Charles III crowned King of UK and 14 other realms in a historical ceremony
- IBJ Bureau
- May 07, 2023
King Charles and Queen Camilla were crowned on a historic day of pageantry on Saturday, capped by cheering by crowds in front of Buckingham Palace.
Thousands packed the Mall despite the rain, after a deeply religious Coronation service at Westminster Abbey and a huge procession through London.
The King and Queen waved to admirers from the Palace balcony as planes painted the sky red, white and blue.
The King’s day began shortly after 10 am with the procession to Westminster Abbey in the horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee State Coach, past cheering crowds and an honour guard of 1,000 members of the armed forces.
Faith leaders and Commonwealth leaders began the processions, with the King and Queen following behind.
The two-hour ceremony – the first to crown a monarch in 70 years – was watched on TV around the world as well as some 2,300 people inside the abbey.
After the crown was placed on Charles’ head, cries of “God Save the King” were heard inside and outside, and gun salutes were made across the UK.
Celebrity guests were among those inside Westminster Abbey – including actress Emma Thompson and US singer Katy Perry.
US First Lady Jill Biden, and her granddaughter Finnegan, arrived in a three-car motorcade, although President Biden did not travel to the UK. French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska were also in the abbey, as were Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and leaders of the Commonwealth countries.
In all, 90 heads of State attended, the Foreign Office said. Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar and his wife, Dr Sudesh Dhankhar, attended the historic coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, representing India.
Traditions rarely seen elsewhere in modern life were maintained –such as the inclusion of the royal regalia or orb and sceptre and the carrying of the gilded Sword of State.
In the most sacred part of the service, the King was shielded from public view by anointing screens while choristers sang Handel’s Zadok the Priest – performed at every coronation since 1727.
While the vast majority of the assembled crowd came out to cheer the King, there was also a sizeable protest presence.
The Coronation drew hundreds of protesters from Republic, the group campaigning to abolish the monarchy and replace it with an elected head of State, and others.
The Coronation did not formally change the King’s status. Charles, 74, became King Charles III of the United Kingdom and 14 other realms in September 2022, when his mother Elizabeth II died after 70 years on the throne.
Since then, months of intense planning went into the Coronation celebrations – the 40th to take place at Westminster Abbey since 1066.
This time, the ceremony emphasised diversity and inclusion, with more multi-faith elements than any previous coronation, with contributions from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh representatives.
A Bible lesson was read by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is Hindu, and music was sung in Welsh and Scottish Gaelic and Irish.