is a beautiful piece of art work and I will eventually get it framed with my BEM.

The day itself was an early start, I had to be at the Abbey at 6:30am, and ended up doing quite a few TV and radio interviews, I think I was on telly more than the king himself over the course of the day!!!

We were then asked to take our seats by 9am for an 11am start. Initially I was worried that this would be a long time to be sitting down waiting. But the atmosphere was incredible, We listened to music and songs from the Monteverdi Choir, the Coronation Orchestra, and other amazing soloist singers and musicians. Although this would not normally be my genre of music, you could not help but feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as the sound echoed through the Abbey.

Before long we saw the leaders of the world, representatives from all faiths, and the Royal Family enter the Abbey before the arrival of the King and Queen. It was really interesting to see the ceremony follow the same rituals as have been done for nearly a thousand years. I had never really taken notice as to the content of the ceremony before now, but it’s mind-boggling to think how I was part of such an old tradition.

The ceremony ended at 1pm, and despite being up so early, the time just seemed to fly by. The only thing left was to find my way back to the hotel where I had left my bags to get changed. However, in true Dawn style, this did not really go to plan. I won’t go into too much detail here in case I get anyone into trouble, let’s just say after accidentally taking the wrong exit out of the Abbey, I ended up in an after party with champagne and canapés that I really was not supposed to be at!!

On the 1st of June Myself, Kay Tavinor and Sophie Hibbin will be flying out to San Francisco to take part in a rowing race across the Pacific Ocean from Monterey Bay to Kauai in Hawaii. We will be the 3rd female trio to have ever completed this route, and Sophie and I will be the 41st and 42nd people on the planet to have rowed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

You can follow us on social media @Row Aurora where we will be adding our tracker when it goes live, the race starts on the 12th June. We are doing this to raise money for an Essex Based Cancer support charity called Big Purple Pants, and our fundraising page is at:


Dawn Wood BEM