In the United Kingdom, the coronation of King Charles III is underway
A day of meticulously organized splendour, tradition, ritual and regal pageantry that, for Charles, has been coming since birth, began with a procession – known as The King’s Procession – escorting the King and Queen consort Camilla from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for the coronation service. It was here where Queen Elizabeth was crowned almost 70 years ago to this day, on June 2, 1953. Charles, now 74, was four years old at the time.
In addition to numerous heads of state and old and new British political leaders, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Maggie Smith were also guests.
After the service, the King, along with other members of the Royal Family, will return to Buckingham Palace in a larger ceremonial procession, this time known as The Ceremonial Procession. Media lenses will likely focus on Prince Harry, who was only recently revealed as a contestant (and not including Meghan Markle, who remains in LA with their kids), and any interactions between him and his father, mother-in-law or brother Prince William following the revelations from his Netflix documentary, autobiography and subsequent interviews.
Back at the Palace, the King, Queen Consort and members of the Royal Family end the day with one of their time-honoured traditions, an apparition on the balcony.
The coronation, which marks three full days of activity (Monday is a public holiday), has divided opinion in the UK. Diminishing enthusiasm for the new king, whose popularity is significantly lower than his mother’s, has seen just 7 per cent of British adults describe themselves as “committed royalists” according to recent research, and 58 per cent are not interested in the royal family. Meanwhile, only 9 percent say “a lot” to care about the weekend’s events.
But much of the debate has centered on the cost of the lavish event – £250m ($286m) paid for by British taxpayers at a time when the cost of living crisis has pushed many into poverty. Charles is already king – a title he inherited when the second Queen Elizabeth died last year – and the fact that this archaic event has not been scaled down to reflect the present day, or even financed by the royal family itself, has a sour taste left in the mouth of some. For others, however, it is a source of great national pride to maintain the spectacle of this grand royal occasion, and thousands lined the streets for the procession.
Before the coronation began, a number of Republican activists planning peaceful protests were arrested “on suspicion of disturbing the peace” by London’s Metropolitan Police, who also seized hundreds of placards.
“Our tolerance for any disruption, whether by protest or otherwise, will be low,” police said earlier this week. “We will take firm action against anyone who wants to undermine this celebration.”