The much-awaited coronation of King Charles III is finally taking place in London, with crowds from across the world gathering for the grand ceremony, which includes a two-hour procession along the main streets of London, rooted in history while attempting to present a forward-looking monarchy. Despite public skepticism, the royal family is still considered an international draw, vital diplomatic tool, and means of staying on the world stage. The coronation will feature a sumptuous display of pageantry, with the participation of about 100 heads of state and dignitaries, including U.S. first lady Jill Biden. Charles succeeded his mother, Queen Elizabeth, who died last September, and at 74, he will become the oldest British monarch to have the 360-year-old St Edward’s Crown placed on his head as he sits upon a 14th century throne at London’s Westminster Abbey.
The ceremony will be watched by millions of people worldwide on television. Charles follows in the footsteps of his predecessors from the time of William the Conqueror in 1066 in being crowned at the abbey, and his second wife, Camilla, 75, will be crowned queen during the ceremony. The event will be on a smaller scale than that staged for Queen Elizabeth in 1953 but will still aim to be spectacular, featuring an array of historical regalia from golden orbs and bejewelled swords to a scepter holding the world’s largest colorless cut diamond.
By early morning, tens of thousands had begun massing along The Mall, the grand boulevard leading up to Buckingham Palace, with the crowd more than 20 people deep in some places, as troops in ceremonial uniforms and marching bands went past. Royalists and supporters gathered along The Mall in preparation for the Coronation of King Charles III on 5th May 2023 in London, United Kingdom. Meanwhile, republicans planned their biggest protest against the monarchy, with more than 11,000 police being deployed to stamp out any attempted disruption.
Inside the abbey, politicians, judges, and representatives from Commonwealth nations took their seats next to charity workers and figures from the arts, including actors Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and playwright Tom Stoppard. At the start of the ceremony, Charles and Camilla will travel from Buckingham Palace to the abbey in the modern Diamond State Jubilee Coach, with the service due to begin at 1000 GMT. Much of the ceremony will feature elements that Charles’ forebears right back to King Edgar in 973 would recognize, officials said.
Handel’s coronation anthem “Zadok The Priest” will be sung as it has at every coronation since 1727. However, there will be new elements added, including an anthem composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, famed for his West End and Broadway theatre shows, and a gospel choir. Prince George and the grandchildren of Camilla will act as pages. There will be no formal role for either Charles’ younger son, Prince Harry, after his high-profile falling out with his family, or his brother, Prince Andrew, who was forced to quit royal duties because of his friendship with late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender.
After the service, Charles and Camilla will depart in the four-tonne Gold State Coach that was built for George III, the last king of Britain’s American colonies, riding back to Buckingham Palace in a one-mile procession of 4,000 military personnel from 39 nations. It will be the largest show of its kind in Britain since the coronation of Charles’ mother. Once they return to Buckingham Palace, the royals will make a traditional appearance on the balcony, with a fly-past by military aircraft. Celebrations will continue on Sunday with nationwide street parties and a concert at the king’s Windsor Castle home, while volunteering projects will take place on Monday.