The historic coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla took place on Saturday, May 6, with millions across the world tuning in to see the crowning of the new King and Queen. Hundreds of thousands more lined the procession route, and 2,000 people were invited into the Abbey to watch the spectacle unfold in person.
The celebrations have officially come to an end across the country, with a rundown of the three-day events reminding us that it was truly a weekend to remember.
Westminster Abbey played host to the main event, decked out with seasonal flowers from every corner of the United Kingdom. The King wanted to display his love of gardening and dedication to the environment while showcasing the floral beauty of the British countryside.
Upon their arrival in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, the King, and Queen were accompanied down the aisle by members of their families; before taking their seats opposite the Coronation Chair. Steeped in tradition and religion the service was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, the King also wanted the ceremony to reflect the importance of service. His first words when seated in the Abbey were: “I come not to be served, but to serve.”
A variety of songs and hymns were sung throughout, with Classic FM calling the ceremony “a magnificent celebration of choral, orchestral, and liturgical music-making.” As the anointing of the King took place in private, the choir sang Zadok the Priest by Handel, a glorious tune that is enough to give its listeners goosebumps.
The Prince of Wales was the only member of his family to swear allegiance to the King at the ceremony, he said: “I, William, Prince of Wales, pledge my loyalty to you, and faith and truth I will bear unto you, as your liege man of life and limb. So help me God,” before kissing his father's cheek.
Following the two-hour-long service, Their Majesties departed in the iconic Gold State Coach, a carriage that has now transported eight British monarchs to and from their coronations. The Mall was packed with more than 4,000 armed forces personnel from every part of the Commonwealth, who put on quite the show for spectators; some of whom had camped out a week prior to the event to snap up the best viewing spot.
In true British fashion, the rain showered down, but it did not dampen the morale of crowds who eagerly awaited the newly-crowned King and Queen's first appearance on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony.
Spectators were treated to a front-row view of the RAF Red Arrows as they painted the sky red, white, and blue over the palace, however, due to the typically dull weather and low cloud, the RAF had to alter their plans and remove some aircraft from the flypast. At the coronation of the late Queen 70 years ago, the weather posed problems too, delaying the flypast until 5 pm.
The Big Lunch
In 2013, Queen Camilla became patron of The Big Lunch, an organisation that encourages members of the public to set up or attend lunch parties in their communities. The weekend’s celebrations involved over 67,000 Big Lunch events across the country. People were invited to connect with those around them, form new friendships, uplift their community spirits, and enjoy good food. Members of the Royal Family attended lunches across the nation too.
For the first time in its almost 1000-year history, Windsor Castle was the backdrop of an exclusive Coronation Concert. Attended by royals, VIPs, ballot winners, and a sea of famous faces, the 90-minute musical extravaganza treated viewers to a star-studded line-up, including Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, before Take That concluded the show with their renowned hit, Never Forget. Some ticket holders started queueing almost 14 hours before the show began to get prime position in front of the stage.
The Prince of Wales surprised viewers by taking to the stage and delivering a few words to commend his father on his dedication to duty. His three-minute speech was met with loud cheers from a very enthusiastic audience, he said: “He warned us of the risks for our planet's health, long before it was an everyday issue. Or the Prince's Trust has supported over a million young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their ambitions. And perhaps, most importantly, of all, my father has always understood that people of all faiths, all backgrounds, and all communities deserve to be celebrated and supported. Pa, we are all so proud of you.”
The Big Help Out
The events culminated with The Big Help Out on Bank Holiday Monday. At the heart of the Royal Family is charity, so it makes sense that the King dedicated a full day of his celebrations uniting people to help others. Reports suggest that more than six million Brits joined the festivities by volunteering somewhere in their communities.
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited a Scouts hut in Slough with their three children to assist with renovating the centre. Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte got hands-on with painting, digging, and helping reset a walkway. Other royals got involved too, with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh attending a Guide Dogs training session in Reading, and Princess Anne paying a visit to Gloucester Cathedral for a service that gave thanks and recognition to volunteers across the country.
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