Charles coronated in ancient traditions
The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II; and their spouses, Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Lady Julia, joined world leaders, foreign royals and dignitories to witness the historic crowning of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey in London United Kingdom.
More than 2,000 guests packed the pews inside the Westminster Abbey while thousands of people were outside despite the rain to witness the deeply religious Coronation service, the first in 70 years.
Provisional figures suggest that in the UK alone, at least 18 million viewers tuned in while thousands across the world watched the lavish, historic ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London last Saturday, May 6, 2023. In all, 90 heads of state attended, the Foreign office said.
The coronation's main theme was the importance of service, "I come not to be served, but to serve," the King said in his first prayer after reaching the abbey.
Charles was proclaimed as the "undoubted King" in the first stage of the ceremony.
The congregation was then asked to show their homage and service, shouting "God Save the King".
Yet among the music and oaths, there were moments of complete silence as each stage of the ancient ceremony finished.
Traditions rarely seen elsewhere in modern life were maintained—such as the inclusion of the orb and sceptre and the carrying of the gilded Sword of State.
Charles became King as soon as his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died on September 8, 2022 and in this sense, Saturday’s ceremony doesn’t carry legal significance.
But it’s steeped in symbolism, and for those who still care about the British monarchy a chance to celebrate the passing of the baton in a centuries-old institution that still plays a highly visible role in modern British life.
The royal couple arrived at Westminster Abbey in the modern Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was first used in 2014 and features power windows, air conditioning and shock absorbers.
As the king and queen travelled the 1.3-mile procession route, onlookers caught their first glimpse of the monarchs, decked out in antique robes of state that were worn by their predecessors at prior coronations.
A diverse group of faith leaders representing the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities were the first to enter into the Wesminister Abbey.
The guest list, although shorter than Charles’s mother’s seven decades earlier, includes an array of world leaders, first ladies, diplomats and celebrities.
President Biden was not in attendance, but first lady Jill Biden arrived at the abbey in a light-blue suit and gloves, along with her granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, wearing yellow.
During the service, Charles put his hand on the Bible and took the coronation oath. In one part of the service, the King was screened from public for the anointing - seen as the most sacred part of proceedings.
Hidden by a screen for privacy, he was anointed with holy oil on his hands, chest and head, the only moment of the ceremony not visible to attendees or the public.
Charles then received symbolic, bejeweled items from the coronation regalia: gold spurs, swords, bracelets, an orb, a ring, a glove, a sceptre and a rod.
And in the climax of the ceremony, the 361-year-old, solid-gold crown was placed upon Charles’s head, to the sound of trumpets and cheers of “God save the king!”
Next, it was Camilla’s turn to be crowned and receive a sceptre and ring, in a moment that captured her unlikely transformation from Charles’s “other woman” to his queen.
After the ceremony, the newly crowned king and queen made their way out of the Abbey to a different carriage: the Gold State Coach, used to transport every newly crowned monarch since William IV in 1831.
It’s apparently a bumpy ride.
Princess Anne, playing the role of “Gold-Stick-in-Waiting,” rode on horseback behind the king and queen as they made their way to Buckingham Palace, followed by 6,000 members of the armed services marching down the Mall.
The Prince and Princess of Wales travelled in a separate carriage, along with their children, George, Charlotte and Louis. In a sign of the lingering family feud, Prince Harry was spotted getting into a car alone after the ceremony.