From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
King's College Carols
24 December, 2012
King’s College Chapel, Cambridge
Introduced in 1918, and first broadcast in 1928, this is the magical beginning of Christmas for millions around the world. It has been broadcast every year since 1928, even during the years of World War II.
The festival of nine lessons and carols takes place in the magnificent chapel of King's College Cambridge, which was founded by King Henry VI in 1446. The chapel was actually completed under Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII, and is recognised as one of Europe's finest late medieval buildings.
The superb windows miraculously escaped the ravages of the Civil War. During World War II the glass was removed for safety, and King's remained unscathed.
Apart from seats reserved for members of the college and their guests, the service is intended primarily for the City of Cambridge and members of the public. A number of seats are reserved for those who are prepared to queue, and people begin to arrive from 7am (successful ticket-holders are admitted at 1.30, and the live broadcast on BBC Radio 4 begins at 3pm). Normally, anyone joining the queue before 9am will gain admission, but this cannot be guaranteed.