At the coronation celebrations on Sunday, anyone could wear a crown – even a dog.
A day after the gold-plated performance Coronation of King Charles III in an ancient religious ceremony, the celebrations became more down-to-earth, with thousands of picnics and street parties held across Britain in his honour, without fancy invitations.
Charles and Queen Camilla They said in a statement on Sunday that they were “deeply moved” by the celebration and “deeply grateful to everyone who helped make it such a wonderful celebration and to the many who came to show their support.”
his son Prince William, heir to the throne, told a concert on Sunday that the service was at the center of the “magnificent” coronation celebrations, and that his father’s first words on entering Westminster Abbey were those of the service.
“Because for more than 50 years, in every corner of the UK, across the world and across the globe, he dedicated himself to the service of others, both present and future generations, and those whose memory cannot be neglected,” William said.
William told the crowd that he was committed to serving “you all … King, country and commonwealth. God save the King.”
Sunday’s concert was headlined by Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and 1990s boy band Take That.
Under a green canopy in London’s Regent’s Park, Valent Cheng and his girlfriend turned out to cheer on the new king, along with neighbors who embraced them when they moved from Hong Kong. For the occasion, they decorated their faithful and “royal” fluffy white dog, Tino, with a tiny purple crown.
“This is a new era for the UK,” Cheng said. “We didn’t have that in Hong Kong. Now we embrace the culture. We want to enjoy it, we want to celebrate it.”
From small villages to the capital, the Union Jack hung from houses and flew from tables and trees in honor of the newly crowned king. It was printed on napkins and tablecloths, hats and bows. Some wore the colors of the flag as a uniform — dressed head to toe in red, white and blue.
The public gatherings, part of a British tradition known as the Big Lunch, were intended to bring neighbors together to celebrate the coronation even as support for the monarchy wanes. Critics complained about the cost of the coronation at a time when the cost of living was extremely high amid double-digit inflation.
Thousands of dinners were organized as part of the celebrations on Sunday, as well as a night concert at Windsor Castle.
Charles urged residents to volunteer on Monday, which Britain has made a public holiday.
The King and Camilla were due to attend the concert but did not attend any of the picnics, leaving that duty to other members of the royal family.
William and his wife Catherine surprised people with a picnic outside the castle before the concert. Dressed much more casually than the day before, they shook hands and Catherine hugged the crying girl.
The king’s siblings, Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, and Anne, Princess Royal, and their wives took over dinner duties for the royal family. Edward was in Cranleigh while his sister made it to Swindon for the event. The king’s nieces, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, daughters of Prince Andrew, were due to join the lunch in Windsor.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosted US First Lady Jill Biden and her granddaughter Finnegan Biden at the Big Lunch party held in front of his office. Other guests included Ukrainian refugees and social activists.
Like a picnic in the park, Downing Street and Sunak’s car – even his kettle – were painted in the country’s colours.
Sausage and salmon rolls were served alongside Coronation Chicken – a dish cooked at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation 70 years ago – and Coronation Cake, which was tailored to Charles’ tastes and caused a stir on social media. often for the wrong reasons.
Less important events followed the regalia-filled ceremony, during which the King and Queen were crowned together in Westminster Abbey. They were presented with centuries-old swords, sceptres and a golden orb encrusted with jewels, which symbolizes the monarch’s power in a medieval tradition marked by liturgy, song and hearty cries of “God save the king”.
The couple then rode through the streets in a gilded horse-drawn carriage, leading the largest ceremonial military procession since Charles’ mother’s coronation. About 4,000 soldiers marched in formation through the streets, their scarlet sleeves and white gloves flapping in unison to the sound of marching bands’ drums and bugles, including one group of musicians on horseback.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the track in the rain to see it in person. Almost 19 million more watched TV in the UK, according to ratings published by research organization Barb. That’s about 40% fewer viewers than Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September.
Not everyone was there to celebrate, however, and criticism continued Sunday with the arrests of more than 50 protesters, including members of a republican group chanting “Not my king” and environmentalists seeking to end the use of fossil fuels.
Graham Smith, leader of the anti-monarchy organization Republic, said he was arrested while planning a peaceful protest and spent 16 hours in police custody.
“These arrests are a direct attack on our democracy and the basic rights of every person in the country,” Smith said. “Every police officer involved on the scene should hang their heads in shame.”
The Metropolitan Police admitted they were concerned about the arrests, but supported the police’s actions.
“The coronation is a once-in-a-generation event and it is a key moment in our assessment,” said Commander Karen Findlay.
In addition to the lunch, hundreds of troops marched through Glasgow city center on Sunday to celebrate the coronation.
In Regent’s Park, champagne stood on ice, and the celebrants talked about the novelty of what they had seen. But the coronation was nothing new for 95-year-old Rosemary McIntosh, just a lot more colorful than the one she saw on television while living in Zimbabwe in 1953.
“We didn’t have a TV all day and it was in black and white, so it wasn’t as wonderful as this one,” she said.