A rare batch of beer brewed to mark the ill-fated coronation of King Edward VIII is to be auctioned for charity – after being lost in storage for decades.
The bottles of beer, originally made to celebrate Edward’s 1937 coronation, were left in the brewer’s cellars after he dramatically abdicated the throne in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson.
The coronation went ahead in May that year, but it was his younger brother, George VI, who was crowned instead.
The batch of “Coronation Ale” – brewed using barley and English hops specifically to celebrate Edward’s crowning – was therefore never used.
It was left untouched in Greene King’s Suffolk cellars until 2011 when it was rediscovered in a bricked-off area during renovation work.
Money raised from the auction will be donated to The Prince’s Trust, a charity founded in 1976 by Charles – then the Prince of Wales – to help children from disadvantaged communities to develop essential life skills.
Royal historian and author, Professor Kate Williams, who is working with Greene King as part of the auction process, said: “It is absolutely fascinating that these beers have been lying in the cellar for 86 years, having originally been brewed to celebrate the coronation of Edward VIII.
“We know that when Edward succeeded his father as King in January 1936, there was already doubt in his mind that he wanted to proceed, due to his relationship with Wallis Simpson.
“At the time, members of the Royal Family weren’t permitted to marry divorcees, and this clearly weighed on his mind.
“The elaborate coronation preparations took over a year to arrange, but by the time the event came around he had already abdicated, leaving the ceremony, and these celebratory beers, redundant.”
Greene King says the beers, which would have been around 12% ABV at the time they were brewed, are no longer drinkable and will be auctioned off purely as collector’s items.
A spokesperson for the pub chain told Sky News they were “excited” to see how much the batch raised.
Alongside selling off the historic beers, Greene King is also developing a 2023 edition of the Coronation Ale, which will be available throughout a range of pubs across the UK.
Jack Palmer, head brewer at Greene King, said: “We know a thing or two about being a King and there’s nothing like a Royal event to bring the nation together, with thousands of Brits across the UK due to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III in their local pub next month.
“We’ve been brewing beer for over 200 years and creating special brews, such as the 1937 and the 2023 coronation ales, means we can capture moments in history to share with generations further down the line.”