LONDON (AP) — King Charles III has been crowned On Saturday, St Edward received the crown at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony built on ancient tradition.
Inside the medieval monastery, trumpets sounded and the congregation chanted, “God save the king!” They shouted. in a service More than 2,000 guests including world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities attended. Outside, thousands of troops and tens of thousands of onlookers and protesters gathered.
The crowd of well-wishers swelled into the hundreds of thousands as the newly crowned Charles and Queen Camilla emerged from the Buckingham Palace balcony to shake hands with the younger generation of royals.
It was the culmination of a seven-decade journey From heir to king to king.
For the royal family and the government, the event – codenamed Operation Golden Orb – is a tradition, a tradition and a spectacle. Incomparable all over the world.
For the people gathered under the rainy skies – thousands had camped out overnight – it was part of a historic event.
But for millions, the day was greeted with a shrug, a ceremony designed to inspire awe and reverence.
And for some, this was cause for protest. Hundreds who wanted to see Britain become a republic chanted “Not my king.” The monarchy is seen as an institution that stands for privilege and inequality in a country where deep poverty and eroding social ties have been created. A few have been arrested.
As the day began, the Abbey buzzed with excitement and was awash with fragrant flowers and colorful hats as an assembly of international dignitaries, dignitaries and other dignitaries arrived. They included US First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, current and former British Prime Ministers, judges in wigs, soldiers with shiny medals and celebrities including Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Lionel Richie.
Dressed in crimson and cream, Charles swore on the Bible that he was a “true Protestant” during a traditional Anglican service, slightly modified for modern times.
But the coronation oath included a preamble stating that the Church of England “seeks to foster an environment in which people of all faiths and beliefs can live freely” and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak read an epistle from the King James Bible. Britain’s first Hindu leader.
A gospel choir performed the newly composed song “Hallelujah” and for the first time, female clergy participated in the ceremony. It was the first to include representatives of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths.
In an ancient display of royal power, Charles was anointed with oil from the Mount of Olives in the Holy Land — a part of the ceremony so sacred it was hidden behind curtains — and presented with an orb, sword and scepter.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, placed a solid gold crown studded with more than 400 precious stones on Charles’ head as he sat in a 700-year-old oak coronation chair – once gilded, now worn and etched with graffiti. Beneath the seat was a sacred tablet known as the Stone of Scone, on which ancient Scottish kings were crowned.
For more than 1,000 years, British monarchs were crowned in such grand ceremonies. It confirms their right to rule. Charles is the 40th sovereign to take the throne at the Abbey – and, at 74, the oldest.
These days, the king has no administrative or political power, and the service is purely ceremonial since Charles automatically became king upon his mother’s death.Queen Elizabeth II, in September.
The king is England’s head of state and a symbol of national identity – and Charles must work to unite a multicultural nation. And at a time when the monarchy is waning, it is rallying support, especially among the younger generation.
Today’s public is very different from the audience that watched Elizabeth’s coronation. Almost 20% of the population comes from ethnic minority groups, compared to less than 1% of the population in the 1950s, and less than half of the population describe themselves as Christian.
The anti-monarchy group Republic said six members, including its chief executive, were arrested when they came to protest. Police said they had arrested four people on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, warning they would have “low tolerance” for people seeking to disrupt the day.
Environmental group Just Stop Oil said more than a dozen of its members had also been arrested.
It sparked criticism that the police were restricting free speech, and Human Rights Watch said the arrests were “something you’d expect in Moscow, not London”.
The multi-million pound cost of all the luxury – the exact figure is unknown – has also lined some amid a cost-of-living crisis. Many Britons struggle to pay energy bills and buy food.
However, Charles sought to steer a smaller, less expensive royal machine into the 21st century. His was a shorter affair than Elizabeth’s three-hour coronationFewer guests and a brief procession.
The bitterly feuding royal family displayed its own solidarity. The heir to the throne, Prince William, his wife Kate and their three children were all in attendance. At the end of the ceremony, William knelt before his father and pledged his allegiance to the king – before kissing him on the cheek.
Welby then called on everyone in the abbey to swear “true allegiance” to the king. He said people watching on television could also pay tribute – although part of the ceremony was cut short after some criticized it as a tone-deaf attempt to demand a public pledge of allegiance to Charles.
William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, has been at odds with the family publicly, came alone. His wife Meghan and their children stayed at the home in California, where the couple have been living since leaving the royal family in 2020.
After the ceremony, Harry waited outside the Abbey until a car arrived to drive him away, as Charles and the rest of the royal family joined in a magnificent military procession.
Huge crowds cheered as Charles and Camilla traveled from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace in a gold state carriage, accompanied by 4,000 troops and a military band.
As the king and queen waded into the sea of people outside the palace, the Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, followed the red, white and blue plumes overhead.
“Seeing our King Charles surrounded by love. He is our main source,” said Jill Coughlin, a royal fan from Essex, east of London. “We’ve loved our queen, and it’s for generations to come. So it’s wonderful for us, absolutely wonderful.
Associated Press writers Sylvia Hui and Brian Melley contributed to this report.
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